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Smith nearing return from Tommy John surgery

MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants hope that their bullpen will become a little more whole next week when left-hander Will Smith makes his anticipated return from Tommy John elbow surgery.

Smith, 29, was a prized acquisition from Milwaukee down the stretch in 2016 for his versatility. He's effective against right-handed batters as well as lefty swingers, he can pitch long or short relief and he can handle the setup role as well as occasional save opportunities.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants hope that their bullpen will become a little more whole next week when left-hander Will Smith makes his anticipated return from Tommy John elbow surgery.

Smith, 29, was a prized acquisition from Milwaukee down the stretch in 2016 for his versatility. He's effective against right-handed batters as well as lefty swingers, he can pitch long or short relief and he can handle the setup role as well as occasional save opportunities.

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Hence, the Giants are eager to have Smith handy for the better part of a season. For a bullpen with such young arms as Reyes Moronta, Pierce Johnson and Josh Osich, Smith's veteran presence could prove valuable.

Pitching on consecutive days will be Smith's final, significant test before he's activated. He'll likely pitch those games Wednesday and Thursday for Triple-A Sacramento against Reno. Smith might make one more appearance after that to keep his arm limber before he rejoins the Giants, which is expected to occur on or shortly after May 1.

Smith pitched capably during his brief stint with San Francisco in 2016, finishing 1-1 with a 2.95 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings. The Giants sent catcher Andrew Susac and pitching prospect Phil Bickford to Milwaukee in the deal for Smith.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants, Will Smith