Giants face decision as Wood nears return

April 14th, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants will have an interesting decision to make regarding left-hander in the coming days.

Wood made his second rehab start in a scrimmage against the A’s at the Giants’ alternate training site on Tuesday, reportedly giving up two runs on five hits over four innings in the 74-pitch outing.

Manager Gabe Kapler said the Giants will wait to see how Wood bounces back before determining whether the 30-year-old is ready to be activated off the 10-day injured list.

“We have a gameplan in place if he comes out of this feeling really good, and he’s especially effective,” Kapler said. “I’m not exactly sure what the final decision will be there, but my guess is that if he comes out of this feeling good, strong and it’s a successful outing, that we’ll think about how we introduce him to the Major League roster. I don’t think that’s far off at all.”

Wood was projected to open the season in the Giants’ starting rotation after signing a one-year, $3 million deal with the club over the offseason, but he landed on the IL after undergoing an ablation procedure to treat lower back stiffness last month.

Even without Wood, the Giants’ rotation has continued to dominate so far this season, with Kevin Gausman, Johnny Cueto, Logan Webb, Anthony DeSclafani and Aaron Sanchez combining to post a 2.43 ERA -- the third-best mark in the Majors -- over the club’s first 10 games of the year.

Kapler said the Giants “don’t have plans to roll out a six-man rotation,” so it remains to be seen how they’ll integrate Wood back into the starting staff once he’s healthy. San Francisco currently has only two right-handed relievers -- Tyler Rogers and Matt Wisler -- in its bullpen, so it could attempt to bolster its depth by moving Webb into a relief role to open a spot in the rotation for Wood.

“Right now, in this conversation, we view him as a starter,” Kapler said of Wood. “That’s where we’re leaning heavily. We really want to see how he comes out of this game. Those are the discussions I’ve had with Alex, which is we’re preparing him to start baseball games.”

Webb, 24, wasn’t a lock to be on the Giants’ Opening Day roster at the beginning of Spring Training, but he secured a spot in the rotation following his electric performance in Cactus League action. He’s struggled to carry over that success into the regular season, though, yielding six runs over 10 1/3 innings (5.23 ERA) in his first two starts of the year.

If he’s shifted to the bullpen, Webb could potentially help fill the void left by Reyes Moronta, who was placed on the 10-day IL with a right flexor strain earlier this week. Moronta, 28, continues to receive treatment and will not resume throwing for another three or four days, according to Kapler.