Decisions loom as injured Giants near return

Melancon expected back Friday; Hill, Gillaspie, Pence also not far off

Decisions loom as injured Giants near return

SAN FRANCISCO -- As the handful of Giants on the disabled list regain health in a week or so, the pain they endured could shift to manager Bruce Bochy and the club's decision-makers, who might face some brain strain as they strive to rearrange the roster.

Bochy said Tuesday that the ballclub plans to activate right-hander Mark Melancon (mild right pronator strain) from the 10-day disabled list Friday.

"To rush him before Friday would be a little risky," Bochy said.

Melancon will be followed by utility man Aaron Hill (right forearm), third baseman Conor Gillaspie (back spasms) and, no sooner than a week from now, right fielder Hunter Pence (left hamstring).

"We're going to have to find a spot for them," Bochy said.

As San Francisco's closer, Melancon will be welcomed back enthusiastically. But that means the Giants must part with somebody from the bullpen that compiled a 2.08 ERA in five games before Tuesday.

Williamson's RBI single

The Giants can use Hill's veteran presence. Gillaspie has proven valuable in the clutch. Pence has been synonymous with the team's success. But their return means others must say farewell. And nobody clearly deserves to be demoted. Even reserve outfielder Mac Williamson rapped two hits Monday after replacing Pence on the active roster.

However, quite often at times like this, something happens that simplifies an impending personnel move. A different player sustains an injury. Somebody on the disabled list encounters a setback in his recovery.

"I always said these things have a way of working out," Bochy said.

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