DENVER -- Casey McGehee's slump and Matt Duffy's emergence weren't the only factors forcing Sunday's roster move.
The team is in a stretch of 17 games in 16 days, and it's more brutal than it appears. Sunday's game was the fourth at Coors Field in three days and the Giants have a day game in Milwaukee on Monday. The looming off day -- June 3 -- isn't exactly a break because the Giants will visit the White House before traveling on to Philadelphia.
"We're in a tough situation right now with all these games being played and pitching being used," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We needed to stay with 13 pitchers, and with the way (Hunter) Strickland threw the ball, that was impressive. We felt we needed him right now."
Strickland threw two scoreless innings when he was called up as the designated "26th man" for Saturday's doubleheader and then he warmed up late in the second game. Strickland struck out three, including Troy Tulowitzki. He was technically optioned back to Triple-A Sacramento after Saturday's games but was recalled Sunday morning when the Giants opted to designate McGehee for assignment. General manager Bobby Evans said that because Strickland was the 26th player and not a regular call-up, the Giants did not have to wait the usual 10 days to bring him back to the big leagues.
The Giants had few other ways to add Strickland to the roster. All of the bench players and relievers are out of options. The only player who could have logically been sent down, Chris Heston, may lose his spot anyway in a few days when Jake Peavy is ready to return.
"We needed to go with 13 pitchers and there was some limited flexibility on our roster," Evans said of the McGehee-Strickland swap.
Bochy said Strickland will be used in the sixth and seventh innings, and he's eager to get a fresh arm in his bullpen. Five Giants relievers are tied for 10th in the league with 21 appearances. A sixth, the struggling Jeremy Affeldt, has made 20 appearances. The lone bullpen regular who isn't among the league leaders in appearances is Yusmeiro Petit, the long reliever.
“I’m a little concerned with how much we have been using these guys," Bochy said. "We’ve got to get that ‘pen back in order.”
Strickland, 26, had a rough postseason but has not allowed a run in 10 career regular-season appearances.