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Giants have few rotation alternatives in Minors

MLB.com

DENVER -- The Giants' decision makers have an excellent reason for remaining patient with their struggling starting pitchers:

Who's suitable to replace any of them?

Full Game Coverage

DENVER -- The Giants' decision makers have an excellent reason for remaining patient with their struggling starting pitchers:

Who's suitable to replace any of them?

Full Game Coverage

The organization's top pitching prospects, such as Clayton Blackburn, Kyle Crick and Chris Stratton, are at Class A and need much more Minor League seasoning.

The alternatives at Triple-A Fresno come with question marks. The Grizzlies' most consistent starter probably has been 33-year-old Shane Loux, who's 4-1 with a 3.68 ERA. A veteran of 17 professional seasons, Loux was 1-0 with a 4.97 ERA in 19 relief appearances with the Giants last year. He allowed 32 hits in 25 1/3 innings.

Yusmeiro Petit, who also has Major League experience, might have been considered the Giants' first option in an emergency. But he's 2-3 with a 6.69 ERA. Boof Bonser has similar numbers (1-3, 5.31).

Right-hander Chris Heston and left-hander Mike Kickham, who drew plenty of attention in Spring Training as potential heirs to a rotation spot, have struggled at times in their transition from Double-A to Triple-A. Heston's 5-2 with a 5.33 ERA and a .320 opponents' batting average, while Kickham is 2-4, 4.72. Both, however, thrived against New Orleans in their most recent starts. Heston allowed three hits in seven shutout innings last Thursday; Kickham yielded an unearned run and four hits in six innings while striking out eight Saturday.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

San Francisco Giants, Boof Bonser, Chris Heston, Mike Kickham, Shane Loux, Yusmeiro Petit, Buster Posey, Marco Scutaro