Tropeano called up as potential starter

May 22nd, 2021

When the Giants unveiled their Opening Day roster in March, the most notable omission was right-hander , who made a compelling case to be included on the 26-man roster following his strong performance in Cactus League action.

“It was a difficult decision and not the easiest conversation letting him know that he wasn't going to be on our Opening Day roster,” manager Gabe Kapler said at the time. “But I feel pretty confident he's going to make an impact for us this year.”

Tropeano will finally get that opportunity, as the Giants called up the 30-year-old veteran ahead of Friday night’s series opener against the Dodgers at Oracle Park. Tropeano replaced struggling rookie , who was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento after posting a 7.59 ERA over his first 13 appearances in the Majors.

To clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Tropeano, the Giants designated right-hander Trevor Hildenberger for assignment.

Tropeano signed a Minor League deal with the Giants over the offseason and posted a 2.79 ERA over three starts with the River Cats this year. He spent most of his career as a starter for the Astros and Angels, but he found greater success after transitioning to the bullpen with the Pirates in 2020, when he logged a 1.15 ERA over 15 2/3 innings.

Tropeano will be a candidate to start in place of the injured Logan Webb (right shoulder strain) on Saturday, but Kapler said the Giants wouldn't finalize a decision until they can evaluate the state of their bullpen following Friday’s game. If left-hander Alex Wood delivers a strong start against the Dodgers, Tropeano could be tapped to do the heavy lifting in a bullpen game on Saturday.

“He gives us the possibility to use him as a length option today, and obviously, he's squarely in the mix for some innings tomorrow as well,” Kapler said before Friday's series opener. “He performed very well for us during Spring Training, and he's a guy that we believe in.”

The Giants have another fallback option in left-hander Scott Kazmir, who was scratched from his scheduled start for Triple-A Sacramento on Friday. If San Francisco’s bullpen is taxed after its first clash with the Dodgers, the 37-year-old Kazmir could have an opportunity to return to the Majors for the first time since 2016.

A three-time All-Star, Kazmir recorded a 2.84 ERA over 6 1/3 innings in two appearances with the River Cats this year. The Giants would have to clear another 40-man spot to add Kazmir, who also joined the club on a Minor League deal over the offseason.

“We still have a couple of balls in the air and some decisions to make,” Kapler said.

Doval, 23, will return to the Minors for some extra seasoning after surrendering four home runs over 10 2/3 innings this season. Doval hadn’t pitched above Class A ball prior to this year, but he was quickly thrust into high-pressure situations after earning his first big league callup in April. The hard-throwing reliever initially dazzled with his precocious poise, but he also battled command issues, particularly with his high-octane fastball, and had allowed runs in each of his previous three outings.

“He did a good job for us,” Kapler said. “We believe that he's going to be back and making an impact on our Major League club at some point in the season. We think he has a chance, when that happens, to stick for even longer. The messages were very positive. He was extremely receptive and understood the decision completely. He was an absolute pro about it. I believe that he's going to be back.”

Injury updates

• First baseman Brandon Belt returned to the lineup Friday after missing five games with left side tightness.

• Catching prospect Joey Bart departed Triple-A Sacramento’s game after five innings on Thursday with groin tightness, but Kapler said the Giants don’t believe the injury is serious. The early exit was unrelated to backup catcher Curt Casali, who is doing OK after being hit by a pitch in the Giants’ 19-4 blowout in Cincinnati on Thursday.

Pence’s pop-up

Former Giants outfielder Hunter Pence and his wife, Lexi, are hosting a coffee pop-up at Baseballism, a retail shop located across the street from Oracle Park in San Francisco, on Saturday and Sunday. The Pences designed a limited-edition “Rise + Grind” bundle through their coffee and lifestyle brand, Pineapple Labs, and will be on hand to serve drinks to the first wave of customers.

All proceeds from the “Rise + Grind” bundle will benefit Pitch in for Baseball & Softball, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing equipment to kids whose families can’t afford it.