LOS ANGELES -- Sheer need prompted the Giants to exchange one type of pitcher for a wholly different one. They announced Tuesday that right-hander Chris Stratton was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento, while left-hander Josh Osich was recalled from the same club.
Functioning as San Francisco's long reliever was Stratton's primary role. With a scheduled day off coming up Thursday, manager Bruce Bochy reasoned that the club had limited use for Stratton. By contrast, Bochy added, the Giants wanted a second left-hander in the bullpen to complement rookie Steven Okert. Settling on Osich was an easy choice, given his Major League experience and the convenience of already having him on the 40-man roster.
Osich opened Spring Training with a decent chance of making the Opening Day roster, though he endured a strained forearm and left knee surgery. He was among the final players cut when the Giants optioned him to Triple-A to start the season. In nine games at Sacramento, Osich owned a 7.71 ERA and converted two of four save chances. Left-handed batters hit .333 off him, compared to .296 for right-handed hitters.
Stratton had mixed success in his two appearances with the Giants. On April 22, he pitched three hitless innings at Colorado. Last Saturday, he yielded four hits and five runs in one-third of an inning against San Diego.
Few worries for now: Bochy indicated he's monitoring right-hander Johnny Cueto's blister on the middle finger of his throwing hand. Cueto earned the decision in the Giants' 4-3 series-opening win here Monday despite experiencing trouble with the blister from the third inning on. He also noted it has bothered him for much of the season.
"I think you have to be a little concerned," Bochy said, adding that he's not "overly" concerned. Bochy said he has not discussed contingency plans with general manager Bobby Evans if Cueto is not fit enough to make his next scheduled start Sunday at Cincinnati.
The Giants already have lost four-time All-Star Madison Bumgarner until at least the All-Star break. They have no desire to learn what life is like with their top two pitchers sidelined at once.
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.