Sadowski set for Major League debut

Sadowski set for Major League debut

MILWAUKEE -- The Giants' distinction of being the only team in the Major Leagues to use five starting pitchers will end Sunday when they purchase the contract of right-hander Ryan Sadowski, who will ascend from Triple-A Fresno to start the series finale against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The move cemented Jonathan Sanchez's demotion to the bullpen. Sanchez, 2-8 with a 5.54 ERA as San Francisco's No. 5 starter, has lost four consecutive games and, in the minds of Giants officials, wasn't improving. In 13 starts, the left-hander pitched into the seventh inning only once and made two quality starts (three earned runs or fewer in six innings or more).

Manager Bruce Bochy said that Sanchez's bullpen stint will enable him to work more extensively with pitching coach Dave Righetti on his primary flaws, such as inconsistencies with his pitching motion and insufficient command of his breaking pitches. Sanchez performed adequately as a reliever earlier in his career -- he owns a 4.32 lifetime ERA out of the bullpen, compared to 5.47 as a starter -- but the left-hander wants to pitch his way back into the rotation.

"That's where I want to be," he said.

Sanchez accepted his fate calmly. "I'd pitch every day if I could. I've done it before," he said of relieving. Asked to describe his confidence level, Sanchez said, "It's OK."

Sadowski, 26, was 5-2 with a 4.11 ERA in 13 starts with Fresno. He walked 32 and struck out 59 in 72 1/3 innings. Though he won four of his previous five decisions and, Bochy said, was "on the radar" within the organization, it's fair to say that Sadowski hadn't generated much buzz.

Bochy pointed out that Minor League stardom isn't a prerequisite for success.

"It happens with a lot of pitchers," he said. "They're not the guy who's highly touted. But with the time they spend [in the Minors], they learn how to pitch."

Though the Giants will have to drop a player from the 40-man roster, they conceivably don't have to tinker with the active 25-man roster, since infielder Rich Aurilia will go on the bereavement list due to the death of his father and will be absent from Sunday's game through the upcoming St. Louis series.

Bochy said that the Giants didn't consider summoning Madison Bumgarner or Tim Alderson, two of their leading pitching prospects, from Double-A Connecticut. They did contemplate using Tim Lincecum one spot in the rotation early but on his regular four days' rest, a luxury afforded by Thursday's scheduled off-day. But since Lincecum has pitched 26 innings in his last three starts, the Giants figured that he and left-hander Randy Johnson, the other starter affected by Thursday's off-day, could benefit more from an extra day's rest.

Sadowski has been outperformed at Triple-A by right-hander Kevin Pucetas (7-2, 3.41 ERA). But Pucetas last pitched Thursday, so returning Sunday would give him just two days' rest, half of his usual complement.

Pitching matchup
SF: RHP Ryan Sadowski (Major League debut)
Sadowski last pitched June 20 against Colorado Springs, receiving no decision as he allowed 10 hits and four earned runs in six innings. His most impressive recent effort came against Portland on May 30, when he yielded three hits in six shutout innings. Sadowski limited right-handed batters to a .209 average in Triple-A, compared with .281 against left-handers. San Francisco obtained Sadowski by selecting him in the 12th round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft.

MIL: RHP Jeff Suppan (5-5, 4.65 ERA)
Suppan was a victim of some bad defensive plays in his last outing against Minnesota. Suppan gave up nine hits in five innings, giving up seven runs, four of which were earned. Three of the other four runs also could have been avoided, when a swinging strike three got past catcher Jason Kendall to load the bases in the top of the first. The next batter followed with a bases-clearing double to put the Brewers in a hole they wouldn't get out of. Suppan and the Brewers opened the season against the Giants on April 7, with Suppan taking the loss in a 10-6 loss for the Brewers, allowing six runs in four innings. For his career Suppan has had mixed results against the Giants, going 3-5 with a 5.64 ERA in nine starts.

The Giants are assured of their second consecutive winning month. They are 14-10 with three games left in June, preceded by a 15-14 finish in May. ... The Giants' 9-6 record in Interleague Play was their winningest since an 11-7 finish in 2004. ... San Francisco pitchers have recorded 16 double-digit strikeout games, fifth-most in the Major Leagues behind Atlanta (22 entering Saturday), the Cubs (19), Boston (19) and San Diego (18). ... Bochy said that catcher Bengie Molina will rest Sunday. The move has a dual purpose: Not only will it refresh Molina, but it will also pair starter Ryan Sadowski with catcher Eli Whiteside, who gained familiarity with each other at Triple-A.

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Up next
• Monday: Giants (Tim Lincecum, 7-2, 2.57) at Cardinals (Brad Thompson, 2-3, 4.50), 5:15 p.m. PT
• Tuesday: Giants (Randy Johnson, 7-5, 4.68) at Cardinals (Chris Carpenter, 5-2, 1.78), 5:15 p.m. PT
• Wednesday: Giants (Matt Cain, 9-2, 2.57) at Cardinals (Adam Wainwright, 8-5, 3.51), 5:15 p.m. PT

Chris Haft is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.