Giants to carry extra pitchers with Morse doubtful for WC Game

Giants to carry extra pitchers with Morse doubtful for WC Game

PITTSBURGH -- With manager Bruce Bochy calling outfielder Michael Morse "doubtful" for Wednesday's National League Wild Card Game, the main question regarding the Giants' roster for the do-or-die contest now seems to be just how many pitchers the team will carry -- and who exactly they will be.

Morse's potential absence from the 25-man roster makes Bochy's position-player decisions rather clear-cut. That said, he is still on the fence about whether he wants to carry 10 or 11 pitchers for Wednesday's tilt with the Pirates. For reference, Bucs skipper Clint Hurdle said he plans to have nine pitchers at his disposal for the win-or-go-home game.

"We just finished talking about it, and we'll finish these discussions once this workout is over," Bochy said Tuesday night before the Giants hit the field at PNC Park for a brief team workout. "Where we're at right now is whether we'll go with 10, maybe 11 pitchers."

Along with starter Madison Bumgarner, there seem to be six relievers -- Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, Jeremy Affeldt, Jean Machi, Hunter Strickland and Santiago Casilla -- locked into roster spots.

That leaves either three or four pitching spots, depending on which direction the Giants ultimately decide to go. Veteran Tim Lincecum is likely to land one of the spots, while Bochy said that he'd like to have at least two of the team's other four starters available. He then immediately commended Yusmeiro Petit on his ability to pitch in a long-relief role, if necessary -- a hint that he could land one of the spots.

That leaves Jake Peavy, Ryan Vogelsong or Tim Hudson for the final spot, making relievers Juan Gutierrez and George Kontos the odd men out. Gutierrez, however, could sneak onto the roster if San Francisco indeed elects to go with 11 pitchers and bring no more than three regular starters.

"We're weighing what's more important to have. Is it an extra pitcher in case this game goes extra innings or something? And that extra pitcher also allows you to pull a pitcher earlier if you want to or get the matchups that you want," Bochy said. "You have to look at the player who would replace that pitcher and what his value would be."

Had Morse been healthy, that decision may have been a bit tougher. As it stands now, however, the Giants have 14 rather obvious choices for 14 position player spots, even if they do bring 11 pitchers.

San Francisco's starting lineup will consist of Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, Brandon Crawford, Pablo Sandoval, Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco and Travis Ishikawa. In addition to those eight, two bench spots will be occupied by Andrew Susac and Joaquin Arias.

That leaves four remaining spots, which could be filled by Matt Duffy, Juan Perez, Gary Brown and Adam Duvall.

"I can't really put it into words what it would mean, because I've never really been in this position," said Duffy, who went 6-for-15 as a pinch-hitter in his limited opportunities down the stretch. "Whatever they feel is best for the team, I'm happy with, but it would be an honor. I'll be ready either way."

Duffy would be a more logical choice to pinch-hit in a hit-for-contact situation, while Duvall could bring a power bat off the bench. Three of Duvall's 14 hits in his limited opportunities this summer were home runs, including a pinch-hit shot in Sunday's regular-season finale.

"It would be awesome to get out there [Wednesday], but either way, I'm excited to be here and just be a part of this team," Duvall said. "I can't control whether I'm on or off the roster -- that's their decision. Either way, though, I'm happy just to be here, and I'm ready to help any way I can."

The only other options position player-wise are carrying a third catcher in Guillermo Quiroz, opening up the opportunity for Susac to pinch-hit, or putting Ehire Adrianza on the roster in what would be a rather shocking move.

Albeit a superb defender, Adrianza hasn't seen any game action since suffering a right hamstring injury on July 24. Yet that didn't stop the Giants from having Adrianza meet the team in Pittsburgh ahead of Wednesday's game. It's unclear if San Francisco just wants to gauge Adrianza's status for potential future rounds or if he's actually being considered for one of the 25 roster spots for the Wild Card Game.

Either way, Bochy said the team plans to finalize its decisions sometime Tuesday night, though the club won't announce its final roster until Wednesday morning.

"We're still on the fence on a couple players right now and which way we're going to go, but we should have this done at some point [Tuesday night]," Bochy said. "A lot of variables come into play when you're setting up your roster, and we're just making sure we work through all of those right now."

Paul Casella is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.