SF Giants’ Ross Stripling airs grievances over usage, communication: ‘I’m just in limbo’

A frank and frustrated Ross Stripling opened up about the frustrations of this season and his current situation

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — When the Giants placed Ross Stripling on the injured list in mid-August to heal his nagging back, he said the plan was “to take 15 days on this to be ready for September 1 and get it right for the home stretch.”

The home stretch has arrived. Stripling stated unequivocally that he is in good health. And it’s been over a week since he was eligible for activation.

Stripling is also perplexed by the situation.

“I’m just in limbo,” he said to the Bay Area News Group before Saturday’s game. “I’m frustrated with the situation because I want to help a team that is fighting for a playoff spot win baseball games.” I’ve pitched a lot of crucial September innings for playoff teams and teams vying for playoff spots, and I know what it takes to get outs at this point in the season, and I’m just watching from the sidelines.”

“We actually have a pretty good plan in place,” manager Gabe Kapler said, “to have him back on the roster sooner rather than later.” Stripling, on the other hand, claimed he was told three times in the last week that his activation was imminent.

Stripling drove to Sacramento last Friday, where he was scheduled to pitch three to four innings in a rehab start at Triple-A. He only threw one pitch and was off to San Diego the next day to meet the team in case Alex Cobb, whose hip was bothering him, wasn’t ready to go.

“I got a call from (pitching coach Andrew Bailey), Kap, and (trainer Dave Groeschner) as I was walking outside (the stadium in Sacramento).” ‘Cobb’s pretty beat up,’ they just said. “We think it’s best if you don’t throw today and instead come to San Diego,” Stripling explained. “I said, ‘I drove two hours to come here, can I throw an inning?'”

Stripling traveled with the team to Chicago, where he stated that “the plan was to get activated.”

“When I get to Chicago, it’s like, ‘Hey Strip, we’re not going to activate you here,'” Stripling explained. He pitched a 45-pitch live session at Wrigley Field, “with no clarity really after that.” And I showed up here yesterday with the expectation of being activated. I didn’t hear anything from anyone… I then went in search of information, finding Farhan, Kapler, and Bails and asking them, ‘What’s the plan here?'”

He claimed that they told him that there was no room for him. The 29th player on a roster of 28.

Keaton Winn, who pitched five scoreless innings behind Cobb in San Diego, will take the mound on Sunday. While nothing has been finalized, Stripling believes he will be activated this weekend rather than throwing another rehab outing.

The maximum length of a pitcher’s rehab assignment under MLB’s collective bargaining agreement is 30 days. That means Stripling, who pitched one inning against Sacramento on Sept. 1, is not required to be activated until the final day of the season.

Stripling used the phrase “phantom IL,” but added, “nobody’s ever said that to me.”

“They may object to the use of that term.” “It’s in the middle, right?” he asked. “It’s just bad timing that I’m healthy, and Farhan likes the roster he has.” And here I am, healthy but with nowhere to go.”

Stripling’s season has not gone as planned after signing a two-year, $25 million free-agent contract this winter. The team is.500 and hanging on to its playoff hopes by a thread, while Stripling is on pace to have his worst statistical season in his career. These factors undoubtedly contributed to Stripling’s frustration and, according to club sources, dissatisfaction from other pitchers unhappy with their roles and communication.

Despite this, Kapler’s use of his pitching staff has been effective. While not quite as successful as they were in their first 20 bullpen games, they have an 18-13 record with a 3.63 team ERA in games started by Ryan Walker, Scott Alexander, John Brebbia, and Jakob Junis.

Stripling has a 5.29 ERA after allowing 20 home runs in 781/3 innings pitched. Sean Manaea, who had made three career relief appearances before signing an identical contract this offseason, has a 5.00 ERA, which is also his career high, with 27 of his 33 appearances coming out of the bullpen. Alex Wood, a regular member of the rotation in 2021 and 2022, had pitched nine straight games in relief when he learned the night before that he would start the series finale against the Cubs on Wednesday. He has a 4.77 ERA, which is slightly better than his 5.10 ERA last year, which was the highest of his career in a full season.

“I think there was a world where we thought we had five really good starters and a sixth on deck for when we needed it,” Stripling said. “And, really, we’ve been running with two starters all year.” Guys have bought into it and recognized that it has been a successful strategy. I just don’t think it’s what any of us expected.”

Stripling said one of the biggest draws for Zaidi when he was introduced during the offseason was his promise to start games. He was looking for stability after bouncing between relief and starting roles, largely with success (a 3.78 career ERA prior to this season).

Stripling arrived at spring training “really confident” and expecting a regular starting spot after posting a 3.01 ERA in 32 games (24 starts) for Toronto in 2022. In retrospect, he said, the back injury he sustained during an offseason workout never fully healed and plagued him throughout the season. He was shelled in his debut at Yankee Stadium and was demoted to the bullpen by the second week of the season.

Stripling, however, believed he had reclaimed a spot in the rotation prior to his current stint on the IL. He had a 3.91 ERA in his previous ten games, six of which he started, and he’d like to remind you that “I haven’t walked anybody since (expletive) June or something.” (There have been 42 consecutive innings since July 2.)

“I thought I’d do better,” he admitted. “Because of the way that spring went, I didn’t get to the level of sharpness that I needed to get to in order to get big league hitters out, and I only got one chance to start at Yankee Stadium right at the start of the year.” A lot of guys were on a carousel after that. of role and circumstance.”

His contract, like Manaea’s, includes an option to opt out after this season. Both have $12.5 million in player options for 2024.

Stripling was not ready to discuss how the current situation affects his thinking about the offseason with 21 games remaining. He wishes to pitch.

“It certainly instills the idea that you need to have continued success, or else you’re not sure what’s next for you,” he said of the Giants’ pitching philosophy. “It’s not easy being the odd man out.”

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