SAN FRANCISCO -- In the midst of a year in which he had already been designated for assignment by two teams before the All-Star break, Dontrelle Willis was ready to sit out the remainder of the 2010 season.Then, the Giants came calling -- along with the chance to work with Giants vice president of player personnel Dick Tidrow -- and Willis, an Alameda, Calif., native, decided to give the 2010 season one more shot. On Thursday, the Giants announced they had signed Willis to a Minor League contract Wednesday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed for the pro-rated Major League minimum of $400,000, while he is still owed $12 million as part of the final year of a three-year, $29 million deal he signed with Detroit prior to the 2008 season. Willis will report to Rookie-level Arizona on Monday to strengthen his arm before throwing at Triple-A Fresno. "He got derailed there a little bit with Detroit and Arizona, but this is too good of an arm to give up on," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's not giving up and that's what's important. He still wants to pitch and he's a guy we can use in different ways." In his eight-year career, Willis is 71-63 with a 4.12 ERA, but has struggled since leading the league with 22 wins in 2005. He was traded to Detroit prior to the 2008 season, but injuries and an anxiety disorder limited him to fewer than 10 games in 2008 and 2009. Earlier this season, the Tigers traded Willis to Arizona, where he went 1-1 with a 6.85 ERA in six games (five starts), before the D-backs designated him for assignment on July 4 and released him two days later. Even with those struggles, Matt Sosnick, Willis' agent, said several teams were interested in the 2003 National League Rookie of the Year. Still, Willis wanted to wait and reassess his prospects at the end of the season, but Sosnick said the opportunity to work with Tidrow was too good to pass up. "The fact that Dick Tidrow is going to work with him personally really was the deciding factor for us," Sosnick said.
Wellemeyer not quite ready to return
SAN FRANCISCO -- Todd Wellemeyer threw 2 2/3 innings Wednesday at Rookie-level Arizona and said while he felt no pain throwing, his strained right quad still isn't fully healed."I don't feel it when I pitch," Wellemeyer said. "When I'm done throwing, if were to go quickly in either direction [it stings]; if I were to be too explosive, I'd probably do it all over again." Wellemeyer, on the disabled list since June 11, said he is scheduled to throw Monday at Triple-A Fresno and, depending on his quad, could return to the Giants or pitch another Minor League outing. With Madison Bumgarner pitching well in the fifth slot in the rotation, Wellemeyer said he's fine with coming back as a reliever. "It's already almost August -- I doubt they'd try to put me back in a starting role, unless somebody got hurt," Wellemeyer said. "So I'm just going to prepare to be long guy out of the 'pen." In other injury news, both center fielder Andres Torres and Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Torres' left groin was fine and Torres was just getting one more day of rest by sitting out Thursday's series opener vs. the Mets.
Giants sticking with 13 pitchers for now
SAN FRANCISCO -- At least for the near future, the Giants will continue to carry a 13-man pitching staff."Right now, no," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said when asked if he was thinking about dropping a pitcher. "We'll wait and see how this goes." The Giants have eight relievers available out of the bullpen, but only one left-hander -- Jeremy Affeldt. With fellow lefty Dan Runzler out for approximately six weeks with a dislocated left patella, Bochy needs options when it comes to facing left-handed batters late in the game. In situations where he doesn't want to use Affeldt -- or already has -- Bochy said Santiago Casilla, Denny Bautista and Chris Ray are pitchers he'll call on to get left-handers out when needed. Of course, Bochy said, "any kind of situation where a position player is unavailable for two or three days, we'll probably have to make a change."
Giants look to get rolling in second half
SAN FRANCISCO -- For Buster Posey, Travis Ishikawa and the rest of the Giants, the All-Star break came at a bad time.Now, after a few days away from the diamond, the Giants are hoping to use the momentum of the first half's final road trip as a springboard for a successful second half. "That'd be huge. We'd love to pick up where we left off," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We were playing great ball there the last two series, especially coming off some tough series. We scored runs and did a lot of good things." Posey hit .500 with six home runs and 15 RBIs on the last road trip (earning National League Player of the Week honors), while Ishikawa started seven games and hit .414 with 11 RBIs, as the Giants went 7-4 to close the first half. "When you're playing like that you don't want to see the break come, but we had some guys who needed some time off and it's going to be important for us to get out of the chute here in the second half," Bochy said. The Giants began the second half with a short four-game home series against the Mets before going back on the road for three games in Los Angeles and a four-game series in Arizona.
Cash Kruth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.