SF Giants’ Jakob Junis likely won’t return to rotation until after All-Star break

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants will likely ask their bullpen to cover one more start for their short-handed rotation before they reach the All-Star break. Good thing the group is well-rested after stellar showings from Carlos Rodón and Alex Wood over the weekend.

“If we can go into Wednesday with a completely fresh bullpen, that would be nice,” manager Gabe Kapler said Monday, referencing the upcoming open slot in the Giants’ rotation. “At the same time, I think we’re already in a good position and these last couple of games were a step in the right direction.”

Thanks to Rodón’s complete game Saturday at San Diego and Wood’s seven shutout innings in a rout of the Padres the following day, every Giants reliever except Yunior Marte entered this final homestand before the All-Star break with a full two days of rest. San Francisco plays host to Arizona for three games, starting Monday, and Milwaukee for four heading into the All-Star break.

Because Jakob Junis (left hamstring strain) is still building his stamina, the Giants will likely lean on that group of relievers once more in the rotation spot vacated when Anthony DeSclafani (season-ending ankle surgery) landed on the injured list. The Giants are 4-5 in bullpen games this season with a 3.94 ERA.

Junis, who was scheduled to throw three innings and 45 pitches Monday in his second rehab start, appears destined for a post-All-Star break return. After posting a rotation-best 2.63 ERA in nine appearances (seven starts), he has missed the past month with a Grade 2 hamstring strain.

“If Junis joins our roster before the break, it will be because our bullpen needs it,” Kapler said. “That’s one way to think about it. The other way to think about it is if we spend more time getting him built up, when we come out of the break, he might be built up to five innings for us and can take down a rotation spot.”

Notable

  • Third baseman Evan Longoria (left oblique strain) is tentatively scheduled to begin on a rehab assignment on Thursday. He is still aiming to return to the Giants’ lineup as soon as he is eligible, which is Saturday.
  • Right-hander Zack Littell (left oblique strain) was still waiting on the results of the MRI exam on his oblique but said he was feeling better on Monday, after suffering the injury in his at-bat against Jose Azocar on Friday. Littell said he had never experienced oblique issues until this year but had felt the muscle tighten up on him a few times this season.
  • Infield prospect Isan Díaz was a new face in the Giants’ clubhouse on Monday. The 26-year-old, acquired in a trade from Miami earlier this season, was up from Triple-A Sacramento on taxi squad basis, but he’s done enough to warrant a promotion if and when it comes: in 175 at-bats with the River Cats, Díaz is batting .275/.372/.614 with 16 home runs. He credited his success this season to a focus on putting the ball in the air and a change of scenery from the Marlins.

Contributed by local news sources

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