Jordan Hicks

Giants notes: What new pitcher White brings; Hicks hits milestone

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SAN FRANCISCO -- For the first three weeks after they set their Opening Day roster, the Giants made just one move involving another team. They ran out of time with Joey Bart and had to trade him to the Pittsburgh Pirates, but otherwise they weren't wheeling and dealing, or making waiver claims, or transactions that included "cash considerations," a staple over the previous five seasons.

It was a remarkably quiet period for Farhan Zaidi, usually one of MLB's busiest execs, but on Saturday he found a move that checked a lot of boxes. In Mitch White, the Giants are acquiring a local who went to Bellarmine and Santa Clara, as well as someone Zaidi knows from Los Angeles. But most importantly, they're adding an experienced arm to a bullpen that has solidified since a rough first road trip.

White, a second-round draft pick by the Dodgers in 2016, was designated for assignment by the Toronto Blue Jays after allowing six earned runs over 10 relief innings. The Giants acquired him for cash considerations, ending a very rough run in Canada. White had a 3.58 ERA in parts of three seasons with the Dodgers but was at 7.26 in 24 appearances for the Blue Jays -- albeit with a 4.10 FIP that indicates there was a lot of bad luck.

White is expected to arrive Monday and should provide a long relief option for Bob Melvin, who has had to rely on rookie relievers quite a bit over the first month.

The Giants already sent rookie Kai-Wei Teng back to Triple-A when they activated Sean Hjelle. Right-handers Landen Roupp and Nick Avila stand out as potential candidates to head back down as the Giants add White and a rehabbing Luke Jackson this week.

Another Positive Sign

Jordan Hicks walked four batters on Sunday and hit two. On the surface, it was a step backwards, but Hicks allowed just one hit, and he was able to get back on track so quickly after throwing 68 pitches in the first three innings that he made it through five for a fifth consecutive start. That brought a smile to Hicks' face after a disappointing game for the Giants, which was a grind for their new right-hander.

"I feel like I didn't really make the pitches I wanted to make until the fourth and fifth, but obviously the plus side of that is limiting the damage," he said. "Obviously not giving up a hit (in the second inning) and still giving up a run, I think that tells the story for what it was today, but at the same time you just find a way to keep us in it and getting through five was important to me. That was the most pitches to date and it was a good milestone to hit. I'll be better next time."

Hicks threw 96 pitches, which not only is a season-high, but also his most since an A-ball start in 2017. The converted reliever is eighth in the NL in innings pitched and doesn't seem to be dealing with fatigue at all as he adjusts to a new role. He needed just 10 pitches to get through the top of the order in the fifth and hit 97 mph with his 94th pitch of the day.

Waiting For Cobb

The flip side of the White addition was a bummer on paper, but not a surprise. Alex Cobb was put on the 60-day IL to clear a spot, meaning he cannot make his 2024 season debut until May 27 at the earliest.

Cobb had hip surgery in the offseason and was initially supposed to return around midseason anyway, but he was so far ahead of schedule during the spring that he even started joking about taking Logan Webb's slot on Opening Day. As he ramped up, Cobb felt soreness in his throwing elbow and then his shoulder, keeping him from making rehab appearances in the minor leagues.

The Giants want to be cautious with Cobb, who twice has had to take mini breaks during his rehab. With the way Keaton Winn is pitching in that spot, there's really no reason to rush, and Melvin said it's realistic that Cobb will be just about ready when eligible late next month.

Familiar Face

It seems that every Blake Snell start has an extra storyline. Snell's first appearance was his Giants debut, his second came against his former teammates in Tampa Bay, and his third was a matchup with fellow late-signing lefty Jordan Montgomery. Next time out, Snell will be matched up against former Giant Sean Manaea, who might have helped pave the way for the Giants to sign Snell in March.

Manaea opted out of the second year of his Giants deal and signed a two-year, $28 million deal with the New York Mets. Had Manaea been in Giants camp this spring at $12.5 million, it's difficult to imagine the front office having the motivation -- and flexibility -- to win the bidding for Snell.

Manaea has a 4.12 ERA overall, but that's mostly the result of a poor start against the Kansas City Royals. He allowed just one run in his first two Mets starts and is coming off a five-inning, two-run outing against the Dodgers.

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