PITTSBURGH -- The Giants added an outfielder to their roster on Friday, but they didn't subtract a position player. To clear a spot for Marlon Byrd, right-hander Chris Heston was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento.
Heston was supposed to be Sacramento's opening day starter in April but instead became a big-league godsend when Matt Cain got hurt. The Giants didn't have much wiggle room because they want to keep Cain and Ryan Vogelsong in the rotation and didn't want to option Josh Osich. Manager Bruce Bochy said Heston will get some time to catch his breath, and he'll be back when rosters expand Sept. 1. Heston has made four starts in August and gotten through the fifth inning just once, walking 13 and striking out 11.
"This gives him a little break," Bochy said. "He'll get 10 days up to the 31st and he can come back and join us. We just want to back off a little and give him a break to freshen up."
[PAVLOVIC: Byrd says he's 'reenergized' by trade to Giants]
Heston mentioned Monday that he might be having mechanical issues, and Bochy said Heston's arm slot has dropped in a couple recent starts, a sign of fatigue. Heston may not even start a game for the River Cats; he will get some rest and work on his mechanics. The rookie had never thrown more than 173 innings in a season but he was on pace to approach 200 in the big leagues. This will keep that count down.
"He understands," Bochy said. "He knew the situation and understands. He's done a terrific job; I can't say that enough."
A position player will be removed from the roster Saturday when Mike Leake returns to the rotation in Heston's spot.
--- Bochy put Nori Aoki back atop the lineup and it sounds like it could be permanent. He said he liked Aoki's swings in his return from a concussion. Gregor Blanco was moved down with Aoki back in his old spot.
--- #Duffman mania has extended to the Little League World Series. Matt Duffy was talked about as a "favorite player" when the team from Oregon played this morning, and it turns out Duffy is rooting for the kids from Portland's Wilshire-Riverside Little League.
Duffy played summer ball in Corvallis when he was in college and lived with the Segel family. Kaden Segel plays for Wilshire-Riverside and Duffy has kept in touch with the family before and during this run to the World Series. Kaden's dad, Dan, was the GM of the team Duffy played for in Corvallis, which is how they became Duffy's host family.
"I don't know if I'm actually their favorite baseball player," Duffy said, smiling. "They just like me because I played video games with them."
Anyway, if you're looking for a rooting interest, here's a team with a Giants connection.