John Brebbia

Giants' bullpen loses trusted opener as Brebbia hits IL

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LOS ANGELES -- As John Brebbia settled into the Giants clubhouse Sunday morning, pitching coach Andrew Bailey approached and asked the veteran right-hander if he would be helping out as a bullpen coach now that he's on the injured list. Brebbia considered what a role in coaching might entail.

"It's going to be a whirlwind of a game when I actually run around and do some coaching. I might ruin it for everyone. We'll see how it goes," Brebbia said. "If you hear yelling from the dugout, it's because I took it too far."

The Giants aren't sure yet how long Brebbia might be focusing on tasks other than getting big league hitters out. He felt something in his lat while facing Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman on Friday, and an MRI the next day revealed a Grade 2 strain. Brebbia will meet with team orthopedist Dr. Ken Akizuki in San Francisco to get a more detailed plan, but for now he expects to be resting for at least a week or two before the Giants even think about next steps. 

Asked how the bullpen will fare without its trusted opener, Brebbia cracked that things will be better, but the Giants certainly will miss him for however long he's out. 

Brebbia has a 3.14 ERA and 2.71 FIP overall this season. As an opener, primarily for Sean Manaea, he has allowed just one run over nine innings in eight starts. It's not an easy role, but he has taken to it easily and had fun with it.

"Missing starts hurts," he deadpanned. "I wanted to get to 200 innings this year."

Manager Gabe Kapler wouldn't reveal any future plans, but that slot in the rotation comes up during the upcoming series against the San Diego Padres. Kapler said he has plenty of options to open for Manaea if the Giants still want to go that way, a list that includes Luke Jackson and Ryan Walker. If the Giants want to go more traditional, Tristan Beck, Jakob Junis and potentially Keaton Winn can provide length.  

Brebbia has requested that anyone who takes on the role at home uses his walk-up song, Kid Quill's "The Opener," which includes the lyrics, "I'm just the opener. No one came to see me." It's unclear when he'll be able to use it again, but he said he'll push to get back as soon as possible. 

In the meantime, the bullpen is now well equipped to overcome the loss of a key piece. Since the start of May, it has been the best bullpen in baseball, and Brebbia said he's excited to see more of Beck, Walker and others.

"I could have sworn I saw Kap give a quick fist pump. 'Oh, Brebbia's out? Yes.'" he joked. "That could be wrong, I don't know."


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