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Chris Heston's Triple-A Breather Is A Bit Of A Puzzle

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Matt Cain's fiesta de meatball last night is rightly the buzz this morning, but I want to rewind a couple days more, back to Sunday, to discuss something I don't quite understand, especially with the pitching rotation in shambles and getting shamblier with each passing day.

Ryan Vogelsong did not pitch well Sunday. Vogey struggled out of the gate in Pittsburgh and failed to finish four innings. But in his previous two starts, he had pitched well, if not as deep into games as the Giants would like to see: 11 innings, one run.

So the decision to send Chris Heston to Triple A on Friday, and let Vogey keep the rotation spot for now, made sense, especially with Heston looking a little gassed the past month.

Here's the problem. Or, better to say, here's a potential problem, courtesy of the Merc's Carl Steward:

Manager Bruce Bochy said the pitcher needs a break to rejuvenate himself and that he'll be back Sept. 1 when rosters expand.
Anyone notice something wrong? Right. Players called up Sept. 1 for the roster expansion are not eligible for the playoffs. However, there are loopholes, often connected to disabled list machinations, and some are big enough to drive Yasiel Puig's ego through.

I've read the rules, and I'm still not sure if the Giants could exploit one of those loopholes to make Heston eligible for the playoffs. (I think he would only need to be named as a replacement for someone on the DL, but I'm not sure.) No doubt they've thought about it plenty, and they're thinking one of three things:

1) If the Giants reach the division series, they will go with a three-man rotation of Bumgarner, Peavy, and Leake. That's not terrible, but it means Bumgarner would pitch in game 4, presumably on short rest, no matter what. Perhaps in that situation -- up two games to one, a series win just a Mad Bum gem away, or down 2-1, facing elimination -- the Giants would go with Bum anyway, Heston or no Heston. But no Heston -- or anyone else who can start a fourth game -- would leave Bochy no choice.

2) The Giants will recall Heston on August 31 and this will be moot.

3) The Giants know something we don't, like Heston is actually done for the year with a hush-hush injury. Perhaps they're quietly counting on Tim Hudson to come back strong and be a fourth-starter option. Or perhaps Tim Lincecum has been fitted with cyborgian hip replacements, and upon waking from the surgery, he said this:

Just something to think about. Then again, if the Giants can't get more quality innings out of their rotation between now and September 30, all this playoff talk will fade quickly.

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