SAN FRANCISCO -- The ballpark was empty and still enshrouded in fog when Russ Ortiz took the mound for the first time in a long time to throw a simulated game Sunday morning. Ortiz looked like he was almost back to normal as he fired the ball past a few teammates while the coaches watched. He overthrew the first few pitches a little, probably just nerves in his first outing approaching game action since June 4, but settled down and started throwing a familiar game. "It felt fairly close to normal, but it's 10:30 in the morning and the hitters, I don't even know if they were swinging," Ortiz said.More
Backup catcher Guillermo Rodriguez was swinging in the cage for Ortiz's simulated game and said Ortiz was close to where he was before the injury. "He felt good throwing today, so he's not far out," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's probably within a week." Like the Giants, it's been a bumpy season for Ortiz, who opened the year with an impressive new delivery and the fifth spot in the starting rotation. It was supposed to be his redefining season after his 2006 campaign of 0-8, and indeed, things looked to be going Ortiz's way in the first month when he emerged 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA. But a sore right elbow that resulted in eight earned runs in 3 1/3 innings on May 1 marked Ortiz's first trip to the disabled list. When he returned, it was to the bullpen for four games before he was back on the DL, this time with a right forearm strain. Ortiz will be sent to Triple-A Fresno on Tuesday for a rehabilitation assignment where he will take a one-inning test run. Everything after will depend on that one inning, Ortiz said. If all goes well, he could be back in the Giants' bullpen for their next home game a week from Monday. "I'm sure I'll be more pumped up in Fresno. It will be a more regular game situation," Ortiz said. Injury update: Nothing is broken, but Randy Winn's bruised right foot kept him out of the Sunday lineup. Winn fouled a ball off the top of his foot Saturday in the eighth inning right before he plowed a grand slam over the right-field wall. He was available to play if needed on Sunday. Jonathan Sanchez, who's out with a rib-cage strain, pitched his first rehab inning for Class A San Jose on Saturday and the results were promising. Sanchez threw a perfect first inning and struck out three with 15 pitches. He will pitch for San Jose again on Monday. "We're getting close to making a decision," Bochy said. Tomko's return: Former Giants pitcher Brett Tomko was back on familiar ground Sunday, and the Giants were glad to have him back after his 30-pitch first inning in which two unearned runs scored. Tomko, who compiled a 19-22 record for the Giants from 2004-05, was the Dodgers' starting pitcher Sunday. "I definitely enjoyed playing here. ... [Leaving] was tough," Tomko said. "I really like being up here, but you move on and go to different places and play where you can play." Tomko ended up with the Giants' biggest rivals, the Dodgers, where he has bounced back and forth between starter and reliever over the past two years. He entered Sunday's game with a 1-7 record and 6.18 ERA. "It was kind of fun to go to their biggest rivals, and last year to clinch [a playoff berth] here was a lot of fun," Tomko said. Strikeouts for cancer: Hall of Famer Paul Molitor was on the field as cancer survivors shared their stories before Sunday's game in honor of Strike Out Cancer Day. Every time a Giants pitcher strikes out a batter in a regular-season home game, Genentech BioOncology will make a $200 donation to The Wellness Community-San Francisco/East Bay. On deck: The Giants will open their six-game road trip in Chicago at 4:05 p.m. PT on Monday. Tim Lincecum (4-2, 4.63 ERA) will make his first start at Wrigley Field, against Cubs left-hander Rich Hill (5-6, 3.81 ERA).
Becky Regan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less