SAN FRANCISCO -- About a month into his new Major League role and having appeared in eight games, longtime starter Brad Penny continues to adjust to pitching out of the bullpen.
Before this season, Penny had started 315 career games in the Majors and had appeared in relief just four times since he debuted in 2000.
"I'm feeling better," Penny said. "At first I didn't feel that great. I'm so used to that five-game routine. It's an adjustment, but people have been helping me out, and I'm getting better at it. I had one good game where I felt great, but other than that I've been feeling OK. The last four or five games I've been feeling great. It might have just been getting over the hump."
Penny has given up five earned runs in 11 1/3 innings since joining the team June 29 from Triple-A Fresno. The two-time All-Star signed with the team May 18 after a brief stint in Japan and has been transitioning to being a full-time reliever since.
"I've been trying to talk to everyone about it because as a starting pitcher you've got to pace yourself. It's a whole different thing," Penny said. "Right now, I'm still trying to spot up and get pitches early. You have a different approach coming out of the bullpen. I find that I need to be more aggressive, focus more and make a better pitch the first or second pitch in the at-bat as opposed to just trying to get ahead of him."
When he was brought up to the Giants at the end of June, manager Bruce Bochy said he envisioned Penny as being a possible long reliever and spot starter. Penny has pitched two or more innings in three of his eight appearances.
"Penny is doing fine," Bochy said. "The more and more time he has over there, I think he's adjusting to getting up and getting down and bouncing back."
Giants delay DL decision on Sandoval
SAN FRANCISCO -- Pablo Sandoval's strained left hamstring has improved enough for the Giants to hold off on having to place him on the disabled list, manager Bruce Bochy said before Friday's game against the Dodgers.
"He's making progress and feels better," Bochy said. "We're going to hold off here before we decide what we want to do. We'd like to get him as soon as we can, and he's making progress."
Sandoval injured his hamstring while stretching for a throw as he played first base Tuesday. An MRI on Wednesday confirmed the strain, and the Giants had previously said that they would make a decision on whether or not they would place him on the DL by Friday.
"I guess you can always say the DL is always a possibility, but you don't want to do it unless you have to," Bocchy said. "We don't feel like we have to right now."
Bochy said Sandoval would continue to receive treatment and have his status evaluated, and the skipper didn't rule out the possibility of Sandoval returning during the weekend series against the Dodgers.
"We're going to continue to treat him and evaluate him and see where we're at," Bochy said.
Huff in holding pattern regarding activation
SAN FRANCISCO -- Asked Friday about his playing status, Aubrey Huff repeated, "I don't know anything."The Giants first baseman wasn't being evasive or pleading ignorance. He was entirely sincere. Manager Bruce Bochy confirmed that the club hasn't yet decided what to do with Huff, who sprained his right knee June 13 as he tried to scale the dugout railing to join the on-field celebration following Matt Cain's perfect game. More recently, Huff was bothered by patellar tendinitis in the knee. But Bochy acknowledged that a move involving Huff could happen soon, perhaps even late Friday night.
"He's at a point where he could be activated," Bochy said.Bochy said the Giants had multiple options with Huff. They could activate him and place Pablo Sandoval (left hamstring) on the disabled list. They could activate Huff and create roster room by demoting another player or sending him to the DL. Or they could put Huff on another Minor League injury rehabilitation. Huff last appeared in a game for the Giants on June 10. He's hitting .155 for them with one home run and five RBIs in 32 games. During his Minor League injury rehabilitation stint, which ended when the patellar tendinitis flared up, Huff hit .207 (6-for-29) with one double, one homer and four RBIs. He played four games with Triple-A Fresno and five with Class A San Jose.