Kyle Harrison

Harrison nearing return as Giants inch closer to full rotation

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants are getting closer to having an actual five-man rotation, although they likely won't get there until the next homestand. 

A day after Blake Snell threw 62 pitches and topped out at 97 mph in a Triple-A game, manager Bob Melvin said the lefty would make a third rehab appearance with the Sacramento River Cats before returning. Snell, who is recovering from an adductor strain, is set to start in Triple-A on Wednesday and then return to the big league rotation at the start of the following homestand when the Toronto Blue Jays come to town.

"He's not quite there yet," Melvin said of Snell's rehab.

The news is better for Kyle Harrison, who is sidelined by a right ankle sprain but is eligible to return to the active roster on July 1. Harrison threw a bullpen session on Friday and said he felt great. He'll throw one more, and barring a setback, he'll be activated and slide back into the rotation at some point on the upcoming road trip.

The Giants will have rookie Hayden Birdsong start on Tuesday in Atlanta, and Jordan Hicks would be lined up to follow him. With Harrison back, they'll have just one open spot in the rotation, which is so decimated by injuries that they're going with back-to-back bullpen games this weekend against the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Other options should become available after the MLB All-Star break. Robbie Ray is doing well in his rehab from Tommy John surgery and will pitch in Triple-A on Thursday, but he won't be ready to return until the second half of July. Alex Cobb will make a rehab appearance with the Low-A San Jose Giants on Sunday and also could be an option at some point in July.

The Giants will need to bring both Ray and Cobb off the 60-day IL. At some point they hope to do the same with Tristan Beck, who has missed the entire season after surgery to repair an arm aneurysm. Beck threw 25 fastballs off the bullpen mound on Friday and said he "feels really good," although his progress will continue to be a bit slower given the nature of his original injury. 

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