SAN FRANCISCO -- Starting is a familiar role for Kevin Correia, but his experience in the bullpen has given him a new approach and a second chance to face his early-inning problems of the past. Correia's past two starts, in which he compiled a 1-0 record and a 1.94 ERA, have the Giants thinking about using him as a starter next year. Of course, the rest of the season will factor into Correia's future role, but right now, Correia looks like a different pitcher from when he was a starter two years ago. "Look at what he's done the past couple of starts. It gives you options," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's another vital candidate to be in the rotation."
The biggest difference in Correia is the way he's been pitching in the first inning, starting strong instead of trying to dig himself out of a hole. Correia struggled in the early innings when he served as a starter for part of 2003 and '05, but his time in the 'pen changed his first-inning mentality. "When you're a reliever, pretty much your only inning is your first inning, so you learn to be aggressive right away or else you wouldn't be around for long," Correia said. "I don't really have time to fool around and nibble, or else I'm not going to get the innings that I need to get up there." Correia made 11 starts for the Giants in 2005, going 2-4 with a 4.96 ERA, and seven starts in '03, posting a 3-1 mark with a 3.93 ERA. Correia was throwing well, but not consistently. Part of the problem was Correia was called up after just one season in Class A, which cut the learning process short. He tried to use what he had to stay. "I would go out there and pitch well a couple times and then I would have a bad one," Correia said. "You got to be consistent to be a starter, especially as a relief pitcher I've noticed you can kind of hang your bullpen out to dry when you have a couple bad outings." But Correia is happy about the way things worked out in the long run, and he's a stronger pitcher because of his time in the 'pen. Bochy has not decided if Correia will make a third start Friday. Since the Giants have Thursday off, Correia could be skipped, but Bochy said it would be nice to give other starters time off, which suggests Correia will start. New Giant: The player to be named the Giants received in exchange for trading pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney to the Dodgers was announced on Sunday as Travis Denker, a second baseman from Class A Inland Empire. Denker will likely be added to the Class A San Jose Giants' roster, but no final decision has been made yet. Denker, who just turned 22, put up a .294 batting average with 10 home runs and 57 RBIs this season in the California League. Hang it up: The Reds retired shortstop Dave Concepcion's No. 13 on Saturday, and the gesture meant a lot to another No. 13 back in San Francisco. Omar Vizquel sent his boyhood idol a message of congratulations that was played during the ceremony. "I wanted to let him know how important he was in the beginning of my career and what a big motivation he was," Vizquel said. "Being from the same country [Venezuela] and coming from similar backgrounds, he was a really good role model." Injury updates: Russ Ortiz has decided to have surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his throwing arm after receiving a second opinion that surgery would be the best route, but he has not decided when he will go under the knife. It is likely that Ortiz will opt for surgery as soon as possible so he can start rehabbing for the next season. ... Randy Messenger is expected to throw for the first time Monday since having a screw surgically placed in the fifth metacarpal on his left hand. Messenger said the hand feels fine and he was off painkillers Sunday. ... Ray Durham, who strained his left hamstring Friday, was available to pinch-hit for the first time Sunday. He will likely be back in the starting lineup for the opener against the Rockies on Monday. On deck: Barry Zito will open a three-game series against the Rockies on Monday night at 7:15 p.m PT against right-hander Josh Fogg.
Becky Regan is an associate reporter at MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.