Signing with Giants pays off for Gearrin

Signing with Giants pays off for Gearrin

PHOENIX -- Knowing he would be wise to join a club that could hasten the recovery of a veteran of Tommy John elbow surgery such as himself, Cory Gearrin made what he considered to be an easy choice.

"I wanted to be with the best organization and the best coaching staff I could," said Gearrin, whose contract the Giants purchased from Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday. "How a manager uses his bullpen is a huge deal. I think any pitcher would tell you that, especially bullpen guys."

So after the Atlanta Braves released Gearrin last November, seven months after he underwent a Tommy John procedure, only two weeks passed before he signed with the Giants for one simple reason. Gearrin said Wednesday that manager Bruce Bochy is rated at "the top of the list" for bullpen maintenance.

Gearrin, who was 3-3 with a 4.28 ERA in 77 appearances for Atlanta from 2011-13, adds to the Giants' bullpen variety as a right-handed sidearmer with a sinker-slider combination. He said his fastball tops out at 94 mph -- decent velocity for a Tommy John veteran. Gearrin went 2-2 with a 2.72 ERA, 46 strikeouts and 14 walks in 43 innings with Sacramento.

Like many sidearmers, Gearrin became a pitcher by accident. He began his college career at Mercer University as a middle infielder, but was quickly converted to pitching when his coach bluntly informed him that he wouldn't hit successfully. Even then, Gearrin said he initially threw only 79 mph until he gained weight, strength and velocity.

• Bochy admitted the "possibility" exists that right fielder Hunter Pence (left oblique) won't play again this season. However, Bochy quickly added, "My guess is that he'll be out there before the season ends."

• Shortstop Brandon Crawford was out of Wednesday's lineup with lingering discomfort in his left oblique and calf. He estimated he might remain sidelined for "a couple of days. It's hard to tell." Crawford underwent MRI exams on both areas, which he said revealed nothing new. But he explained that when he did play recently -- he left Tuesday's game in the fourth inning -- his tight calf denied him use of his lower body when he tried to hit and forced him to use his upper body disproportionately. That, in turn, worsened his oblique.

• Catcher Buster Posey received a break to ease left ankle soreness. He began Wednesday batting .513 (20-for-39) during a 10-game hitting streak, and he drew an intentional walk as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning.

• Asked if he'd consider shelving any of the club's ailing top players to avoid aggravating an injury -- particularly given the Dodgers' commanding lead in the National League West -- Bochy sounded revolted: "Who would I shut down? If they're healthy, they want to play. We still believe anything can happen."

Chris Haft is a reporter for 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.