Giants open to more pitching help

Giants open to more pitching help

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants knew they had to improve their offense, which prompted their deals for Ryan Garko and Freddy Sanchez before last Friday's Trade Deadline.

But whether San Francisco remains in postseason contention could depend on other acquisitions, particularly recent and future recalls of Minor Leaguers or a move to add pitching help.

Members of the current roster aren't dwelling on any personnel shortcomings that might remain.

"We're just a bunch of fun-loving guys out there playing good ball," right-hander Brian Wilson said.

Still, some adjustments are necessary. The Giants probably will promote a pitcher from Triple-A Fresno to fill the No. 5 starter's vacancy created by Ryan Sadowski's return to the Minors. Fresno right-hander Joe Martinez is a leading candidate to be summoned.

But the Giants' braintrust also is very likely scouring the waiver wire in hopes of securing a veteran who might prove somewhat more reliable than a rookie. Cincinnati's Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang, Cleveland's Carl Pavano, Kansas City's Brian Bannister and San Diego's Kevin Correia -- the former Giant -- are among the more competent starters who might become available.

Skeptics have wondered whether the Giants should have pursued pitching more aggressively before the Deadline, citing the quality of the team's rotation beyond co-aces Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum. Randy Johnson (8-6), who virtually matched Cain and Lincecum win for win before going on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, isn't certain to return. Barry Zito and Jonathan Sanchez have been inconsistent through much of the season.

But Zito entered Sunday with a 1.89 ERA in three starts following the All-Star break, and Sanchez has looked noticeably more confident on the mound since his July 10 no-hitter against San Diego. Should they maintain their improvement, the Giants might feel less urgency about importing another starter.

The Road Ahead
Home games remaining: 28
Road games remaining: 29
Games vs. teams over .500: 26
Key series:at Colorado, Aug. 21-24
 vs. Colorado, Aug. 28-30
 vs Colorado, Sept. 14-16
  vs. Los Angeles, Sept. 11-13
  at Los Angeles, Sept. 21-23
  vs. Chicago, Sept. 24-27

The Giants avoided a major headache Saturday night when X-rays of center fielder Aaron Rowand's left arm, where he was hit by a Joe Blanton pitch, revealed no fracture. San Francisco's outfield already was depleted by injuries to Nate Schierholtz (left hip) and Andres Torres (left hamstring) that sent both to the 15-day disabled list. Losing Rowand would have exhausted what little depth the Giants have remaining.

As it was, Torres left the bench when Schierholtz went on the DL last Monday and contributed significantly to four consecutive Giants victories. While Rowand remained unable to throw last week with stiffness in his right arm, the freshly recalled Eugenio Velez helped compensate by playing all three outfield spots and hitting proficiently. He gave the Giants just as much impetus as any Trade Deadline acquisition could have. That's something to remember if another injury sidelines any Giant.

The impact of Garko, who has claimed most of the playing time at first base, and Sanchez, now the regular second baseman, has yet to develop. Sanchez had been nursing an injured left knee before Pittsburgh traded him to the Giants last Wednesday, so he and Garko didn't appear in the lineup together for the first time until Sunday's series finale against Philadelphia.

Their credentials, however, spoke for themselves. Garko, who achieved career highs of 21 homers in 2007 and 90 RBIs last season with Cleveland, should supply run-producing potential the Giants had lacked. Sanchez is a three-time All-Star and 2006 National League batting champion whose polished approach complements the free-swinging tendencies of most other Giants hitters.

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