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Kickham leaves on upbeat note

SAN FRANCISCO -- Mike Kickham's demotion didn't come with a somber air of finality. If anything, he generated much more hope than disappointment.

The Giants optioned Kickham to Triple-A Fresno on Wednesday, one day after the left-hander endured a rough Major League debut against the Oakland A's. Yet, despite allowing four runs on four hits while walking four in 2 1/3 innings, Kickham displayed a lively array of pitches, leaving the widespread impression that he'll soon perform again for the Giants.

"Oh, he'll be back up here at some point," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I thought the kid had great stuff."

Said Kickham, who replaced the injured Ryan Vogelsong in the rotation, "I'm grateful for the opportunity and hopefully I'll get another one soon."

Kickham flashed his skill while retiring the first four batters he faced, striking out two. That stretch, the 24-year-old said, "[Proved] to myself that I can get outs with my stuff up here as long as I make my pitches."

Chris Haft is a reporter and Andrew Owens is an associate reporter for
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