SAN FRANCISCO -- A Giants pitching rotation that has been in flux much of this season might finally be set. With veteran right-hander Jeff Samardzija activated from the disabled list Saturday, righty Chris Stratton was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento.Rookies Andrew Suarez and Dereck Rodriguez will remain in the rotation."We had
SAN FRANCISCO -- A Giants pitching rotation that has been in flux much of this season might finally be set. With veteran right-hander Jeff Samardzija activated from the disabled list Saturday, righty Chris Stratton was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento.
Rookies Andrew Suarez and Dereck Rodriguez will remain in the rotation.
"We had to create a spot for Jeff," said manager Bruce Bochy. "I think you look at Stratton's past couple starts, he hasn't quite been as sharp, and this gives him a chance to kind of catch his breath and work on a couple things."
Stratton posted a 3.55 ERA in June and leads the club with eight wins, but he labored through his last two outings. He wasn't surprised by the move, which comes on the heels of an eight-run barrage in Colorado on Monday.
"All of the other guys are throwing really well, and I'm just the odd man out right now," Stratton said. "I just got to go down there and continue to work and be ready if they call my name again."
After not allowing a home run in his first five starts of June, Stratton allowed three over his last two outings.
"I just needed to do a better job of locating [the fastball], and I think it'll open up everything else," Stratton said. "More or less just try to work on fastball command and get the breaking balls to work off of that." Bochy is confident he'll call on Stratton again.
"He's pitched some big games for us, important games that we felt like we had to win," Bochy said. "He'll be back up here."
Smith emerging as primary closer
Will Smith threw a perfect ninth inning in Friday's 3-2 win to convert his third consecutive save.
"The way he's throwing the ball, he's going to be the guy we use a lot in the ninth," Bochy said. "He's going to need breaks, but we have some other good candidates there."
Smith has a 1.07 ERA and 0.67 WHIP this season.
"After sitting out a full year, it's nice just to be back and be able to play again," Smith said.
"We all kind of consider ourselves closers," Smith added. "We're confident in running whoever out there in the ninth inning. You have closers in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth, one guy just happens to be the last guy to throw."
Chase d'Arnaud ready to contribute
With Joe Panik landing on the disabled list, the Giants called up Chase d'Arnaud in a corresponding move. In Sacramento, the versatile d'Arnaud made the Pacific Coast League All-Star Game by slashing .292/.393/.522 and playing a host of positions.
"I've been playing just about everywhere," d'Arnaud said. "I've been playing mainly infield and not so much in the outfield so far, but I fully intend to go out there and get a bunch of reads in. I just want to be ready in case they need me to play the outfield, too."
"His versatility is going to come in handy. He played everywhere," Bochy added. "First, second, short, third, even outfield. He can swing the bat well and steal you a base. He's got some experience up here, so he's not going to be in awe of anything."
Slater expected to get bulk of playing time in left
Panik's injury opens the door for Alen Hanson, traditionally an infielder, to be the everyday starter at second base. Hanson had also started three of the last four games in left, and his shift back to the infield creates an opportunity for rookie Austin Slater.
"I'll play Slater a lot in left field," Bochy said after Friday's game.
Martin Oppegaard is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @MartinOppegaard.