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Beaning puts Rowand on disabled list

Beaning puts Rowand on disabled list

LOS ANGELES -- Though the Giants haven't determined how to treat the broken bones near Aaron Rowand's left cheek, they did decide Saturday to place the center fielder on the 15-day disabled list.

Infielder Matt Downs was recalled from Triple-A Fresno to take Rowand's spot.

After San Francisco's 9-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers, Giants manager Bruce Bochy related that the team's medical staff was still examining options for Rowand, who was injured Friday night when he was beaned by a fastball from Dodgers right-hander Vicente Padilla.

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Allowing Rowand to heal naturally is one possibility. Bochy acknowledged that surgery is another option, which isn't as ominous as it might sound. Bochy said that Rowand wouldn't be sidelined much more than 15 days if he chose an operation, which likely would involve inserting tiny plates around his cheek to facilitate healing.

The Giants rejected the possibility of fitting Rowand with a protective visor that would allow him to play. Bochy emphasized that the Giants don't want to do anything that might risk jeopardizing Rowand's long-term health, should he absorb some sort of blow near the cheek again.

Eugenio Velez, who has sparkled offensively (.412, two home runs, seven RBIs) replaced Rowand in the leadoff spot and in center field Saturday. Velez likely will start against right-handed pitchers while Andres Torres, a switch-hitter like Velez who's stronger batting right-handed, will play against left-handers.

Bochy said that the Giants would miss Rowand, who was batting .304 and had a seven-game hitting streak before Friday.

"He's been playing great baseball, really doing a heck of a job," Bochy said.

Padilla has a reputation among some baseball people for behaving impulsively, but he insisted that he wasn't throwing at Rowand in retaliation. Three innings earlier, Giants right-hander Todd Wellemeyer threw a high-and-tight pitch to Matt Kemp.

"I'm very sorry," Padilla said. "I'd like to talk to him. I don't want there to be any misunderstanding. It was not intentional. I was just trying to pitch inside, but I never pitch a ball close to anyone's head. And I didn't want to load the bases."

Bochy explained that Downs was summoned because he can play virtually every position, though his primary spot is second base. Downs, 26, was hitting .286 with one home run and three RBIs in nine games for Fresno. He hit .170 in 17 games last year spanning two stints with the Giants.

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

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