Michael Conforto

Giants notes: Help on the way as injured veterans rehab in Triple-A

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The Yankees had six former All-Stars in their lineup on Saturday night. The Giants countered with one that featured five players who were in Triple-A earlier this season, but help should soon be on the way. 

Austin Slater, Nick Ahmed and Michael Conforto hit in the top three spots in the lineup for Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday as part of rehab assignments. Slater had a pair of hits and Conforto drew a walk, while Ahmed was 0-for-3 in his first game action since May 9.

Conforto appears to be the closest to returning, and manager Bob Melvin said Saturday that the plan all along was for him to play two games and then come back to San Francisco to be evaluated. Barring a setback, it seems likely the Giants will try and get him back in the lineup on Monday in Arizona. 

The Giants will have to find a way to keep Heliot Ramos on the field when Conforto returns, but that doesn't look all that difficult at the moment. Luis Matos has cooled off, and on Saturday an off day was given to struggling DH Jorge Soler, who took early BP with the hitting coaches.

It also shouldn't be too difficult to slide Ahmed back in when he's fully recovered from a wrist sprain. Marco Luciano went on the IL on Friday with a hamstring strain and Ahmed will be physically ready before the 22-year-old, who did a nice job at the plate but struggled defensively. The Giants figure to go with some combination of Ahmed and Brett Wisely at short when they're back to full strength. 

Wisely started at second base on Saturday because Thairo Estrada has a sore thumb. He is 11-for-31 with seven RBI and Melvin said the quality of his at-bats has "been fantastic."

"For him it's all about swinging at strikes," Melvin said. "Sometimes when you get to the big leagues you want to do a little bit too much. That hasn't really been the case for him. He's swung the bat really well wherever we put him in the lineup, he's had to play a position (shortstop) that he's maybe completely familiar with. Offensively, he's been great all the way around."

Slater was the first to start a rehab assignment but it's possible he gets more at-bats than the others as he works his way back from a concussion. Slater had just 39 at-bats before crashing into the center field wall and Melvin said earlier this week that the Giants want him to find his groove at the plate before returning. Slater is 3-for-13 with the River Cats so far. 

Tall Task

After hitting two homers earlier in the game Friday, Aaron Judge flew out to right against Sean Hjelle in the eighth. It was the second matchup between the 6-foot-11 Hjelle and the 6-foot-7 Judge, but they actually don't crack MLB's top three in terms of matchups you'd expect to find on a basketball court. 

Randy Johnson (6-foot-10) and Daniel Cabrera (6-foot-9) hold the unofficial record for a batter-pitcher matchup with the most combined height. John Rauch (6-foot-11) vs. Richie Sexson (6-foot-8) and Mark Hendrickson (6-foot-9) vs. Chris Young (6-foot-10) round out the top three. Hjelle also faced 6-foot-7 Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Oneil Cruz this year, although he'll need to wait for a tall prospect to reach MLB to try and break the record. There aren't any current hitters listed as being taller than Judge or Oneil. 

Surgery Scheduled

Jung Hoo Lee finally will have surgery on his dislocated left shoulder next Tuesday in Los Angeles, with Dr. Neal ElAttrache doing the procedure. Lee is expected to make a full recovery by the start of next spring. 

Melvin said Lee will remain around the team and rehab in San Francisco. The 25-year-old finished his rookie year with a .641 OPS and two homers in 37 appearances. 

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