Baggs' Instant Replay: Padres 6, Giants 4


Baggs' Instant Replay: Padres 6, Giants 4

SAN FRANCISCO In a franchise first, the Giants combined fan appreciation day with a spring training split-squad Sunday afternoon.OK, so there werent any mist fans at AT&T Park and the Salty Pavilion didnt replace Levis Landing. But one day after the Giants clinched the NL West, their reserve-laden lineup had the feel of an afternoon at Scottsdale Stadium.Giants manager Bruce Bochy apologized in advance for sitting all of his regulars except outfielder Gregor Blanco, saying he couldnt pass up a chance to rest his grinders barely a dozen hours after they clinched the division. He said Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro, especially, could use the 48-hour break that they would receive when combined with Mondays day off.The B squad offered mixed results in a 6-4 loss to the San Diego Padres.Francisco Peguero had a game he wont forget, collecting the first two hits of his major league career and stealing a pair of bases. Justin Christian might have had an impulse to ask for the baseball, too, after hitting a pinch single to snap an 0-for-25 streak that began in July.Bochy emptied his bench in the late innings and brought pinch hitter Buster Posey to the plate with the chance to hit a walk-off grand slam. But Posey hit an RBI ground out and Ryan Theriot lined out with the tying runs at the corners to end it.Starting pitching reportYusmeiro Petit subbed for Tim Lincecum and threw 94 pitches over 4 23 innings. He wasnt particularly sharp, giving up seven hits and walking four. But hey, its better than anything the Rockies are getting these days.Bullpen reportDont sleep on Dan Runzler. He has smoothed out his delivery and located an easy, 94 mph fastball while inducing a double-play grounder in the seventh inning.Clay Hensley had another rough outing, though. He retired just one of the five batters he faced and gave up a tiebreaking, two-run single to Yonder Alonso in the seventh inning. Thats not a great way to start your unofficial audition for the playoff roster.Brad Penny gave up a pinch home run to Mark Kotsay, leading thousands to wonder if an old timers game broke out spontaneously.At the plateXavier Nady collected two hits, made two hard outs and his double scored Ryan Theriot in the fourth inning.But Peguero had the most memorable afternoon at the plate. He wore a priceless, embarrassed smile while standing on first base as he received a standing ovation for beating out a dribbler to shortstop. For varietys sake on the spray charts, Peguero later lined a single to left field.Eli Whiteside hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning that gave the Giants a momentary lead.Bochy emptied his bench in the late innings and received another booming hit from Aubrey Huff, who is making one heck of a statement in September. He singled off the right field bricks, improving to 5 for 9 with two walks and just one strikeout as a pinch hitter in the month.In fieldWhiteside threw out two of three runners trying to steal including one on a pitchout. But backup catcher Hector Sanchez, who entered on a double switch, threw wild to bases twice in the Padres two-run eighth inning.AttendanceThe Giants announced 41,511 paid. Nothing like the prospect of a free car to keep em in their seats to the end. Or perhaps it was the lure of seeing Jon Miller and Dave Flemming dance to Gangnam Style in the ninth inning?Up nextThe Giants take Monday off before finishing their final homestand of the season with three games against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Barry Zito are expected to start against a trio of left-handers: Tyler Skaggs, Wade Miley and Patrick Corbin.

Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency


Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency

With free agency set to begin five days after the World Series ends, two hitters that played for the Giants during the 2017 season have put their names on the open market.

Veteran third baseman Conor Gillaspie and longtime minor league outfielder Carlos Moncrief have both elected for free agency, according to Baseball America.

The 30-year-old Gillaspie appeared in 44 games for the Giants this past season. He hit just .168/.218/.288 with four doubles, two home runs and eight RBI. He was designated for assignment on August 3 and outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento on August 5. With the River Cats, Gillaspie hit .375 with four doubles in 15 games in August.

Prior to the 2017 season, Gillaspie signed a one-year, $1.4 million deal with the Giants.

As for Moncrief, the soon-to-be 29-year-old finally got his first call-up the majors this past season after eight and a half seasons in the minors. He debuted for the Giants on July 29. In 28 games, he hit .211/.256/.237 with one double and five RBI. While he didn't do much with the bat, Moncrief showed off a cannon for an arm when he patrolled right field.

Giants reassign pitching coach Dave Righetti, two other coaches


Giants reassign pitching coach Dave Righetti, two other coaches

SAN FRANCISCO — Late in a 98-loss season, general manager Bobby Evans met with members of the coaching staff to discuss new roles. The shakeup of the staff ended up being a stunning one. 

Pitching coach Dave Righetti was one of three coaches to be reassigned Saturday morning. After 18 seasons as pitching coach, Righetti will now serve as special assistant to the general manager. Bullpen coach Mark Gardner was given a “special assignment role to assist in pitching evaluations.” Assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will be a special assistant for baseball operations. 

The moves cap a 13-month run in which the coaching staff has taken much of the blame for a $200 million roster that was poorly constructed in places and played embarrassing baseball for long stretches of the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Third base coach Roberto Kelly was let go after the 2016 season and first base coach Billy Hayes was reassigned. More changes appear on the way. 

“It does raise the level of attention to change when you struggle as much as we have, but you’re always contemplating making changes to try to help keep pushing your guys and make sure you continue to have different perspectives and new voices and reflections on how to get the most out of them,” Evans said on a conference call. 

Throughout September, multiple coaches expressed concern about their future roles, but the Giants held off several weeks before announcing changes. At least two members of the staff were involved in managerial searches elsewhere, and third base coach Phil Nevin is reportedly still a candidate for the open job in Philadelphia. 

Evans confirmed that he has interviewed outside candidates for a hitting coach role, but he would not go so far as to say Hensley Meulens will be reassigned as well. He also would not speak to the future of Ron Wotus, although the longtime bench coach is expected to be mixed up in future changes as well. Evans indicated he would announce further moves after all the open managerial vacancies are filled.

For now, the Giants are in the process of trying to find a new pitching coach. They are focused on experienced outside candidates, and they have plenty of options, as several other teams have made changes this month. Evans hinted that he wants the next pitching coach to have a more analytical approach. 

Righetti's replacement will have massive shoes to fill. His run was the longest for a pitching coach in franchise history. The Giants, usually so reliant on pitching, finished 16th in the Majors with a 4.50 ERA, but it’s hard to see how Righetti takes the blame for that. Madison Bumgarner missed a chunk of the season after a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto had a brutal injury-plagued year, Matt Moore battled himself and had the worst ERA in the National League, and the bullpen struggled, with closer Mark Melancon pitching through an injury that required season-ending surgery. 

Righetti was credited with helping to develop a rotation and bullpen that won three titles, and the bond he shared with pitchers was on display during the final weekend of the year, when Matt Cain talked repeatedly about their close relationship and went straight for Righetti after he came off the field for the final time. While it’s often hard to figure out where to give credit, even in a down year for the staff, Righetti played a role in Sam Dyson’s resurgence, and he helped Ty Blach and Chris Stratton break in as big league regulars. 

“Ultimately a change for us in the clubhouse is really an opportunity just to put a new voice with our pitching staff and try to keep pushing to the heights that we aspire as an organization and a club,” Evans said. “Changes sometimes are needed as much for the sake of that new voice as anything, and I think that was really the priority here.”

Righetti will help Evans in a front office role. Evans admitted that Righetti’s “heartbeat is in uniform as a coach,” but said he was willing to take on a new role for an organization he loves. 

Gardner, a former Giants pitcher, had been on staff since 2003. He will now help to evaluate pitchers inside and outside the organization, and Evans said Gardner could serve an important role in evaluating trade options. Decker joined the big league staff in 2015 after a long run working in the minor leagues. The 2017 season was his 23rd with the organization. He will have a “blank canvas,” Evans said, working in different roles inside the organization. Decker will also help with draft preparation.