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Menez sent down for bullpen reinforcement

@mi_guardado
July 22, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- One day after making his Major League debut for the Giants, left-hander Conner Menez is heading back to Triple-A Sacramento. Menez was optioned Monday to clear a roster spot for right-hander Sam Coonrod, who was recalled to give the Giants a fresh arm in their overworked bullpen.

SAN FRANCISCO -- One day after making his Major League debut for the Giants, left-hander Conner Menez is heading back to Triple-A Sacramento.

Menez was optioned Monday to clear a roster spot for right-hander Sam Coonrod, who was recalled to give the Giants a fresh arm in their overworked bullpen. The move came after Menez allowed two runs over five innings in San Francisco's 3-2 win over the Mets on Sunday.

"It wasn't a case of him doing anything wrong," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He threw a very nice ballgame. But we still need some help in the 'pen. We've been using those guys so much. This gives us another arm."

Entering Monday, Giants relievers had pitched 29 2/3 innings over the last six games, four of which went into extra innings. Bochy said he would try to stay away from closer Will Smith in Monday's series opener against the Cubs, as he had made five appearances in the last seven days.

With scheduled off-days on Thursday and Monday, the Giants won't need a fifth starter to replace Menez until Aug. 2 in Colorado. Bochy said the club will likely use the upcoming breaks in the schedule to temporarily go with a four-man rotation. If the Giants decide to keep their four current starters on normal rest, Madison Bumgarner would make his final start before the July 31 Trade Deadline on Sunday in San Diego rather than July 30 in Philadelphia.

Bumgarner is slated to face the Cubs on Tuesday night in his final home start before the Trade Deadline.

Injury updates

• Evan Longoria (left foot plantar fasciitis) took ground balls at third base Monday for the first time since landing on the injured list last week. The veteran third baseman has also resumed hitting in the cage and playing catch, but Bochy said the Giants still don't have a target date in mind for his return.

• Alex Dickerson (right oblique strain) remained out of the lineup for the second consecutive game, but Bochy said he'll be available off the bench against the Cubs and could be ready to start Tuesday.

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.