Lefty Surkamp shut down with elbow soreness
Giants prospect out for a week after undergoing MRI
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants pitching prospect Eric Surkamp had a setback to his strong Cactus League campaign Monday and will be shut down for a week with left elbow soreness.
"It is showing a little strain, but we're just going to take a little time here," manager Bruce Bochy said after MRI results came back Monday. "The bad news is he's got a sore elbow, but we did get good news from the MRI that there's nothing structurally wrong."
MLB.com ranks Surkamp as the Giants' No. 4 prospect, and he was the most likely of the top 10 to make the Opening Day roster.
"I had a little arm trouble, so they shut me down for a week and we'll see how things go from there," Surkamp said before Monday's game with the Royals. "I really didn't bounce back from my last start. It was kind of bugging me a little bit there. I tried to get through this week and get to today, but playing catch the last couple days, I couldn't really do it."
Surkamp was supposed to pitch Monday after Ryan Vogelsong made his Cactus League debut. Surkamp expected to come in during the fourth inning and pitch the rest of the way. He pitched five innings of two-run ball his last time out and was the top candidate to fill a spot in the rotation if any of the projected starters had trouble.
"I was feeling good, my arm was feeling good, my body was feeling good," Surkamp said. "I felt like I was starting to get there with my stuff. My stuff was starting to get a little sharper. So it's disappointing a little bit. Hopefully it's just a little inflammation in there. Knock it out and get back out there."
Surkamp was 3-1 with a 4.41 ERA in five spring outings (three starts) spanning 16 1/3 innings. His only treatment so far was to ice the elbow Sunday. He has never had serious arm trouble before.
"I've had normal pitcher's stuff," Surkamp said. "Soreness, fatigue --- nothing where I've had to miss time. It's early in spring. Now is the time to get it right."
The Giants' projected rotation is Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Barry Zito and Vogelsong, who was penciled in as the No. 4 starter, but suffered a back strain in early February. The Giants won't need a fifth starter until April 15, given an early off-day in the schedule, so Vogelsong likely will start the season on the disabled list and come back for the April 15 start.
Surkamp made his Major League league debut Aug. 27 and went 2-2 with a 5.74 ERA in six starts to close out the season.
Vogelsong free of back pain in spring debut
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants took a big step in undoing the medical tent motif of their clubhouse Monday when projected fourth starter Ryan Vogelsong made his Cactus League debut.
The right-hander threw 39 pitches in 2 2/3 innings and allowed one run on two hits while striking out two.
"It was a huge relief," manager Bruce Bochy said of Vogelsong's first start since suffering a back strain in early February. "He's so important to this rotation and to this club. He's one of our guys, so it's nice to see him on track and the way he continues his progress. We have a plan, and that's for him to pitch on [April] 15th. He looks like he's on his way for that."
The plan includes skipping the fifth starter's spot due to the luxury of an early off-day in the schedule, and could mean Vogelsong starts the season on the DL or remains in Scottsdale to pitch a camp game and stay on schedule while continuing to build stamina.
"I was pretty confident I was going to be OK," Vogelsong said. "But you can't simulate game speed, so to get the game speed out of the way definitely makes me relax my mind a little about this, and now I can get ready for the season and work on pitches and location and things like that and get this back thing out of my mind."
After a leadoff double that came around to score on a sacrifice bunt and a grounder to short, Vogelsong was sharp the rest of the way. He used all his pitches, fielded his position and made a pickoff play, all with no trace of back pain. It was also important to sit down and get back on the mound twice as the innings progressed, and he was relieved to have no issues with his back through anything.
"The biggest thing was to control my emotions that I was facing big league hitters in a Cactus League game, and I did it," Vogelsong said. "I kept myself poised and under control and tried to get into a rhythm and make sure my pitches where there, and they were. Worked out of the stretch, I fielded a bunt -- everything that I wanted to do I did."
Vogelsong was 13-7 with a 2.71 ERA in 30 appearances (28 starts) for the Giants last season.
Sanchez gets cortisone injection in shoulder
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants second baseman Freddy Sanchez is sitting for two days after receiving a cortisone shot on Sunday in the right shoulder he dislocated last June.
"He's going to sit out [Monday] and [Tuesday] and be back on the field Wednesday," head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner said after the Giants' 4-2 win over the Royals on Monday.
Sanchez has appeared in five Cactus League games as a designated hitter and is hitting .278 (5-for-18) with no extra-base hits. He has also served as a DH in several Minor League games, but he has not been comfortable enough with his throwing to play a game at second base at any level.
There has been virtually no change in Sanchez's comfort level on the field in at least a couple weeks, and the hope is that Sanchez can start to make more progress after feeling the positive effects of the cortisone shot.
In the meantime, a battle has emerged given the likelihood that a starting spot at second base will be available on Opening Day. Contenders include Emmanuel Burriss, Mike Fontenot, Ryan Theriot and Joaquin Arias.
Bumgarner's next start will be in Minors game
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti announced Monday that Madison Bumgarner will miss his scheduled Wednesday start against the Dodgers and start a Minor League game the same day instead.
Yusmeiro Petit will start Wednesday in place of Bumgarner. Petit has made one Cactus League appearance, pitching three shutout innings against the Rockies on Saturday.
The Giants have sent their starters to the Minors the last two times they faced a National League West rival. Tim Lincecum missed the Rockies on Thursday and Matt Cain missed Colorado on Saturday.
"The less you can see of a team in our division, as much as we face them, it'll help us out," Bumgarner said.
Theriot exits after pickoff throw hits face
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants shortstop Ryan Theriot left Monday's 4-2 win over the Royals with a bloody nose after taking a ball to the face in the top of the third inning.
The injury came on a pickoff play at second base as pitcher Ryan Vogelsong tried to catch Alcides Escobar with a quick throw to the bag. The ball deflected off Escobar and caught Theriot in the face.
Joaquin Arias came into the game to replace Theriot at shortstop.
Theriot, Arias, Mike Fontenot, and Emmanuel Burriss are all vying for a pair of spots on the Giants' roster, with second base and a utility infielder spot appearing open.
Giants release Ortiz, reassign four pitchers
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants made a series of roster cuts Monday. Four pitchers were reassigned to Minor League camp, and reliever Ramon Ortiz was given his release.
Ortiz was 0-2 with a 2.53 ERA in seven Cactus League games spanning 10 2/3 innings. Oritz, 39, has 11 years of big league experiences with the Angles, Reds, Nationals, Twins, Rockies, Dodgers and Cubs, putting together an 86-84 record in 296 games, including 214 starts. He was with the Cubs in 2011, making 22 appearances (two starts) and posting a 4.86 ERA.
The Giants also reassigned right-handed pitchers Shane Loux (7.04 ERA in five games, 7 2/3 innings) and Andrew Kown (6.35 ERA in six games, 11 1/3 innings) and lefties Wilmin Rodriguez (1.69 ERA in six games, 5 1/3 innings) and Brian Burres (4.76 ERA, in five games 11 1/3 innings) to Minor League camp.
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.