Blach expected to take Cueto's start vs. Padres

Blach expected to take Cueto's start vs. Padres

SAN DIEGO -- Ty Blach is nothing like Johnny Cueto. Yet Blach will try his best to emulate the leading winner of the Giants' rotation when he replaces Cueto as Sunday's starter against the San Diego Padres.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy included the qualifier "right now" while naming Blach to pitch, indicating Cueto (17-5) remained a long-shot possibility to recover sufficiently from his strained left groin in time to face the Padres.

More than likely, however, Blach -- ranked as the Giants' No. 23 prospect by MLB Pipeline -- will receive an opportunity to build upon the pair of scoreless, three-inning relief outings he recorded Sept. 5 and last Wednesday.

Improving his changeup to complement his low-90s fastball turned Blach, 25, into a legitimate candidate to compete for a spot in next year's starting rotation.

"He can throw it on any count," said manager Jose Alguacil of Triple-A Sacramento, where Blach finished 14-7 with a 3.43 ERA this year. "He has confidence in that pitch."

In selecting Blach, Bochy reasoned that two other options, right-handers Matt Cain and Jake Peavy, lack the durability Blach has maintained. Peavy last started July 30 and has pitched 10 innings in 10 relief appearances since then; Cain made his most recent start Aug. 17 and thereafter has worked 5 2/3 innings spanning four relief stints.

Shortstop Brandon Crawford (dislocated left pinkie), another of San Francisco's top injured performers, has continued to improve but needed more time to heal before he could consider rejoining the lineup.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. 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.