The Giants announced that right-hander Ross Stripling has been reinstated from the 15-day injured list. Stripling will take the roster spot left open by Luke Jackson, who is headed to the 15-day IL himself due to a lower back strain.
Stripling has missed over five weeks due to his own back strain, and the injury layoff might effectively serve as a reset to his first season with the Giants. Over his first 32 1/3 innings of the season, Stripling posted a 7.24 ERA while allowing 10 home runs. While naturally a small sample size, these struggles are a big step back from the impressive numbers Stripling posted with the Blue Jays in 2022, when the righty delivered a 3.01 ERA over 134 1/3 frames (and with only 12 total homers allowed).
It isn’t what San Francisco was expecting when it signed Stripling to a two-year, $25MM free agent deal in the offseason. His early struggles led the Giants to pretty quickly move him to the bullpen, though Stripling found himself back in the rotation due to some other injuries within the starting staff. Between Stripling’s return and Alex Cobb’s expected activation from the IL later this week, the Giants are getting closer to having their full complement of starting pitchers available.
It remains to be seen if Stripling will indeed continue to work as a starter, or if he might return to a straight relief role or a hybrid of the two in his old swingman role. The Giants’ choice is probably between Stripling and Sean Manaea as the fifth starter, or the team could use both in a piggyback capacity, or perhaps move both pitchers in and out of the rotation as a floating sixth starter to give the other starters some extra rest when necessary. This is the type of flexibility San Francisco was looking for in signing Stripling in the first place, though naturally the righty will have to get back on track performance-wise.
Jackson left yesterday’s game due to his back injury, and he’ll now unfortunately head back to the IL after already missing the entire 2022 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. The Giants only activated him on May 30, and Jackson pitched well in his first nine appearances of 2023, posting a 2.16 ERA, 30.3% strikeout rate, and 6.1% walk rate over 8 1/3 innings.