Bumgarner to be Giants' No.2 starter?


Bumgarner to be Giants' No.2 starter?

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Tim Lincecum is scheduled to pitch aninning in the Giants first Cactus League game Saturday, and hell take thebaseball April 6 for what would be his fourth opening-day assignment.Not much of a surprise, right? Well, how about Madison Bumgarnerin the No.2 slot?Manager BruceBochy said Bumgarner would start one game in Sundays exhibition split squadand the staff has talked about slotting the 22-year-old left-hander in a primeposition to start the season in between Lincecum and Matt Cain.
Thats a possibility, Bochy said of Bumgarner, whoselocation has been pinpoint in two sessions against hitters.Its a vote of confidence in Bumgarner but also a signalthat the coaching staff is concerned about Ryan Vogelsong, whose strained lowerback has prevented him from ascending a mound. If left-hander Eric Surkamp mustreplace Vogelsong in the rotation, the Giants would begin the season with threesouthpaws in the Nos. 3-5 spots. Moving up Bumgarner in front of Cain couldsplit up that group.Bochy has given enough thought to that possibility that hemet with Cain on Wednesday to explain the situation.Cain is scheduled to pitch an exhibition on Monday withBarry Zito backing him up.Well see how it goes with Vogelsong, Bochy said. Knockon wood, itll go well. We dont think its something well need to do. Butif he has a hiccup or we dont think hes quite ready, thats a way we couldgo.The Giants dont believe Buster Posey is ready for a bigtest in Saturdays exhibition opener. Bochy said Posey more than likely wontcatch, but later said its possible the cleanup hitter could get one inningbehind the plate. The Giants and Diamondbacks cold agree to employ a DH, whichis a common practice for NL clubs early in the spring.Lincecum didnt pitch on Wednesday, which would be hisnormal day to throw batting practice. Instead, hell throw off a bullpen moundon Thursday as the Giants continue to take extra precautions because of thelower back tightness that set him back earlier this spring.But opening day is Lincecums assignment. Thats fair tosay, Bochy intoned.Surkamp, Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo and Guillermo Mota areother pitchers on the list to follow Lincecum when the Giants play host to theArizona Diamondbacks.Bumgarner will start for Sundays split-squad against theMilwaukee Brewers at Maryvale. Brian Burres will start for the other squadagainst Arizona at Salt River Fields.Bumgarner still ranks as the youngest pitcher in camp, butit didnt quicken his pulse to hear he could pitch on the day between Lincecumand Cain.Ill be excited first, third, fifth, wherever, he said,pulling on a pair of cowboy boots. Its just fun to pitch any doesntmatter.So not a big deal?Definitely not, he said.Bumgarner puts more stock into the way hes throwing thisspring. His fastball is popping and his location might be the best of anypitcher in camp.I feel really good, he said. Ahead of schedule. Its beenbetter than usual and I definitely feel good with where Im at.

Dave Righetti is the face of the Giants' rebuild so far


Dave Righetti is the face of the Giants' rebuild so far

There was something almost disturbingly surreptitious about the Giants’ decision to announce Dave Righetti’s removal as pitching coach (for a front office job) Saturday. Saturday, after all, is the day you typically bury sports news that isn’t football, or related to football in some way.

But that could just be us being needlessly conspiratorial. We’re willing to bestow, if not the benefit of the doubt, at least the lack of doubt.

Still, Righetti’s reassignment, and those of bullpen coach Mark Gardner and assistant hitting coach Steve Decker, makes it clear that however the Giants want to avoid the use of the word “rebuilding,” they are indeed rebuilding – just not in the traditional new-players-for-old way.

General manager Bobby Evans made it clear without saying the words that Righetti’s messaging had lost its efficacy with the younger pitchers, who for the most part had not been part of the franchise’s most glorious times. And since the only pitchers still on the 40-man roster who had been with the club for its last World Series parade are Madison Bumgarner and Hunter Strickland, Evans clearly concluded that the message to the new staff needed to come from elsewhere.

Now this assumes that the problem with the Giants’ pitching was not the talent level or the execution, of course. Typically, it takes a lot for a manager or coach to screw up his job so profoundly that he needs to be replaced – mostly it’s considered an environmental matter that a new voice saying the old stuff is sufficient. It’s really more alchemy than science, and alchemy is fairly hit-or-miss.

But it is change where the Giants feel they can change; their four starters (Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Matt Moore) and closer (Mark Melancon) are in for $70.8 million this coming year, so a full-on demolition is not cost effective, and the young’uns (Chris Stratton, Strickland, Cory Gearrin, Derek Law, et. al.) remain in that tenuous middle ground between dependable and disposable. In other words, there aren’t a lot of options for dramatic player change, and the Giants don’t look to be aggressive buyers in the off-season, crackpot Giancarlo Stanton rumors notwithstanding.

So this is the face of the Giants’ rebuild so far – Dave Righetti, Mark Gardner and Steve Decker. Make of the act and the circumstances of the release of the information what you will, but as it is neither the manager (Bruce Bochy is golden) or the players (who with only a few exceptions are decidedly meh, with a side of feh), it will have to do as the first answer to the question, “What do they intend to do about 64-98?"

I mean other than keeping a low profile about it.

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.