Heston braced for showdown with Dodgers

Heston braced for showdown with Dodgers

SEATTLE -- Chris Heston has pitched a no-hitter and maintained an above-.500 record for most of the season. But his true rite of passage as a Giant awaits him Friday, when the rookie right-hander starts for the first time against the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco's longtime nemesis.

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Heston's eager to absorb this experience.

"Rivalries are awesome," said Heston (6-5), who was called on as a reliever twice against the Dodgers in 2014. "It's going to be fun to be part of one."

Spending six years in the Giants' Minor League system steeped Heston in the teams' traditional enmity.

"Anytime you play a Dodgers affiliate, you want to take it to them," he said.

Heston did exactly that in a March 27 Cactus League game against the Dodgers. He furthered his status as a viable starting candidate by allowing three runs (two earned) and four hits in six innings. Facing most of the Dodgers' regulars, Heston yielded three first-inning runs before silencing Los Angeles for the next five innings. This outing familiarized him somewhat with the Dodgers' hitters.

"I got a pretty good gauge for what I want to do," Heston said.

Worth noting

• The Giants opted to wait at least one more day before reinstating outfielder Gregor Blanco (concussion) from the disabled list. Blanco, who said Wednesday that he was still bothered by mild headaches, performed some baserunning drills Thursday. "That's really the last box to check off," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, indicating that Blanco's return remained imminent.

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.