Casilla could return to Giants for White Sox series

Casilla could return to Giants for White Sox series

SAN FRANCISCO -- Having recovered rapidly from his strained right hamstring, Giants right-hander Santiago Casilla might rejoin the team as early as next Tuesday, when San Francisco opens a two-game road series against the Chicago White Sox, manager Bruce Bochy said.

The date of Casilla's return will be determined by his physical resilience after a pair of injury rehabilitation outings with the Giants' Class A Advanced San Jose affiliate. Bochy said Tuesday that Casilla, San Francisco's top setup reliever until he was injured May 21, will pitch one inning Thursday and two innings Saturday, both against Stockton. Casilla wil be re-evaluated after the latter outing to determine whether he's ready for big league action.

Casilla, who tested himself Tuesday by performing pitchers' fielding practice drills, admitted that thoughts of his hamstring flickered around the periphery of his brain as he ran to cover first base. But mostly, he expressed utmost confidence.

"Very good," Casilla repeated, referring to how he felt after the PFP session. "I'm ready to go right now."

Speaking to reporters before Bochy's pregame media session, Casilla acknowledged that the Giants likely would send him on a rehab stint.

"If they ask me to do it, I'll do it," he said.

Casilla, 33, owns a 1-1 record and a 1.37 ERA in 22 appearances this season.

When Casilla returns, the Giants again must wrestle with the issue of whether to keep a 13-man pitching staff and drop a bench player, or send down a pitcher to maintain the team's current roster balance.

Chris Haft is a reporter for Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. Ryan Hood is an associate reporter for Follow him on Twitter @ryanhood19. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.