Martinez to face Astros in return to bigs

Martinez to face Astros in return to bigs

HOUSTON -- The Giants announced Joe Martinez will make his return to the mound Wednesday.

After much speculation, Martinez was named the Giants starter for the club's series finale with the Houston Astros, becoming the Giants' seventh starter of the season. He makes his return to the big leagues for the first time since being placed on the disabled list on April 10 after taking a wicked line drive off the head against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 9.

"He made the club out of Spring Training and has been throwing the ball well down [in Fresno]," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He didn't go on the DL because of his arm, and he's back to throwing the ball the way he was when he made our club."

Bochy did not indicate what roster move they would make to make room for Martinez to return, but said it would be announced prior to Wednesday's game.

Wednesday was originally Ryan Sadowski's spot in the rotation, but after four straight losses, the Giants optioned the rookie right-hander to Triple-A Fresno on Saturday to make room for the newly acquired Freddy Sanchez.

Martinez, who was mentioned as a candidate to make the start earlier in the week, was scheduled to start Monday for Fresno, but was scratched at the last minute and the Grizzlies made it a bullpen game.

"We're all going to feel good for Joe to see him back out there after what he went through," Bochy said. "I know he's been looking forward to this day. Even when he was hurt, he couldn't wait to get back pitching. Now with him pitching [Wednesday], everybody is going to be excited to see him back on the hill."

In just his second career Major League appearance, Martinez was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of Brewers center fielder Mike Cameron in the ninth inning. The 26-year-old rookie right-hander sustained a concussion and three hairline fractures on the right side of his head.

Just two days before the skull-rattling incident, Martinez had won his first big league game, tossing two innings of relief, allowing two runs on three hits and striking out one in San Francisco's 10-6 victory over the Brewers on April 7.

Now that he's going to be back with the team, the Giants hope Martinez will be able to take advantage of the opportunity and step in as the club's fifth starter.

"That would be ideal for us for Joe to take that spot and run with it," Bochy said.

Jason Grodsky is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.