Programming note: For comprehensive Giants-Cardinals NLCS coverage, watch “October Quest” tonight at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
ST. LOUIS -– Giants manager Bruce Bochy confirmed what Michael Morse’s Twitter emoticons had hinted, namely that the big left fielder is traveling to join the team. Bochy indictated that Morse will be on the active roster for Game 1 of the NLCS on Saturday at Busch Stadium.
Morse hit a home run off live pitching in instructional league at the Giants’ minor league camp in Arizona and also played left field while sustaining no setbacks to his strained left oblique, which has kept him out of action for all but one game since Aug. 31.
Bochy wasn’t ready to release his NLCS roster, but it would be a surprise if anyone other than Gary Brown were left off to make room for Morse.
Bochy also declined to confirm his starting pitchers following Madison Bumgarner in Game 1 and Jake Peavy in Game 2, but said “you can speculate” on the rest. He’s expected to throw Tim Hudson in Game 3 and Ryan Vogelsong in Game 4, although in theory, both pitchers would be available in these first two games should an emergency arise.
The St. Louis Cardinals also made one change from their NLDS roster, adding backup catcher A.J. Pierzynski and removing left-hander Sam Freeman. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said he valued Pierzynski’s postseason experience and left-handed bat; a third catcher also would free up Matheny to use Tony Cruz’s right-handed bat off the bench earlier in games.
Pierzynski was only a Giant for one season, in 2004, but he left quite a mark. His season was so tumultuous, both on the field and in the clubhouse, that the Giants non-tendered him less than 12 months after acquiring him from the Minnesota Twins for Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser – by far the worst deal of Brian Sabean’s tenure as GM.
Pierzynski hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2008 but has a .300 average with five home runs and 17 RBIs in 100 playoff at-bats over 30 games.
By adding Pierzynski, the Cardinals are going with just an 11-man pitching staff. Matheny said he was comfortable with that arrangement, since both Marco Gonzalez and Michael Wacha are capable of covering multiple innings.