SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Of the Giants’ five projected starters, Jake Peavy is one of just two — along with Madison Bumgarner — who hasn’t dealt with any health issues this spring. Matt Cain is coming off elbow and ankle surgeries, Tim Hudson is a little behind after ankle surgery, and Tim Lincecum is currently sidelined by a sore neck.
Peavy, who on Friday became the first Giants starter this spring to pitch four innings, said the tweaks aren’t a concern. Why is he so confident in a rotation seemingly full of question marks?
“At the end of the day, there’s not a question mark with Ryan Vogelsong or Yusmeiro Petit,” he said.
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The Giants have been hesitant to publicly talk about any plans to rest starters in April or during the summer months, but Peavy said it’ll be part of the thinking in the clubhouse all season long. Pitchers being pitchers, it’s likely that at least one of the planned starters will miss extended time with an injury. But even if Bumgarner and all four veteran right-handers stay healthy, Vogelsong and Petit still could see starts. Peavy thinks an occasional skipped start could be beneficial, and he’s confident that manager Bruce Bochy, pitching coach Dave Righetti and bullpen coach Mark Gardner will have a masterful touch.
“Boch and Rags and Gardy are going to use those guys,” he said of Vogelsong and Petit. “Having those two guys, let’s say we get into the second half and have some guys a little banged up, or you may need to miss a start or two … (you’re) able to throw a Ryan Vogelsong and say, ‘Hey Vogey is going to make a start or Petey will make that start to give you an extra day.’ You don’t have to go on the DL, and you’re really not pitching a man short because you still have another long guy you can stretch out down there.
“There are tons of options. That depth and experience we do have creates some opportunities. You’ll keep guys fresh.”
That might be the biggest issue for this rotation. All five starters have been All-Stars, but it’s an aging group, and one that spends quite a bit of time in the trainer’s office. Lincecum is the latest to go down, and he continues to receive treatment after coming out of his last appearance early.
“It’s better today,” Lincecum said, “But we’ll play it by ear and see if it loosens up tomorrow. I’ll try to throw (a bullpen session) tomorrow.”
Lincecum was limited to one inning on Wednesday. Cain has thrown two innings all spring and Hudson just one, but both feel healthy and both are on track to be in the rotation when the season starts April 6.
“We need Matt to be the guy San Francisco and we’ve all known him to be, and he expects to be that,” Peavy said. “Tim Hudson was an All-Star last season, we know what he can do when he’s healthy.”
If he’s not, however, the Giants will have options. Vogelsong made 32 starts last season and Petit made 12, along with 27 appearances as a long reliever. If the two right-handers aren’t used as injury replacements, they could make spot starts. Bumgarner threw 270 innings last season and Peavy is coming off just his second 200-inning season since 2007. Other than Bumgarner, the starters appeared to be running on fumes in October.
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“My mindset and everybody else’s mindset will be to carry the load on that day,” Peavy said. “That being said, we all understand we have some guys coming off surgery, some guys with some innings on their arms in the past few years. I think (the depth) could play a major part in keeping us fresh and trying to get in (the postseason) down the stretch and making a run.
“I’ve never been on a team with this makeup. You try to sit around and think about how it could work.”
Bochy said he hasn’t talked to his starters about how it will work. He doesn’t have to.
“They know we have a couple of starters that can help out if they need a break,” Bochy said. “If something is nagging them or they’ve got a cranky arm, we’ll give them a break.”
The depth, in theory, should give the Giants rare coverage. Peavy, on his fourth team in 14 seasons, can’t remember being on a staff this experienced.
“To have as much grease on the depth chart as we have, it’s comforting to know,” he said.