HomeMLB RumorsGiants Notes: Cobb, Hjelle, Black

Giants Notes: Cobb, Hjelle, Black

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The Giants have made a pair of key late-offseason additions to the offense, adding Jorge Soler and Matt Chapman since the opening of Spring Training. They join new center fielder Jung Hoo Lee in an overhauled lineup, leaving the starting rotation as the glaring question.

San Francisco has been frequently tied to top remaining starter Blake Snell, in part because of injuries to some of their in-house options. Robbie RayAlex CobbTristan Beck and Sean Hjelle are all likely to begin the season on the injured list. However, Cobb appears slightly ahead of schedule as he works back from last year’s hip labrum repair.

The veteran righty got through a 25-pitch bullpen session yesterday and will throw live batting practice early next week. Manager Bob Melvin told reporters that while the team will be cautious not to push Cobb too quickly, they’ve “probably sped (the timeline) up a little bit” based on his progress (via MLB.com). The team announced a six-month recovery timetable for Cobb to log game action of any kind when he underwent surgery on Halloween.

It now looks as if he could be on track for a minor league rehab assignment earlier than that. To this point, the Giants have kept him off the 60-day injured list — a move that would prevent him from pitching at the MLB level before May 27.

The Giants also provided an encouraging update on Hjelle, who was diagnosed with an elbow sprain earlier in the week. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that he’s on track to begin a throwing program in one week after receiving a second opinion. The team had announced on Tuesday that Hjelle would be down for two weeks before going for reevaluation. The injury almost certainly still rules him out of the season-opening rotation mix, but it’s a positive development that his complete shutdown won’t last too long.

San Francisco has three locks for the Opening Day rotation: Logan WebbKyle Harrison and Jordan Hicks. Righty Keaton Winn is the frontrunner for the #4 job. He was delayed early in camp with what seems to be minor elbow soreness and is still expected to be ready for Opening Day. Unless the Giants dip into free agency for someone like Snell, Jordan Montgomery or Michael Lorenzen, the fifth spot will be up for grabs.

Andrew Baggarly of the Athletic tweets that former third-round pick Mason Black “appears poised” to take a season-opening rotation job. The Lehigh product was scheduled for his third start of Spring Training this evening, but the game was rained out. He has logged five innings over his first two appearances, allowing three runs on six hits with three strikeouts.

Black, a 24-year-old righty, is not on the 40-man roster and has yet to make his MLB debut. He split last season almost evenly between the two highest levels of the minors. Black combined for a strong 3.71 ERA while striking out an excellent 30.3% of opposing hitters across 123 2/3 innings. He issued a few too many walks in a very hitter-friendly environment in Triple-A but hasn’t handed out a free pass yet this spring. Baseball America recently ranked him the #8 prospect in the organization, crediting him with a plus sinker/slider combination and fine if unexceptional control.

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