SATURDAY: The club has announced the move, and transferred Pablo Sandoval to the 60-day DL to accomodate.
FRIDAY: The Giants are set to activate Hunter Strickland from the disabled list tomorrow, the team told reporters (Twitter link via Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group). His activation will serve as the corresponding move for placing rookie right-hander Dereck Rodriguez on the 10-day disabled list yesterday. Curiously, the Giants won’t make an additional move today and will instead play a man short in Friday’s contest against the Reds.
[Related: San Francisco Giants depth chart]
Strickland has been out since undergoing surgery to repair a fractured right hand back in mid-June. It was an embarrassing injury for the right-hander, who sustained the fracture when he punched a door out of frustration following a blown save. He’s on the 60-day disabled list, so the Giants will have to make a corresponding 40-man move in order to activate him.
Left-hander Will Smith has been serving as San Francisco’s closer in Strickland’s absence, and it’s not yet clear how manager Bruce Bochy will elect to manage his bullpen roles once Strickland is activated. Smith has pitched exceptionally well this year, working to a superlative 2.01 ERA with 12.5 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 0.45 HR/9 and a 40.7 percent ground-ball rate. Smith is also running up a career-best 16 percent swinging-strike rate and a 40.4 percent chase rate that checks in as the third-best mark among qualified relievers in 2018.
Strickland was enjoying a strong season himself prior to the injury. In 31 2/3 frames this year, he’s posted a 2.84 ERA with 8.2 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 0.57 HR/9 and a 39.6 percent ground-ball rate. Those numbers are obviously a fair sight shy of Smith’s dominance, but deploying Strickland in the ninth inning could allow Bochy to utilize Smith in higher-leverage spots earlier in the game — particularly against tough left-handed bats. While Smith has dominated righties and lefties alike, he’s been utterly overpowering against same-handed battters. Through 57 plate appearances, lefties are hitting a comically feeble .161/.175/.196 against him.