SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants reliever Santiago Casilla told reporters before Wednesday's game that he feels good and that he expects to be able to come off the disabled list Thursday when the club visits the Padres.
Casilla, who has not pitched for San Francisco since May 20 due to surgery that removed a cyst from his right knee, has pitched in five rehab appearances with Class A San Jose. Casilla pitched on back-to-back days Sunday and Monday in San Jose, which represented the last hurdle for him to jump before rejoining the Giants.
"We'll talk about [Casilla's status] after the game, but we think he'll be ready to go," said manager Bruce Bochy, who added that Casilla will likely fly with the team to San Diego after Wednesday's game.
Casilla's presence has been greatly missed in the back end of the San Francisco bullpen. The Giants have struggled to find a right-handed setup man to complement Jeremy Affeldt's ability to get left-handers out. Affeldt has assumed much of Casilla's eighth-inning work and has struggled in recent weeks. On Tuesday, he walked two batters and surrendered three runs in one-third of an inning. He has recorded more walks and hit batsmen (20) than strikeouts (19) in 2013.
"We're giving up more runs than we're scoring right now and I'm a big part of it," Affeldt said after Tuesday's loss. "It stinks, to be honest. I really stink."
Casilla owns a 1.89 ERA in 21 outings this season.
Giants option reliever Kickham to Triple-A Fresno
SAN FRANCISCO -- Following the Giants' 7-2 loss to the Mets on Wednesday, the club optioned left-hander Mike Kickham to Triple-A Fresno. No corresponding move was announced.
Kickham pitched 5 1/3 innings of long relief after starter Matt Cain went just two-thirds of an inning in the shortest outing of his career. Kickham allowed four runs on five hits while walking three and striking out six.
"I've been making small adjustments and I think that's helped," Kickham said. "I'm just trying to keep building and learn as much as I can and take something from all of my appearances."
Kickham acknowledged that the changeup Marlon Byrd slugged for a home run shows that there is "still a lot of work to be done."
Manager Bruce Bochy complimented Kickham on saving the bullpen from being taxed too much this week.
"He threw real well [Wednesday] and got some pitches up in the last couple innings," Bochy said. "He's getting better and better and is using all his pitches well."
Bochy getting first look at former prospect Wheeler
SAN FRANCISCO -- Wednesday not only gave Giants fans their first glimpse at what the club's former first-round selection Zack Wheeler could have done at AT&T Park, but it also marked the first time Giants manager Bruce Bochy would see the rookie in action.
Wheeler, whom the Giants dealt for Carlos Beltran in 2011, is ranked as the sixth-best prospect in baseball by MLB.com.
"I haven't seen him pitch yet," Bochy said before the game. "I've seen video. He was in A-ball when that trade was made so I haven't seen him."
Wheeler entered the game with a 2-1 record and 4.29 ERA in four starts with the Mets this season.
"He's got a power arm," Bochy said. "It's a real good, live arm. A lot of life in it. It's one of the fastballs that looks like it has another gear on its way to home."
'Tributes for Heroes' winners set for ASG
SAN FRANCISCO -- Major League Baseball and PEOPLE magazine on Wednesday announced the 30 winners of the "Tribute for Heroes" campaign, a national initiative that recognizes veterans and military service members and which builds upon both organizations' commitment to honoring our country's heroes.
All of the winners, including Gil Calac, the Giants' representative from White Swan, Wash., will be included in All-Star Week festivities (private tour of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, a VIP reception on the Intrepid, All-Star Red Carpet Show Presented by Chevrolet, Chevrolet Home Run Derby) and will attend and be honored during the pregame ceremony leading up to the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field, which airs Tuesday on FOX beginning at 4:30 pm PT.
Inspiring stories include heroes from multiple branches of the Armed Forces ranging in ages from 26 to 92 years old (World War II through Afghanistan) .
Along with MLB and PEOPLE, a guest panel including Giants starter Barry Zito assisted in the selection process for the 90 finalists, who were then voted on by fans to select the 30 winners.
The "Tribute For Heroes" campaign supports Welcome Back Veterans, an initiative of Major League Baseball and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, which addresses the needs of veterans after they return from service. Major League Baseball has committed more than $23 million for grants to hospitals and clinics that provide post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) treatment to veterans and their families in a public/private partnership with "Centers of Excellence" at university hospitals throughout the country.
The list of "Tribute For Heroes" winners and their full stories can be found at TributeForHeroes.com.
• Marlon Byrd's grand slam in the eighth inning Tuesday marked just the sixth the Giants have allowed at AT&T Park since it opened in 2000. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, every other Major League team has allowed at least 17 grand slams at home during that span.
• Beginning with their series in Toronto on May 14, the Giants are 17-34 in their last 51 games, which gives them the lowest winning percentage in baseball during that time.