OAKLAND -- Just days after losing ace Madison Bumgarner (broken left pinkie) and right-handed veteran Jeff Samardzija (pectoral strain) to injuries, the Giants on Sunday announced Ty Blach will be their Opening Day starter."Obviously, the circumstances are tough losing Bum," Blach said. "But it's an honor to be able to
OAKLAND -- Just days after losing ace Madison Bumgarner (broken left pinkie) and right-handed veteran Jeff Samardzija (pectoral strain) to injuries, the Giants on Sunday announced Ty Blach will be their Opening Day starter.
"Obviously, the circumstances are tough losing Bum," Blach said. "But it's an honor to be able to go out there and get that nod and give everything I've got."
The 27-year-old southpaw was focused on merely making the rotation coming into Spring Training but now he's been thrust into the spotlight as Bumgarner is expected to miss two months and Samardzija is expected to be sidelined for three to four weeks. Though Johnny Cueto has the most experience on the staff, his Sunday spring tuneup in Oakland didn't put him on track to start Opening Day against the Dodgers on Thursday.
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"Instead of disrupting three guys, Ty falls in that slot," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Keeps it easier for everybody. The other guys, we'll just keep them on schedule."
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Blach said he'll have some family flying into Los Angeles to catch his big start against the Dodgers. The lefty has posted a 3.63 ERA and 1.21 WHIP with 15 strikeouts and one walk across five Cactus League starts this spring. Joining him San Francisco's rotation to start the year will be Cueto, Derek Holland and Chris Stratton, as the team doesn't need a fifth starter until April 10.
"I think we'll be able to step up and hold down the fort," Blach said.
Cueto looked sharp in Sunday's 5-1 exhibition win in Oakland, limiting the A's to a run on five hits and a walk. Cueto struck out six over 5 2/3 innings, stretching out his pitch count to 82.
"It hurts to have those guys out of the rotation, but I think that I don't have to do more," Cueto said. "I just have to do what Johnny Cueto is capable of doing, try to help my teammates and try to win games."
• Outfielder Steven Duggar continues to make a strong impression during his final push for an Opening Day roster spot. Duggar robbed Matt Joyce of a potential home run in the third inning when he made a leaping catch at the wall. Though he finished Sunday 0-for-4, Duggar has his skipper's attention.
"It's a long ways out there and he hit it better than I thought," Bochy said. "It would've been a home run. What a beautiful play that Duggar made … he's just got talent on defense and offense, that's why he's been here all spring."
Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com.