The San Francisco Giants made a fairly surprising move on Friday, an hour before starting a series against the Colorado Rockies. Left-handed pitcher Kyle Harrison, the team’s top prospect, has been optioned to AAA Sacramento, while right-handed pitcher Ross Stripling has been activated after a month on the Injured List — half of which was spent healthy.
While the decision was at least partially impacted by Harrison’s struggles his last few times out, the bigger reason seems to be the situation the Giants are currently in. Thursday’s game between the Giants and Rockies was rained out, resulting in a Saturday doubleheader. To make matters worse, Alex Cobb — who has been dealing with hip discomfort — has had his start pushed back from Saturday to Tuesday.
With Harrison having started on Wednesday, he would not have been able to pitch in any of the four Colorado games. Which means the Giants would have had two pitchers unavailable as they played four games in 45 hours at Coors Field.
Swapping an arm for an arm was fairly logical, and the combination of the timing, Harrison’s struggles, and his options made it a fairly easy choice.
The downside here is that pitchers can’t return to the roster until 15 days after being optioned, meaning Harrison can’t return until the final series of the season, unless it’s to replace someone who goes on the IL (which, in fairness, is quite possible).
In other roster news, the Giants activated outfielder Michael Conforto from the IL, as expected, and he’s starting at designated hitter tonight, and will play in the field on Saturday. To make room for Conforto, rookie infielder Casey Schmitt was optioned.