Down on the Farm: Williamson breaks out, hits go-ahead grand slam

Down on the Farm: Williamson breaks out, hits go-ahead grand slam

Going into the 2017 season, the Giants had a pretty simple plan to find their Opening Day left fielder -- competition. The plan was for Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson, two players who showed plenty of pop in Triple-A, to win the job. 

“In a perfect world, one guy would win the job,” GM Bobby Evans said before spring training. “You’re not necessarily looking for a platoon. You’re looking for one guy to win the job.”

Well, sometimes plans take wild turns and plenty of them. Parker is on the 60-day DL with a broken right clavicle and Williamson is on a rehab assignment after straining his left quadriceps in spring training. The Giants' left fielder is now currently infielder Eduardo Nunez with the promotion of top prospect Christian Arroyo. 

Williamson, 26, started his rehab assignment one week ago in Advanced Single-A with the San Jose Giants. In two games, he went 1-for-6 with three strikeouts. Still, the Giants advanced Williamson's rehab and assigned him to Triple-A with the Sacramento River Cats. 

The results continued to waver for Williamson, going hitless in his first eight at-bats with two more strikeouts. On Tuesday, Williamson broke out of his slump and in grand fashion. 

Williamson powered the River Cats to an 11-1 win over the Las Vegas 51s by going 3-for-4 with five RBI and a run scored. In the seventh inning, Williamson showed his knack for the long ball that has always intrigued the Giants. 

With the scored all tied up at one run apiece in the bottom of the seventh inning, Las Vegas took a roll of the dice and intentionally walked Jae-Gyun Hawang to load the bases for Williamson. On the first pitch he saw from Erik Goeddel, Williamson launced a grand slam over the left-center field wall, giving the River Cats a 5-1 lead. 

He collected his fifth and final RBI on a line-drive single to center field the next inning. 

Williamson made his mark during the spring training competition. Over 11 games, he hit .324 and belted two home runs. He also hit six home runs in only 54 games last season in the majors. 

The Giants currently rank dead last in the National League -- second in all of baseball behind just the Red Sox -- with only 13 home runs this season. Their 72 runs in 22 games puts them second to last in the NL, tied with the Padres. Williamson's fit on the team is not as clear as it was headed into the spring, but whenever he does arrive, he is sure to add some extra pop that this lineup can always use. 

Around The Horn

—Giants minor leaguer and Walnut Creek native, Domenic Mazza, pitched a perfect game for the Augusta GreenJackets Tuesday night. It took him only 85 pitches. Check out the final out, right here

—Jae-Gyun Hwang is swinging a hot bat right now for the River Cats. Hwang is hitting exactly .300 on the year after three straight two-hit games before going 1-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI in Tuesday's win. 

—Bryan Reynolds, the Giants' top pick in the 2016 draft is also swinging a hot stick. He now has six three-hit games this season and the switch hitter is slashing .309/.365/.441 in 16 games for the San Jose Giants.

Bumgarner undergoes surgery on pitching hand


Bumgarner undergoes surgery on pitching hand

A day after a line drive fractured a bone in his pitching hand, Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner underwent surgery to stabilize it.

A specialist in Arizona added three pins to Bumgarner's fifth metacarpal bone in his left hand on Saturday, the Giants announced. 

Bumgarner told reporters on Friday that the pins will remain in his hand for four-to-six weeks. Then, he will begin to fully work towards a return to the rotation.

The 28-year-old suffered the fracture in his final start of spring training, and was set to start Opening Day against the Los Angeles Dodgers on March 29. In 21.0 innings over six appearances this spring, Bumgarner posted a 3.43 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. 

Bumgarner injury just the latest in recent run of misfortune for Giants

Bumgarner injury just the latest in recent run of misfortune for Giants

Eight years ago in this very space, I postulated that Brian Sabean had done a lucrative deal with Satan.Co to win the Giants’ first World Series in 56 years. He never denied it, so I took that as silent affirmation.

Now, it seems Beelzebub has brought the bill, to be paid in full on receipt of same.

The San Francisco Giants, who needed as few things as possible to go wrong to start this season, just got two full-on groin shots in the space of less than a week, the second of which was delivered when Madison Bumgfarner fractured his hand trying to repel a line drive from Kansas City second baseman Whit Merrifield during Friday’s Cactus League game.

The injury did not look serious at first because, well, because Bumgarner pretends to be made of adamantium, but an X-ray revealed the fracture and though no time for recovery was listed, Bumgarner may return to health before the Giants do.

And yes, I know spring training is no time for fans to lose hope for a cheery season, but you take the fact as they present themselves, and the Giants are already 40 percent down from their projected starting rotation. Jeff Samardzija is already on the disabled list with a hinky pectoral muscle, and as the Giants know all too well, things like this tend to come in sixes, if not eights.

The 2010 Giants hit on every midseason trade and parlayed that good fortune and the assets already on board to a storied October run. A year later, Buster Posey got Scott Cousin-ed, and his broken ankle snapped the team’s hope of repeating.

The Giants then won in 2012 and ’14 without too much incident, but starting midway through 2016, continuing into last year when Bumgarner flipped his dirt bike, and now down to today, it’s been nothing but seeds and stems for Giantvania.

The rumor mill has been quick to offer up possible replacements for the Bumgarner vacancy (though not for his expected results), but at a time in the game’s development when the best and most progressive-thinking teams are talking about four-man rotations and Staff on every fifth day, a strategic development that requires strength in numbers, the Giants have neither that strength nor those numbers.

Their best internal choices are veteran Derek Holland, who might already have been penciled in as Samardzija’s replacement, and phenom-in-training Tyler Beede. But that essentially uses up the in-house bank of usable goods, so Sabean can either buy something very off-the-rack or hope he and Bruce Bochy can fake it long enough for Samardzija (three to four weeks) and then Bumgarner (six to eight, according to ESPN's Buster Olney).

This seems awfully daunting, especially for a team that has buzzard’s luck and a rotting bat rack for a season and a half. But with six days before the regular season starts in Los Angeles against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers...oh, the hell with it. If you’re a Giant fan, start drinking, and continue until further notice. The evil lord of the netherworld will tell you when it’s time to stop.