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SAN DIEGO -- The Giants needed a roster spot for Jeremy Affeldt and they don't have much flexibility, so Josh Osich was sent back down to Triple-A before Wednesday's game. Osich gave up four hits and walked three in nine appearances, giving up three unearned runs in his final appearance Tuesday night.
"He's done a great job here," manager Bruce Bochy said. "I really like the job the kid did. I told him that. Last night had nothing to do with it. We needed some flexibility. He'll be back up here at some point."
Osich, who was in Double-A for most of this season, is now viewed by the Giants as a big part of their future bullpen. Bochy liked to use him with Hunter Strickland and give other teams a power-packed look in the sixth or seventh. In the future, those two could be pitching later in games, along with a collection of exciting arms. The Giants have dominated with a low-velocity bullpen in recent years, but Strickland sits about 97-98, Osich was often in the 95-96 range.
And other big arms are on the way.
Derek Law is back from Tommy John surgery and has 17 strikeouts in 11 innings for Double-A Richmond. Bochy liked what he saw from Mike Broadway earlier this season and Steven Okert (who has struggled lately) is still viewed as a potential long-term replacement for Affeldt. Erik Cordier is still in the system and sits at 100 mph many nights. Nobody throws harder than Ray Black, but he has been unable to keep his 103 mph fastball on the field. The Giants have turned Black into a starter in San Jose to try to keep him healthy, although the results have been mixed and he'll head back to the bullpen eventually.
"We've got some good power arms," Bochy said. "Guys that really are making a lot of progress and improving to where now they are major league-ready. That's really encouraging to see some of these arms that are brought up."
The transition has started already, and it's not hard to see a day when the "Core Four" at the back of the bullpen might consist of Strickland, Law, Okert and Osich -- or others. With the trade deadline approaching, the Giants have a few extra chips to play with. Osich certainly upped his stock in recent weeks.
"I said (to him): 'You should be proud of where you're at,'" Bochy said. "He really has gotten on track with his command. He's throwing 95-96, a nice cutter, a plus change. He's played his way back into being a top prospect for us."