SAN FRANCISCO -- It wasn't easy to option Josh Osich back to Triple-A last month, and manager Bruce Bochy made a point of saying publicly that Osich pitched well and would be back soon. This time around? Well, it seems just about impossible to option Osich back off the roster at this point, but again the Giants may have to make that choice.
Bochy said the staff is spending plenty of time discussing the next roster move, and they'll have to make a decision by Tuesday, when Mike Leake comes off the DL to face the St. Louis Cardinals.
"We have some tough decisions," Bochy said.
It starts with Matt Cain, and the Giants aren't fully committed to him staying in the rotation. Cain has given up 18 earned runs in his past four starts and Ryan Vogelsong is throwing the ball well. Bochy said he talked to Cain on Saturday, in part because he always hates pulling a starting pitcher one out from a win. Cain apologized, telling Bochy he "had a lead and let that lead get away."
"Matty last night, I thought he had great stuff," Bochy said. "He's close, I know he's real close. I think he feels that."
If the Giants keep Cain in the rotation and move Vogelsong back to the bullpen, they won't really have any wiggle room. Osich and Hunter Strickland have options, but Strickland is here for good. Osich looks like he should be here for good, and he breezed through the heart of the Nationals' order last night in a big spot. The rookie lefty has allowed just one run in 12 appearances, and you know Bochy would like that arm around next week when the Giants face the Cardinals and Pirates. Is the decision tougher than it was last month?
"Without question," Bochy said. "What he did last night, those are critical outs he got for us. It certainly makes it a lot more difficult. He's one guy who does have options, but when he's throwing the ball the way he is, that makes it difficult."
--- Too many Twitter followers these days are jumping to the "DL _______ for 15 days" option, but you can't just keep telling guys that they're hurt. It was one thing when Tim Hudson, who legitimately has a lot of aches and pains, went on the DL for Leake, but the Giants can't do that with guys who have shown they're healthy. For what it's worth, Bochy insists that Cain is healthy, and Cain does, too.
--- Hudson pitched well last night, giving up one hit in 2 2/3 innings for the San Jose Giants. He said he felt pretty good, and he adjusted well after deciding to pitch as a reliever and have a shortened pre-game routine.
"I didn't feel as rushed as I thought I would feel," he said.
Hudson started pitching out of the stretch late in his outing to prepare for life as a reliever, and he said he feels better physically than he would after throwing 80-90 pitches. He recovered well, and he'll likely throw a bullpen session or a simulated inning soon. The Giants don't currently have Hudson scheduled to face minor leaguers anytime soon, and that makes sense. They don't have a spot for him, so there's no reason to rush a rehab assignment.
Hudson was followed on the mound by Chase Johnson, an intriguing right-hander who really is having a very good season for the SJ Giants. Johnson struck out 14 in six innings. That's right, 14.
"I was setting them up for him," Hudson cracked.
Johnson has a fastball that gets up to 99 mph, so it surely looked like he was throwing rockets after Hudson came out of the game. But still, 14 is impressive under any circumstance.
"Give that kid a uniform," Hudson said.
And remember the name, Giants fans.
--- Angel Pagan is still a couple days from baseball work. He'll go to Scottsdale when the Giants go to San Jose ... Andrew Susac is with Sacramento tonight and will get at least one more game there ... Nori Aoki is taking swings in the cage already. All seems fine there.