In the bottom of the eighth against New Hampshire this morning, Ray Black came on and promptly struck out the first batter he faced. The second batter, power hitter Rowdy Tellez, drew a walk. And that was all for Black, who was pulled due to an apparent injury. The broadcast team said that his arm looked fine (he had been touching 98) and that his legs looked alright, so they were left just as bewildered as the rest of us.
Black was drafted in 2011 by San Francisco and has missed significant time on the disabled list, including from the middle of June until the middle of September in both 2012 and 2013. Black has undergone Tommy John surgery, multiple knee injuries and labrum surgery since being drafted, per Baseball America.
This could just be a case of the Giants being cautious with an arm that can touch 103, especially when their own bullpen in San Francisco could use a boost. Black likely doesn't fit that mold for 2016, but would certainly be a late-inning option down the road.
On the year, Black has totaled 20.2 innings pitched, which is about one-fourth of his career innings total. While his strikeout numbers are tantalizing at 14.6 strikeouts per nine this season and a career mark of 17.3, his walk rate is also very concerning. Black has walked 19 batter this season in his 20.2 innings, and has a walk rate of eight per nine innings this year. His career mark is slightly lower at 6.6, but still much too high.
Ray Black has the skill set to become a fixture in the San Francisco bullpen in the future, but for that to happen he will both have to work on his control and stay healthy.