The Giants welcomed one veteran back Tuesday and were set to welcome an intriguing rookie Wednesday.
Brandon Belt was activated from the injured list and was back at first base and batting cleanup against the Rangers, returning after an oblique strain had kept him out since May 25.
If he plays back to back, he would see Sammy Long make his major league debut. Gabe Kapler said the club would officially call the lefty up Wednesday, and Long is on the trip after being summoned from Triple-A Sacramento.
The Giants have a rotation need with both Aaron Sanchez (right biceps tightness) and Logan Webb (shoulder strain) not available, and they recently designated for assignment both Scott Kazmir and Nick Tropeano, who were rotation options. They have a 40-man roster spot available that Long will occupy.
Kapler would not yet say if Long would be Wednesday’s starter — they were saving a decision until after they saw how their bullpen would come out of Tuesday’s game — but Long, who has been throwing about 60 pitches in each minor league appearance, will be a four- or five-inning option Wednesday.
Belt, meanwhile, was swinging the bat well in May (.878 OPS) before he was claimed by the IL, which also houses Mike Yastrzemski, Tommy La Stella, Evan Longoria and Curt Casali. To clear room for Belt, Camilo Doval was optioned.
Kapler was thankful they only had to play one game without both Belt and Longoria.
“We lost a productive, middle-of-the-lineup, high-quality-defender style of player — it’s nice to know that we’re getting all of those characteristics back,” Kapler said over Zoom.
Without Belt, LaMonte Wade Jr. had sparkled at first base, and Wade is moving to right field for Tuesday’s game. The Giants will keep finding him at-bats, which is sensible for an unproven but intriguing option now slashing .270/.386/.541.
And with Long in the rotation — or a lengthy arm out of the bullpen — it wouldn’t surprise if he and Conner Menez, in some order, are used, the latter having impressed in six scoreless innings thus far.
Long, from Sacramento State, was dominant in Double-A through 15 innings, then dominant in Triple-A through 7 2/3 innings. The 25-year-old from Fair Oaks, who had enrolled in EMT classes after getting cut by the Rays just a few years ago, is getting his shot.
“He’s made a lot of adjustments along the way,” Kapler said. “And his stuff has improved at each step. He’s been able to show us that he can maintain his stuff throughout an outing.”
The full Giants lineup behind Alex Wood and against Texas righty Jordan Lyles:
1. LaMonte Wade Jr., RF
2. Alex Dickerson, DH
3. Buster Posey, C
4. Brandon Belt, 1B
5. Brandon Crawford, SS
6. Wilmer Flores, 3B
7. Steven Duggar, CF
8. Donovan Solano, 2B
9. Mike Tauchman, LF
The Giants could have pitched Anthony DeSclafani on Wednesday, who instead was pushed back to Thursday’s opener in Washington. Kapler said he wanted “just to give everybody a little bit of an extra blow.”
Aaron Sanchez pitched two innings and gave up a run for Sacramento on Monday in his first game of a rehab assignment.
“Came out feeling good,” Kapler said.
Caleb Baragar (left elbow inflammation) is eligible to return from the IL Wednesday, but it sounds as if it will take a bit longer.
“He’s right on track,” Kapler said of the lefty. “I’m not sure an exact date for you when we’ll decide to activate him, but it won’t be long.”