SAN FRANCISCO -- About three-and-a-half hours before Monday's first pitch, Madison Bumgarner, Tyler Beede and Jeff Samardzija played catch along the left field line. Shaun Anderson, the night's starter, got ready in the clubhouse.
For now, that's the rotation. Conner Menez, the fifth member as of Sunday, was optioned back to Triple-A Sacramento to clear a roster spot for reliever Sam Coonrod.
That's going to be life for the Giants moving forward as they look to gain increased flexibility with the roster. Anderson, Beede and Menez all have minor league options, along with Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez, who also are potential big league starters.
In the past, the Giants have generally had veteran-filled rotations that weren't very nimble, but with two off days coming up, the staff opted for bullpen depth over a fifth starter.
"We still needed some help in the 'pen," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "(Menez) threw a very nice ballgame, but we still need some help in the 'pen. We've been using those guys a lot."
The Giants played four games in three days at Coors Field last week and then three extra-innings games against the Mets. During that stretch, Suarez, Williams Jerez and Ty Blach all came up and then went back down after helping out the bullpen. Beede and Menez have both been optioned back to the minors after starts this month.
That's what you can do with increased flexibility, and Coonrod can be optioned, too. Bochy indicated it will be this way through the trade deadline. The Giants don't need a fifth starter until the first weekend of August.