The San Francisco Giants started off the 2015 season on a dismal note with several players injured. After starting off the season 4-10, the Giants have started to play better baseball and now have an 11-13 record, which is currently fourth in the National League West. In addition to the higher level of play, the Giants are also expecting some of their injured players to return the field in the near future.
Jake Peavy started off the season healthy, but after two rough starts, he was put on the DL with a lower back strain. In those two starts, Peavy had a 9.39 ERA and pitched just 7.2 total innings. Something was clearly wrong with Peavy, as he looked tight and struggled mightily with his command and control of his pitches.
On Saturday, Peavy threw a bullpen session and threw fastballs at about 70-80 percent effort. Peavy is scheduled to throw another bullpen session on Tuesday, after feeling good after Saturday’s session, and if that goes well too, then he could start a rehab assignment after that.
Peavy is also tweaking his pitching mechanics and his in-game routine. In between innings and when Peavy is not pitching, he will do some stretching and get some treatment from the trainers, in order to prevent his back from tightening up and in the hopes that he’ll stay loose when he goes back out to pitch. In his next bullpen session, he plans on trying out a method like this, by pitching for a little, then stretching, and then trying to pitch again after.
Peavy spoke with Alex Pavlovic of Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area about how he was feeling after the bullpen session:
“The biggest thing was just seeing how my body felt, and it was quite a bit better,” he said. “I think we’re headed in the right direction. I’m excited about it. It is feeling a lot better; we’re still working through a little bit (of discomfort) but that’s to be expected.”
Another Giants starter that has dealt with injuries this year is Matt Cain. Unlike Peavy though, Cain was injured in Spring Training and hasn’t started a game yet this year. In our last Giants injury update, we discussed how Cain was set to play catch for the first time this past Tuesday and that he was running sprints to stay in shape.
Now, Cain, who has been dealing with a flexor tendon strain, will continue to throw off flat ground for another seven to 10 days before throwing off a mound. Then, he will throw a few bullpen sessions and then a couple live batting practice sessions. According to Pavlovic, this means that Cain is still a few weeks away from starting a rehab assignment, which could last a week or two as well.
A while ago, it was announced that Hunter Pence was not expected to be back by May 1st, which was a possibility when he was first diagnosed with a left forearm fracture. Bruce Bochy said that Pence could take a batting practice session on Saturday, but Pence felt good enough to do that session on Friday, which was May 1st. Bochy said Pence took about 20-25 swings off a tee, 20-25 off soft-toss pitches, and 15 swings in batting practice on Friday.
On Saturday, Pence didn’t work on hitting, but he did some work in the outfield. Bochy did say that Pence will hit on the field on Sunday and for the next few days. He will be re-evaluated soon, in terms of figuring out when he can start a rehab assignment.
Here’s what Bochy and Pence said about Pence’s progress so far and how the batting practice session on Friday went, according to Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle:
“It’s a big step forward. It looks like he’s on his way,” said Bochy, adding that Pence will be evaluated Monday after taking more swings over the weekend.
At some point, Pence will begin a minor-league rehab assignment.
“I’m trying to control what I can control, and that’s each day giving it everything I have. That’s my motto,” Pence said. “I’m trying to get back as soon as I can.”
Asked if Friday was a big day in his rehab, Pence said, “Every day is the biggest day of my life.”
Lastly, Travis Ishikawa, who has been dealing with back tightness since the end of Spring Training, is feeling better and played three innings in an extended Spring Training game on Friday and then another five innings on Saturday. Ishikawa had started a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento a couple weeks ago, but he experienced somewhat of a setback, as his back tightened up again.
Ishikawa will return to Sacramento soon, and he has 15 days left on his rehab assignment, which gives the Giants a couple weeks to decide what they want to do with the roster when he returns.
We’ll keep you updated on how these players progress in the next few weeks.