Where Giants go from here after Snell lands on injured list

Where Giants go from here after Snell lands on injured list originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO — The transaction wire says Landen Roupp headed back to the minors Tuesday, but the young right-hander never actually left San Francisco. Fearing bad news with Blake Snell, the Giants kept Roupp around just in case, and on Wednesday, he returned to the roster.

Snell went on the IL with a left adductor strain a few hours before the final game against the New York Mets. The Giants didn’t reveal an exact timetable, but manager Bob Melvin said the strain in the groin area is “moderate,” which generally indicates more than just the 15 days on the IL.

The injury is the latest blow for the reigning Cy Young Award winner, who signed late after finding an unexpectedly cold free-agent market. Snell has struggled in three starts and the Giants have lost all three games.

“It was a quick buildup, but there were reasons for a quick buildup,” he said. “To lose him here for — I don’t know how long — it’s not great.”

The Giants are going with a bullpen game on Wednesday, but that won’t be the plan moving forward. This staff prefers traditional starts and Mason Black is the most obvious candidate to join the rotation.

The 24-year-old seemed poised to make the team out of camp and he has a 1.53 ERA in four Triple-A starts, with 20 strikeouts and just four walks in 17 2/3 innings. Giants people who have seen Black in person recently say he is commanding the ball well and is ready for the next step.

"It seems like every time he gives [the River Cats] five innings and does well," Melvin said. "He would definitely be one of the options."

The staff had not gone far down that road on Wednesday, because there was hope that Snell would be ready to start the series finale. He felt discomfort while throwing a bullpen session earlier in the week, and it still was there when he played catch one day later.

The injury means Snell will be out until at least May 8, and all of a sudden the Giants have a pretty stacked IL on the pitching side. Snell joins rehabbing veterans Alex Cobb (shoulder) and Robbie Ray (Tommy John surgery), and the earliest the Giants could get either of those two back is May 27, when Cobb is eligible to come off the 60-day IL.

It's a setback, but the Giants do seem well-positioned to at least soak up innings. Roupp has starting experience, although he isn't stretched out enough to slide into the rotation. Sean Hjelle and Mitch White both can give Melvin length out of the bullpen until Snell's spot comes back around next Wednesday in Boston.

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