Giants haven't ruled out Moronta returning this season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
If you had to sit down 13 months ago and pick a player who would be the Giants' closer in 2020, Reyes Moronta would have been an easy choice. The hard-throwing right-hander hasn't played in a game in a year after getting hurt, but that might be changing.
Moronta had shoulder surgery last September but now is one year and one week out, and he's about to hit a huge moment in the rehab process. Moronta will pitch an inning in a simulated game at the team's alternate site in Sacramento, and the Giants haven't yet ruled out the possibility of Moronta joining them next week and potentially in the playoffs.
"I think we monitor every outing and figure out how he bounces back," manager Gabe Kapler said. "But so far his stuff has been crisp and he's been trending up. I've gotten regular reports from (farm director) Kyle Haines on his performances and they've all looked good in the bullpen. We're optimistic that if he keeps trending in the right direction he could make an impact for us at some point."
Moronta, like other rehabbing players this season, is in an unprecedented spot. He has not been able to go on the usual rehab assignment, instead throwing bullpen sessions -- he's hitting 95 mph -- in Sacramento in recent weeks. The Giants have had success with their alternate site, though. Drew Smyly simulated a rehab assignment there and came back with his best stuff of the year. Sam Coonrod went on the Injured List and came back throwing triple-digits. Kapler said he thinks the Giants have what they need in Sacramento to get Moronta ready.
Moronta had a 2.86 ERA and was averaging 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings when he suffered a gruesome injury last August 31 on the mound, falling to the ground after throwing a fastball. Moronta had his right labrum repaired 11 days later.
--- Jeff Samardzija will throw five innings in a simulated game in Sacramento on Thursday. The right-hander has been out since August 7 with right shoulder inflammation.
Assuming Kevin Gausman comes out of his throwing session without issue, he'll start this weekend against the A's, and the Giants actually feel pretty good about their rotation depth. They do have 13 games over the next 12 days, though, and it's possible Samardzija becomes an option to face the Padres in a doubleheader next weekend.
--- Aramis Garcia hoped to make it back this year, but that won't happen. Garcia has been rehabbing from hip surgery in Arizona and remains there working out and doing baseball activities. He never did make it up to the alternate site in Sacramento, but that might have very little to do with his rehab schedule.
Even with Buster Posey opting out, the Giants ended up feeling okay about their big league situation. Joey Bart is the everyday starter and Chadwick Tromp has become Johnny Cueto's personal catcher. Tyler Heineman and Chris Herrmann have been in Sacramento.