DENVER -- Returning to a 13-man pitching staff Saturday, the Giants recalled right-hander Jean Machi from Triple-A Fresno. First baseman Brett Pill was optioned to Fresno to clear a roster spot.
The move was necessitated by the inability of Giants starting pitchers to work deep into games. During the first four games of this two-city trip, Barry Zito, Ryan Vogelsong, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner totaled only 18 2/3 innings. Cain was the only one to work past the fifth inning, lasting 6 1/3 innings in Thursday's series opener against Colorado.
"It's fair to say we've gone to [the bullpen] a little bit earlier than we're accustomed to," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "This will give us another arm and we'll see how it goes for a little while here with 13 pitchers. I can't tell you how long, but until we get more consistency, we'll be like this for a while."
In a previous stint this year with the Giants, Machi recorded a 1.74 ERA in nine appearances. He struck out 10 and walked three in 10 1/3 innings.
Pill, 28, has little to prove at Triple-A, where he's hitting .341 with nine home runs, 47 RBIs and a 1.054 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) in 32 games. But he was the only position player the Giants logically could drop. The Giants need the versatility of utility men Joaquin Arias and Nick Noonan. They also need the balance Noonan provides as a left-handed batter off the bench.
Pill went 2-for-6, both hits doubles, in his brief stay with San Francisco. He was in Fresno's lineup, batting fourth and playing first base, for Saturday's game against New Orleans.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.