SF Giants nearing decision on young starting pitcher

2024 San Francisco Giants Spring Training
2024 San Francisco Giants Spring Training / Andy Kuno/San Francisco Giants/GettyImages

The SF Giants will have a decision to make soon on Sean Hjelle. The right-handed hurler is on a rehab assignment with the Sacramento River Cats after sustaining an elbow sprain in spring training.

SF Giants nearing decision on young starting pitcher

Hjelle's injury came at an inopportune time. At the time, Tristan Beck was shut down after undergoing successful surgery to repair an aneurysm in his right arm. Starting pitching depth was quickly growing thin and this was before the Blake Snell signing.

The Beck injury seemingly paved the way for Hjelle to take hold of a rotation spot. Unfortunately, he was sidelined with the elbow injury shortly after Beck's surgery.

Since then, the 6-foot-11 pitcher has been working his way back. He started the season on a rehab assignment with the San Jose Giants. In one outing, he yielded one earned run with one strikeout against one walk in 1.1 frames. The results are not nearly as important as Hjelle being able to rebuild arm strength to handle a starter's workload.

Earlier this week, the Giants moved Hjelle back to Sacramento to continue his rehab assignment. He has tallied three scoreless innings with the River Cats. Pitchers can be on rehab assignments for up to 30 days. Hjelle's assignment officially began on April 5, meaning that his rehab assignment can run through the beginning of May. That is unlikely.

The Giants have no reason to drag it out for that long. They will likely option him to Triple-A, but they still need to make an official move.

The righty pitcher was originally drafted in the second round of the 2018 draft. He generally posted solid numbers in the lower minors, but he has struggled to the tune of a 5.49 ERA in parts of four seasons in Sacramento. Pitching in the Pacific Coast League is a tough task, but his numbers have not been much better in the majors.

Since debuting in the majors in 2022, Hjelle has posted a 6.17 ERA in 23 outings. He has not received a consistent look yet, but the Giants are using him more as an injury replacement rather than a player who has a long-term role with the club.