SAN FRANCISCO -- Reliever Santiago Casilla expects to be activated during the current Giants homestand, but first he has one more obstacle to clear: pitching in back-to-back outings.
The San Francisco setup man, who has been shelved since May 21 when a cyst was removed from his right knee, struggled in his third rehab appearance Thursday night for Triple-A Fresno, allowing one run, four hits and one walk in two-thirds of an inning.
Despite the struggles, Casilla said he feels good and expects to pitch Sunday and Monday for Fresno, with a possible return early next week when the Mets play at AT&T Park.
"When I started pitching [at the beginning of the rehab stint], it felt like Spring Training," said Casilla, who added that his command has steadily improved with each outing.
"You want to pitch, you want to play. Right now I want to pitch."
Casilla was a reliable component of manager Bruce Bochy's bullpen during the first two months of the season, posting a 1.89 ERA in 19 appearances. The bullpen has suffered from not having a consistent right-hander to set up closer Sergio Romo in Casilla's absence.
"He's doing great," Bochy said. "I don't know what day we'll activate him, but there's a good chance it's this homestand. It should be real soon."
Andrew Owens is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @OwensAndrew. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.