SF Giants roster moves: Pill, Ramirez sent down; Dunning, Sanchez called up

The San Francisco Giants have designated first baseman Brett Pill and relief pitcher Ramon Ramirez for assignment, according to Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News. They were sent down to make room for relief pitcher Jake Dunning and returning catcher Hector Sanchez. Neither player is expected to arrive by game time Thursday, as they are scheduled to land just 3o minutes before the first pitch.

Dunning’s first appearance will be his major-league debut, having been drafted by the Giants in the 33rd round in 2009. He was a shortstop at Indiana, having converted to relief pitching in his second season in the minors. Through 36 innings across 23 relief appearances in Triple-A Fresno this season, the Georgia native has posted a 1.75 ERA.

Sanchez returns to the team for the first time since May 1st, when he was designated for assignment to get more regular reps behind the plate. Sanchez’s promotion relieves a thin bench that has been ravaged by injuries to Pablo Sandoval, Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro. The young catcher is a switch-hitter and can be a weapon as a pinch-hitter, while retaining the ability to double-switch into games behind the plate. He also allows Bochy a little more room in giving Posey an off-day, not having to rely so heavily on Guillermo Quiroz to stay healthy or productive.

Pill had been to the plate just 29 times since being called up on May 15th, a testament to Brandon Belt’s season against right- and left-handed pitching. Belt’s season line of .251/.323/.422 has been bolstered by a .333/.375/.489 line against lefties. His career split of .283/.347/.475 against southpaws has me thinking that hitting left-handed pitching is a skill of Belt’s rather than something that he needs to be shied away from. Sorry, @PillzRgood.

Ramirez, on his second tenure with the Giants, has displayed the problems he showed in New York that led to his release. After four seasons as one of the most reliable right-handed relievers in baseball, Ramirez posted a 4.24 ERA with the Mets in 2012. His 5.2 innings for the Giants this season have been disastrous, yielding seven runs and while walking five batters and striking out none.

The fresh blood will try to stop the bleeding on the Giants’ current six-game road trip, where they have dropped to first to game. San Francisco is 12-20 on the road this season.

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