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 SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -Russ Ortiz came off the disabled list Monday and assumed a new role for the San Francisco Giants: as a reliever.
Ortiz, the right-hander who began the season as the team's fifth starter, returned after being sidelined since May 2 with an irritated nerve in his pitching elbow. Hard-throwing rookie Tim Lincecum took his spot in the rotation and has done plenty to keep his job.
Manager Bruce Bochy plans to use Ortiz in a variety of roles in the bullpen.
``It will be an adjustment,'' Bochy said. ``We'll see how he bounces back.''
The Giants optioned left-hander Jonathan Sanchez to Triple-A Fresno so he can get more work. While the team initially said it was grooming Sanchez as a starter, he has worked only in relief this season and San Francisco plans to keep it that way through 2007.
Sanchez went 1-1 with a 5.52 ERA in 14 appearances totaling 14 2-3 innings this season. The Giants want him to pitch a couple of innings every two to three days, hoping he will improve by pitching on a consistent basis.
``He just needs work,'' Bochy said. ``This kid is going to have a nice major league career. I think it's the best thing for Sanchy and he'll benefit from it. I think he's lost command of his off-speed pitches. He's got great stuff. This kid is going to get back up here and probably won't see the minor leagues again. That's how good this kid is.''
Ortiz earned another chance to be a starter after an awful 2006 when he signed on for a second stint with the Giants in January.
He had many ups and downs since leaving the Giants after the 2002 season, when he walked off the mound eight outs away from a World Series title only to see the bullpen blow a five-run lead in Game 6 and the wild-card Angels go on to win the seventh game, too.
He was traded to Atlanta in December 2002, followed by 36 wins and a pair of division titles in two seasons. After parlaying that into a $33 million, four-year contract with Arizona, little went right.
He went 5-11 in his first season with the Diamondbacks before everything fell apart last year in an 0-8 campaign, a release from Arizona and recommendations that he should call it a career.
He was winless in 26 outings, including 11 starts, overall last year for the Diamondbacks and Baltimore Orioles, who dropped him out of their rotation in July.
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