Hunter Strickland, grimacer and chucker of fast fastballs, will not be with the Giants for the next three games. He will be experiencing the miracle of childbirth, which is only a million times more rewarding than being a part of the Giants’ bullpen, and he was placed on the three-day paternity list. Best wishes and hearty congratulations to the Strickland family.
Taking Strickland’s place on the roster will be Steven Okert, the left-hander who was somehow booted off the final 25-man roster, despite having the spring he needed to make the team. If we’re going to explain his absence, I guess it goes back to Matt Cain having one decent start toward the end of spring training? That meant that Ty Blach was going to be the lefty, not the fifth starter. I suppose Neil Ramirez’s opt-out clause is a villain here, too.
The point is that Okert should be on this roster, and he’ll get to prove that some more this weekend. The Padres aren’t the leftiest roster in baseball — Travis Janikowski and Ryan Schimpf are the only lefty regulars — but Okert’s stuff also gives him a chance to get right-handers out.
I can’t believe I’m saying this again, but I can see a bullpen that relies on Mark Melancon, Derek Law, Strickland, and Okert that’s a team strength. Not a problem to overcome, but a strength. I was also one of those people who hoped the Electoral College would find some sort of arcane loophole in December, too, so take this begrudging optimism for what it’s worth.
For three games, though, the Giants will be with Okert and sans Strickland. Here’s hoping that Okert keeps making the team second-guess themselves about the current makeup of the bullpen.