SF Giants activate leverage reliever, option Bryce Johnson to Triple-A

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers / Orlando Ramirez/GettyImages

Prior to Tuesday's game, the SF Giants activated veteran reliever Scott Alexander from the injured list. He had been on the injured list since the middle of June after sustaining a hamstring strain. Speedy outfielder Bryce Johnson was optioned back to Triple-A in a corresponding move according to the team's transaction log.

SF Giants activate leverage reliever, option Bryce Johnson to Triple-A

The Giants bullpen has quietly been a strength lately as it has posted a 3.86 ERA in 2023, which ranks as the 11th-best mark in baseball. Since May 1, it has been even better than that with a 2.93 ERA. Only the New York Yankees have tallied a better bullpen ERA (2.77 ERA) during that time.

The return of Alexander gives Giants manager Gabe Kapler another left-handed reliever in high-leverage spots. In Alexander's absence, Taylor Rogers had been the only late-inning bullpen arm from the left side.

On a related note, Rogers has had a very nice first half of the year with the Giants. The 32-year-old reliever got off to a disastrous start, but he has been excellent since then. Overall, Rogers has posted a 2.86 ERA in 28.1 innings.

Similar to Rogers, Alexander got off to a slow start but his numbers had been steadily improving as the season progressed. Alexander has posted a 3.52 ERA, 3.69 FIP, 0.95 WHIP, 4.3 K/9, and a 2.20 SO/W ratio in 27 appearances for the Giants this year. This includes an excellent 63.9 percent ground ball rate.

June had been a weird month for Alexander. The lefty reliever pitched a scoreless outing on June 8 against the Colorado Rockies and did not pitch against until June 18 when he sustained the hamstring strain against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants hope that the stint on the injured list gave his hamstring time to heal.

Alexander is taking Bryce Johnson's place on the roster. The switch-hitting outfielder has posted a .485 OPS in 48 plate appearances for the Giants while serving primarily as a defensive replacement or a pinch runner.

This will be Johnson's third time being optioned in 2023. Teams are allowed to option players five times within a season before they have to be exposed to waivers. Given that we are just over the halfway point, the Giants may need to pivot to another option in the second half.