Roy Oswalt suffered a setback in his quest to recover from a strained left hamstring. Troy Renck reports that the veteran right-hander had to quit a simulated game after two batters. Oswalt, who has been out since July 8, said “it’s going to take a couple more weeks”, effectively moving his earliest return date to mid-August. Oswalt posted a 7.64 ERA in 17 and two-thirds innings spread out over four starts.
The Rockies could use some rotation help if and when Oswalt returns. They own the National League’s fourth-worst aggregate starting pitching ERA at 4.47. Collin McHugh and Chad Bettis each started for the club recently, becoming the ninth and tenth pitchers to make a start in a Rockies uniform this season.
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.
The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.
Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.