Nunez, Cain Off Giants’ NL Wildcard Roster

NEW YORK (AP) — San Francisco third baseman Eduardo Nunez was left off the roster for Wednesday night’s NL wild-card game against the New York Mets, and the Giants opted to go with 11 pitchers.

Madison Bumgarner started for the Giants, and manager Bruce Bochy had 10 bullpen options: right-handers Santiago Casilla, Johnny Cueto, George Kontos, Derek Law, Sergio Romo, Jeff Samardzija and Hunter Strickland, and left-handers Javier Lopez, Steven Okert and Will Smith.

Cueto and Samardzija are usually starters.

“They’re both fresh,” Bochy explained. “Jeff has experience pitching out of the bullpen. I can use him anywhere. Johnny, he’s one of the best pitchers in the game and he’s fresh. It gives us another long man. … So it just gives us coverage there.”

“We just felt the pitcher was more important than a third catcher. So that’s why they’re on here,” he added.

Giants pitchers Matt Cain and Jake Peavy weren’t included on the 25-man roster.

Nunez, an AL All-Star this season with Minnesota, was acquired in a July 28 trade but hasn’t played since Sept. 25 because of a strained right hamstring. He planned to test his leg during Tuesday’s workout at Citi Field.

“He couldn’t pass the test that we were hoping he could pass. That’s running, sprinting. He’s just not ready. So there’s no point in putting him in harm’s way,” Bochy said. “We still thought maybe he could help out in some way, but it’s just too much of a risk. He’s not ready and he’s not healthy enough to play.”

Conor Gillaspie was in the starting lineup at third base.

New York went with an eight-man bullpen behind starter Noah Syndergaard: right-handers Bartolo Colon, Jeurys Familia, Robert Gsellman, Addison Reed, Hansel Robles and Fernando Salas, and left-handers Jerry Blevins and Josh Edgin. Colon, a starter, was effective in a bullpen role during the 2015 postseason and likely would start the Division Series opener at Chicago on Friday if the Mets advanced.

First baseman Lucas Duda, sidelined from May 20 to Sept. 18 by a stress fracture in his lower back, was left off the roster. He went 5 for 23 (.217) with two doubles and four RBIs after returning.

James Loney, who filled in for Duda most of the season, was in the starting lineup at first base. Loney batted .265 with nine homers and 34 RBIs in 100 games this year.

“Thought we’d play a guy that is certainly an outstanding defender for us, saved a lot of runs for us,” manager Terry Collins said.

“I talked to Lucas about it. I know he worked very, very hard to get back and get ready, but this is an awful big challenge tonight for a guy that’s just been back for 10 days. So I went with James.”

Duda hit 57 home runs from 2014-15 and could have posed a power threat off the bench. But the Mets decided against that, too.

“With their bullpen, if Lucas Duda comes up, he’s going to face a lefty. I know that,” Collins said. “So we thought it would be better to have a guy who has versatility, switch-hitter, who gives you options.”

Rookie reliever Josh Smoker also was passed over, in favor of fellow left-hander Josh Edgin.

© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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