Giants adjusting rotation in Philadelphia, but not for trade purposes

SF Giants rookie right-hander Shaun Anderson's next start will be pushed back

Shaun Anderson (64) of the San Francisco Giants pitches during the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on July 12, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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PHILADELPHIA — In the hours leading up to the trade deadline, every tiny decision a major league club makes leads to speculation.

It’s always newsworthy when a team shuffles its starting rotation, but the Giants’ decision to do so this week does not indicate a trade of a pitcher is imminent.

Manager Bruce Bochy announced Tuesday that rookie right-hander Shaun Anderson’s next start will be pushed back and he will not take his expected turn on Thursday against the Phillies. Bochy did not give a reason for the change, but Anderson has struggled during the month of July as he’s posted a 7.71 ERA in five starts.

Bochy said he hopes to list a probable starter for Thursday’s game after the Giants’ series opener against the Phillies. The Giants have a few candidates at Triple-A who could join the roster and pitch in the finale in Philadelphia including right-hander Dereck Rodríguez and rookie left-hander Conner Menez.

The Giants are still taking calls on all of their top trade candidates including Madison Bumgarner and plan to do so up until Wednesday’s 4 p.m. EST trade deadline, but it would likely take an overwhelming offer to move Bumgarner.

Multiple reports have connected the Houston Astros to Bumgarner as the Astros are looking to beef up their rotation before right-hander Gerrit Cole hits free agency this offseason. Houston is motivated to add a starter and challenge for its second World Series title in three seasons, but it’s not clear whether the Astros could satisfy the Giants’ desires and part with top prospects in a hypothetical deal involving Bumgarner.

Because the Astros are one of eight teams on Bumgarner’s no-trade list, any deal would need the pitcher’s blessing.

When the Giants arrived at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Tuesday afternoon, Bumgarner performed his customary on-field throwing work that he does between each start. If the Giants’ rotation changes do not include any other pitcher on the current staff outside of Anderson, Bumgarner’s next expected start for the Giants is Friday at Coors Field against the Rockies.

After optioning Menez to Triple-A following his major league debut on Sunday, July 21 against the Mets, the Giants have used a four-man rotation and an eight-man bullpen. Off days on Thursday, July 25 and Monday, July 29 allowed San Francisco to keep its starters on regular rest, but at this point in the season, the organization may feel a rookie such as Anderson would benefit from taking an additional day off or two between starts.

Former starter Drew Pomeranz, who is also reportedly drawing trade interest, has pitched out of the bullpen and the Giants have been pleased with the results Pomeranz has produced in that role. If Pomeranz remains with the club past Wednesday’s trade deadline, it’s possible he could rejoin the rotation and make a spot start on Thursday.

Belt receives another day off

Bochy said he is holding first baseman Brandon Belt out of Tuesday’s lineup so he can receive another mental break.

The Giants’ coaching staff felt Belt was pressing at the plate during an 0-for-15 stretch that preceded a day off on Sunday and determined that an additional day off could help him. Bochy said Belt will return to the lineup on Wednesday against the Phillies.

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