Giants

Bumgarner benefits from Crawford's all-around effort

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Bumgarner benefits from Crawford's all-around effort

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SAN FRANCISCO Madison Bumgarner became the firstleft-handed Giants pitcher to win 15 games since Shawn Estes in 2000. TheGiants young southpaw accomplished the feat in Mondays 2-1 win over theColorado Rockies despite mechanics that he described as probably as bad astheyve been all year.Bumgarner labored through six innings, but held the Rockies to one run to helpthe Giants lower their magic number to eight games, with the second-place Dodgersidle Monday.At the tender age of 23, Bumgarner has made a name for himself in the bigleagues thanks to routinely pinpoint control. That wasnt the case Monday.I dont think he was quite as sharp, but he competed reallywell out there, made pitches when he had to, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. Hemixed in a few walks, and thats unlike Madison, and he got in a couple jams,but kept his poise out there and made the pitches when he had to. Thats alwaysa great sign. He found a way to win that ballgame for us.Bumgarners assessment?My mechanics were way off compared to when Im usually on and feeling good,Bumgarner said. I dont know if its necessarily one thing but Im going toget a closer look at it the next couple of days and try to figure it out andget back on track.Bumgarner doesnt think hes back on track, despite picking up the qualitystart after he came into Mondays game with a 7.29 ERA and nine walks over hislast four outings. However, he did say that its encouraging to end up with arespectable pitching line without your A-game.It feels better to win a game like that then it does to goout there when youre really sharp and throwing good, Bumgarner said. Itfeels good to know that if you dont have your best stuff, you can still fightyour way through and give us a chance.I was just trying to battle and make pitches and just keepbattling every inning. I was fortunate to make pitches when I needed to and getout of it.Fortunate may be the right word for Bumgarner, consideringhe only put together one 1-2-3 inning and set a new career-high with his fivefree passes. The only reason the Rockies ended up with a 1 in the run columnis because Bumgarner benefited from some spectacular defense, especially fromshortstop Brandon Crawford. First it was Buster Posey helping Bumgarner with agreat throw to nail Dexter Fowler trying to steal second after a leadoff walkto open the game. Crawford then helped Bumgarner through two more scorelessframes, starting an inning-ending double play in the second and completing aspectacular backhanded grab on a ground ball in the hole with a perfect throwacross his body from the edge of the outfield grass in the third. There weretwo runners on at the time and neither would end up scoring.Bumgarner knew he needed to give Posey and Crawford some credit for theircontributions.Thats big; thats a momentum changer, Bumgarner said of Poseys play in thefirst and Crawfords in the third. Theres no telling what could happen ifthey didnt. I was obviously trying to battle and get out of it, but those aretwo big plays.Bochy appears close to starting a door-to-door campaign forCrawfords Gold Glove candidacy.I dont know whos playing better defensively, Bochy said.Hes got the confidence going, a sense of belonging up here. Hes doing agreat job.While Crawford was known for his defensive pedigree in theminor leagues, it didnt carry over at the start of the 2012 season. His Apriland May struggles are long forgotten in the Giants clubhouse, though.Weve known it all along, Bumgarner said of Crawfordsglove-work. He struggled a little bit earlier in the year, but hes got one ofthe best gloves in the game. Hes very athletic and a really good shortstop.Crawford has been carrying his weight on defense for some time now, but hasntcontributed at the plate with regularity. But he came through with a triple anda double on Monday, the first of which was as close to a home run as you canget at AT&T Park and the second of which would have been a triple if ithadnt skipped over the wall out of play.Crawford led off the third inning with a ball that bouncedoff the top of the wall in center and scored the Giants first run on a passedball. Ian Kinsler wore a stunned look on his face when the same thing happenedto him in Game 2 of the 2010 World Series. Crawford said he hadnt seenKinslers hit but planned to after an unnamed teammate told him about it. Inhis next at-bat, Crawford led off the fifth with a double that wouldve been ahome run in most parks.Both of them off the bat Ithought might be out, Crawford said. But you never know here. Got about asclose as you can without hitting a home run.Once again the Giants won a game without hitting a home run. With the win, SanFrancisco is now an even 42-42 when held homer-less. The Giants are 42-21 whenthey go deep. More importantly, the Giants have now won 29 one-run games, themost in Major League Baseball. Its what you talk about, you hope for in spring training and here we are,Bochy said. These are very exciting games. Of course you can feel it from thecrowd. But we have baseball left and you have to come out here every day and beon your toes.The Giants now have a season-high eight-game lead over the Dodgers in thedivision. But Bochy isnt comfortable with his advantage yet.Youd like to hopefully keep that margin for error and comeout here and go hard every day, Bochy said. All these games are important.Were not taking anything for granted. We have work ahead of us playing goodtimes and thats how you have to approach it. You dont watch what the otherclubs are doing, just focus on what you need to do and thats go out there andplay good ball and play hard.

Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency

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USATSI

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

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USATSI

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.