CLEVELAND -- After Sunday's meltdown in Kansas City, the Giants seemed certain to make a roster move involving the bullpen. They followed through Tuesday, designating right-hander Vinnie Chulk for assignment and purchasing the contract of right-hander Sergio Romo from Double-A Connecticut. "Obviously the [Sunday] game wasn't the best game we played, so somebody had to take the brunt of that," said Chulk, who yielded Mike Aviles' game-tying, two-run double in the sixth inning. The Giants proceeded to lose, 11-10, after leading 10-3.
Chulk was 0-3 with a 4.83 ERA in 27 appearances with the Giants. During his first four appearances in June, his ERA rose from 2.92 to 5.10 as he allowed nine runs in 5 1/3 innings. Over a longer stretch, Chulk had allowed 12 earned runs in 13 2/3 innings spanning his last 12 outings. "I know I haven't pitched well in the last two or three weeks," Chulk said. "But I started to figure stuff out and I started getting better." Nonetheless, said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, "with our struggles, we just had to change things up." Chulk, who was tied for the club lead in appearances last year when a circulatory ailment ended his season in late August, noted that he wasn't used as consistently this season, possibly prompting his slump. He didn't pitch for three days before absorbing his first loss of the season May 12 against Houston, and he was idle for six days (one was a scheduled off-day) in the midst of his downturn earlier this month. "All of a sudden I didn't pitch for five, six, seven days," said Chulk, 29. "I lost the outside fastball a little bit." The Giants have 10 days to trade Chulk, release him or outright him to Triple-A Fresno. Reasoning that he won't be back with the Giants next year, since they'd likely decline to tender him a contract, Chulk expressed hope that another team will claim him on waivers. "I might as well be with another [club] now," Chulk said. Immensely popular with teammates, Chulk left the clubhouse after exchanging handshakes and embraces with numerous players -- including Romo, who will step into the sixth- or seventh-inning role Chulk occupied. Romo, 25, was 1-3 with a 4.00 ERA and 11 saves in 24 games with Connecticut. He had 30 strikeouts and only seven walks in 27 innings. Last season, he was named Class A Relief Pitcher of the Year by MiLB.com after finishing 6-2 with a 1.36 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings for the Giants' San Jose affiliate. Despite all those strikeouts, Romo described himself as somebody who tries to pitch to contact. "I don't have that 95 [mph fastball]," he said. "I've got to make guys hit the ball. Strikeouts are not necessarily a surprise, but I'll take them." Romo received his first big league surprise when his father, Frank, called to tell him that he had flown here from their Southern California home for his impending debut. Also at Progressive Field was Chris Hanks, Romo's coach at Mesa State in Grand Junction, Colo. On his first day in a Giants uniform, Romo proved that he understood the team's culture. Observing that most of his friends and relatives are Dodgers fans, he said, "I don't really side with them any more."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.