Strickland pitches in as 26th man for twin bill

Strickland pitches in as 26th man for twin bill

DENVER -- Hunter Strickland departed from Sacramento for Denver on Friday afternoon, an hour or two before he and a handful of Sacramento Rivercats were scheduled to receive their 2014 World Series rings.

Strickland wasn't concerned. He knows that he'll eventually get his ring. The right-hander figured that a summons to the big leagues -- even for a 24-hour assignment such as Saturday's, to bolster the Giants' roster for the day-night doubleheader against Colorado -- was worth the wait.

"I'll take what I can get," Strickland said. "I'm here to help the team."

Strickland, 26, indeed helped, blanking the Rockies in the seventh and eighth innings in the first game. His contribution proved essential to the Giants' 10-8 victory.

"Strickland really calmed things down for us," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Those were two really clutch innings."

Strickland thus duplicated the performance level he has maintained with the Giants' Triple-A Sacramento affiliate. In 15 appearances, he owns a 1.66 ERA with five saves in five chances and 25 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings. He has also walked only three batters.

Strickland explained his success in simple terms.

"I'm making pitches," he said, noting that he throws more two-seam (sinking) fastballs to complement the high, hard one that earned him a promotion to the Giants late last season.

Though Strickland has been mentioned as a potential Major League closer, he has made several appearances of four outs or more for Sacramento. He's unlikely to become a long reliever along the lines of Yusmeiro Petit, but it's obvious that the Giants believe that his development will accelerate if he does more than just pitch an inning.

"Whatever they need," Strickland said.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.