Giants

Cabrera's Giants teammates 'shocked, stunned' by suspension

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Cabrera's Giants teammates 'shocked, stunned' by suspension

SAN FRANCISCO Melky Cabrera had long since departed the Giants clubhouse by the time histeammates returned after a 6-4 loss to the Washington Nationals Wednesday.The suspended switch-hitter left a few items in his locker, but could notremain to face questions about what led to his positive test for testosterone,a performance-enhancing substance. That left 24 other men to respond to thebarrage of inquiries in his stead.Ultimately it was just a bad decision and thats all Im really going to sayabout it, Giants catcher Buster Posey said. He added that what was said in ameeting that manager Bruce Bochy called before the game was something thatstays between us.Hunter Pence was similarly terse:It happened. We move on. Thats all I have to say.Angel Pagan wouldnt even go that far, offering no comment responses to atleast three questions and clichs to the rest.We have to move on, Pagan said. Weve got a good team so we have to keepplaying.Pablo Sandoval also chose an optimistic team-first approachinstead of addressing one individuals mistake.Were a team. Were going to fight. Thats all I gottasay, Sandoval said.One of the few players willing to open up about Cabrerassuspension was none other than reliever Clay Hensley, who faced his ownsuspension as a minor leaguer in 2005. Hensley only missed 15 games instead ofthe 50 Cabrera faces, but offered the unique perspective of someone whos beenin Cabreras shoes.People are going to make mistakes, Hensley said. You dont ever know whatsgoing on in someones head when they do something like that.Without Cabrera around to explain what was going on in his head, Hensley andBrandon Belt explained what went through their heads when they first learned ofthe news.Everyone was shocked, stunned, Hensley said. Melky will just have to sufferthe consequences.A little bit of shock at first, Belt said of his reaction. Then everybodysaid we have to move on and step up. We still think we have a shot at this.Tim Lincecum, Wednesdays losing pitcher, said he learned of the news becauseit came across the televisions in the clubhouse before Bochy had a chance totalk to his players.That is crushing, obviously, just to hear that our besthitters not going to be in the lineup, Lincecum said. But thats just like aday where they get a day off. Youve got to approach it that way.Unfortunately for Lincecum and the rest of the Giants starters, they will bewithout Cabreras bat backing them in the lineup for the remainder of theregular season. Thats a far cry from an average day off.Were disappointed, Bochy said. Melky was having a real nice year for us,but our thoughts right now are we move on. Thats all you can do this teamwill remain focused on trying to win ballgames.Winning ballgames will be a lot tougher with a Cabrera-less lineup, as the freeagent-to-be was hitting .346 with 149 hits, 84 runs scored, 60 runs driven in,11 home runs and 13 steals. Were going to miss his bat and presence in the clubhouse,Hensley said. It is what it is. We just have to try to win ballgames withouthim Hes a big bat that well miss but it creates opportunities for others tostep up.Gregor Blanco is likely to be the beneficiary of those opportunities movingforward, and he wasted no time taking advantage on Wednesday with two hits andan RBI in four at-bats.Hopefully Gregor takes advantage of the playing time,Bochy said.Blanco said he hadnt talked to Cabrera about the positive test yet, butplanned on contacting him at some point after leaving the clubhouse. He wasalso optimistic that his teammates would help him carry the load left in thewake of Cabreras suspension.We have a great group of guys that can step up, Blancosaid. We just have to hang together Everybody needs to step up and just dotheir jobs.The Giants havent lost a big bat to a PED suspension before Cabrera, but theydid lose their best hitter to a season-ending injury last year when Posey wasbowled over at home plate.Its a tough blow but weve been through this before, Belt said, referring tothe Giants injury woes with both Posey and Sandoval. We know what we have to do.The Giants know what they have to do and know they have to win a playoff seriesjust for the chance to get Cabrera back in uniform. But what they dont know iswhether knowing what you have to do will translate into proper execution andenough wins to even make the postseason.Hensley, though, is ready for the challenge.Its a game of adjustments, so were just going to have toadjust and move forward, he said. We all wish him the best and well all bebehind him when he gets back.

Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency

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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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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.