ST. LOUIS -- Jose Mijares admits he was surprised to learn earlier this week he was leaving Kansas City. But as he laughed and joked around with his new teammates in the Giants' clubhouse Wednesday afternoon, Mijares was finding himself feeling right at home with his new club.
"I'm thankful for the team, thankful for the staff, thankful for everybody," Mijares said. "It's a good team."
The 27-year-old left-handed reliever was claimed off waivers from the Royals on Monday and arrived at Busch Stadium just before game time Tuesday night. Mijares is one of handful of Giants players hailing from Venezuela, and he has played with or against many of the others.
Mijares played with Pablo Sandoval's brother, Michael, in the Twins' Minor League system and has also faced Gregor Blanco and Marco Scutaro in winter ball.
"There's a lot of connections with Latin American players here. Lots of good guys," Mijares said.
Mijares has been exceptionally good against lefties in his career, holding them to a .214 batting average. He said it's his hard-breaking slider that makes him so successful against lefties, while his sinker is reserved for right-handers.
While Mijares was projected to be a lefty specialist for San Francisco, manager Bruce Bochy said Mijares will face righties as well.
"He may stay out there if we need the work," Bochy said.
Giants using matchups for late-inning relief
ST. LOUIS -- Prior to Tuesday night's win in St. Louis, Giants manager Bruce Bochy and pitching coach Dave Righetti sat down with their relievers to let them know what the plan would be until further notice.
Bochy informed the bullpen it'd be working with a "bullpen by committee" strategy, meaning that Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez will pitch the last two innings of games based on different matchups particular lineups present.
"They said, 'Look, this is what we have to do. We believe in you guys. We believe that we do a bullpen-by-committee scenario, we understand the situations that can take place. But we have a lot of faith that this bullpen can do it,'" Affeldt said after throwing the final 1 1/3 innings of Tuesday's game. "I think when you're addressed like that, you know your manager and your pitching coach both see the situation, and basically you're trying to back them up."
Clay Hensley got one out in the seventh, and Romo two in the eighth before Affeldt closed out the game for his third save of the year. Santiago Casilla, who is still battling blisters, warmed up in the sixth.
Bochy said Casilla, who has blown five of his last 10 save opportunities, will usually be called on to throw the sixth or seventh.
While most relievers may be used to having clear and defined roles, Affeldt said the Giants' bullpen is buying into the matchup-driven approach.
"When they defined it the way they did, we understand that there's certain game situations if there's switch-hitters, righties, lefties, different guys that are going to do different things," Affeldt said. "I think we all felt more comfortable being told what the situation was, and I think that gives us all mental peace."
Melky focused on baseball, not next contract
ST. LOUIS -- While rumors swirled Wednesday that Melky Cabrera and the Giants have chosen to discontinue negotiations for a long-term contract extension until after the season, Cabrera dispelled the reports prior to Wednesday's game in St. Louis.
Cabrera, who is eligible for free agency after this season, said he hasn't heard of anything from the club regarding his contract. He added that he is enjoying his time with the Giants and would like to stay with the team after this season.
"I'm just concentrated on playing baseball," Cabrera said with teammate Sergio Romo translating. "Just concentrating on helping the team win. I haven't heard any of that."
The 27-year-old Cabrera leads the Majors with 152 hits, and his .353 batting average is second in baseball only to Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen. The 2012 All-Star Game MVP also leads the National League with 78 runs scored.
"The [coaching staff] treats me well, and I'd love to stay here," Cabrera said. "I'm focused on winning ballgames here."
Pablo Sandoval ran the bases before Wednesday's game. Bochy said Sandoval ran well and felt good, and Sandoval would talk with team athletic trainers after pregame warmups to decide on the next step in his recovery from a strained left hamstring.
Sandoval is eligible to come off the disabled list Thursday.
Marco Scutaro batted second for the second consecutive game Wednesday and moved back to third base after playing second and going 2-for-5 out of the two-hole Tuesday. Ryan Theriot, who was given the day off Tuesday after batting .174 in his previous 11 games, hit seventh and played second.
Five years ago Wednesday, Bochy posted his 1,000th managerial win with a 5-0 victory over the Nationals.
Mike Still is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.