8/1/2013 7:25 P.M. ET
Giants preparing for the Trop's quirks
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- Since relatively few Giants have extensive playing experience at Tropicana Field, where the team will begin a three-game series Friday against the Rays, pregame drills could be a little more intensive than usual.
The Giants have played on artificial turf and in domed ballparks -- more accurately, parks with retractable roofs. But few have competed at sites that combine the two. Tropicana's dome is not retractable, which will force the Giants to adjust to track fly balls against the backdrop of the ceiling.
Giants bench coach Ron Wotus said that he is "leaning toward" conducting full-scale infield practice, a custom which has virtually disappeared, to help players learn their surroundings. Coaches will hit practice grounders harder than usual to prepare infielders for what they might experience in the game. Wotus added that he wants corner infielders to take grounders that skip from the turf to the dirt cutouts to judge the different hops.
Wotus said that, overall, it's up to each defender to cope with the surroundings.
"That's part of being a professional," he said.
Struggling Zito could be bumped from rotation
PHILADELPHIA -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy would not commit to assigning Barry Zito his regular turn in the starting rotation Sunday in Tampa Bay, reflecting the left-hander's tenuous status.
"I'll have something to announce [Friday] as far as the rotation," Bochy said.
Bochy said Thursday that Zito was slated for possible relief duty that night, but downplayed the development by indicating that other starters -- whom he wouldn't name -- also would be "live" in the bullpen.
Zito is 4-8 with a 5.09 ERA in 21 starts this season, including 0-7, 9.97 in nine road assignments. The Giants are 2-8 in the last 10 games started by Zito, who's 0-5 with a 6.66 ERA in that span. He has one victory in his last 17 outings.
If Zito doesn't start, right-hander Guillermo Moscoso is a leading candidate to replace him. Moscoso relieved Zito in Tuesday's series opener against the Phillies and allowed two runs in 2 2/3 innings.
Affeldt throws for first time since groin injury
PHILADELPHIA -- Left-hander Jeremy Affeldt threw for the first time since injuring his left groin July 20, though he restricted himself to light tossing on Thursday.
"It was just step and throw. I didn't really activate anything," Affeldt said. "We didn't try to test it. But it felt pretty good."
Affeldt, who's likely to remain sidelined through at least the end of August, said that he made approximately 45 throws at 55-60 feet. After enduring a period of moving around as little as possible, Affeldt also has begun performing more strengthening exercises.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.