Aurilia returns to active roster
SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants regained a potentially valuable performer for the stretch drive Friday as they recalled infifelder Rich Aurilia from his Minor League injury rehabilitation assignment and optioned first baseman-outfielder John Bowker to Triple-A Fresno.
Short-term, Aurilia can supplement the Giants’ infield depth, since Juan Uribe has been bothered by a hamstring injury. Uribe did not appear in three of San Francisco’s last four games entering Friday.
More importantly, Aurilia’s .210 batting average belies his ability to put together a solid at-bat when it matters most. He remains competent in late-inning pressure situations, when he invariably works the count, shortens his swing, doesn’t panic with two strikes and, more often than not, makes meaningful, productive contact.
Aurilia’s only hits in 17 at-bats during his rehab assignment with Fresno and Class A San Jose were two home runs.
“It was valuable for me in the sense that I got to play and get some repetitive at-bats,” said Aurilia, whose five-game stint was precipitated by an infected right big toe. “I got out of it what I wanted to get out of it.”
Aurilia acknowledged that returning to Class A for the first time since 1993 awakened memories he would have preferred to remain dormant. San Jose’s ballpark lacks a center-field batter’s eye and, many believe, adequate lighting. “It makes you appreciate how spoiled we are up here,” Aurilia said.
Bowker played only twice in his second stint of the season with the Giants, but he went out in memorable fashion by belting a monstrous triple to center in Wednesday’s victory at Houston. Don’t be surprised if Bowker rejoins the Giants in September when rosters are expanded to 40 players.
Manager Bruce Bochy said that Bowker calmly accepted his demotion. “He understood that we have a need right now [for Aurilia] to give us insurance in the infield,” Bochy said.
— Chris Haft