SAN DIEGO -- The Giants have changed Sunday's starter to "TBA." While manager Bruce Bochy hasn't ruled out Johnny Cueto, he sure doesn't sound like a guy eager to push Cueto, either.
Bochy said Cueto is feeling better today and he'll likely play catch tomorrow to test his strained left groin. But there's a balancing act here for the Giants. They need him down the stretch, but they also don't want to push Cueto too hard and risk losing him for the postseason. "It's risk versus reward," Bochy said.
"They most important aspect of the whole thing is just don't hurt him," Bochy said. "I don't want to do that to Johnny and put him under pressure where he thinks he's got to go out there when he's not ready."
Cueto wasn't available to reporters Thursday, but team employees who spoke to him said he was in good spirits. He sent out an Instagram photo from bed, so clearly he's feeling like himself.
--- Brandon Crawford feels much better two days after dislocating a finger. He is playing catch to keep his arm in shape, but it doesn't sound like he'll be ready Friday.
With Crawford out, Bochy stuck with Joe Panik against left-hander Christian Friedrich. Panik is hitless in his last 23 at-bats, but Bochy liked the swings he took Wednesday. Panik was the one robbed by Yasiel Puig in deep right field.
--- The Giants won't face Paul Clemens or Luis Perdomo this weekend, but they'll see Edwin Jackson and Clayton Richard, two veteran pitchers who have given them an inordinate amount of trouble this season. They're also seeing a bunch of kids. Manuel Margo, Hunter Renfroe and Austin Hedges were among the rookies in Thursday's lineup.
Bochy talked to Jose Alguacil, the Triple-A manager, to get a scouting report on some of the call-ups. He noted that the Giants can't overlook the kids. They're fighting for 2017 jobs, and most of them are riding high after winning the Pacific Coast League championship.