Hensley returns to Giants' bullpen

Hensley returns to Giants' bullpen

Hensley returns to Giants' bullpen
DENVER -- The Giants got a little stronger Tuesday as reliever Clay Hensley was activated before the game with the Rockies, and manager Bruce Bochy indicated the right-hander will be used in much the same way he was used before going on the disabled list Aug. 27 with a right groin strain.

"He's going to help out in the sixth and seventh inning," Bochy said. "He'll be part of the mix, I'll say that. He feels good. He faced hitters not too long ago and he's been taking bullpens. I see him helping out in that role."

Hensley has been a key part of San Francisco's 'pen, making 54 appearances and posting a 4.37 ERA while establishing a 4-3 record with three saves as part of Giants' closer-by-committee corps.

Bochy's tone made it seem like he might be hesitant to immediately rely on Hensley for key outs as he has in the past. Before hitting the DL, Hensley posted an 11.81 ERA in his last seven relief appearances, but he has held left-handers to a .197 (13-for-66) average and stifled opponents to the tune of a .214 (12-for-56) average with runners in scoring position.

In other health news, Xavier Nady continues to make progress in his recovery from a left hamstring strain suffered last Wednesday. He was available to pinch-hit, and Bochy hopes to see him take the field in Arizona, when the Giants will face three lefties in a row.

"He's got to be pretty close to full speed, particularly in this outfield," Bochy said of his criteria for starting the right-handed hitter. "Where he's at now, his target date is still Arizona. He should be able to go."

The Giants face a fourth consecutive southpaw in Wednesday's series finale in Colorado when Jeff Francis climbs the hill, and Bochy indicated Brandon Belt was a "maybe" for a left-field start.