Giants

Giants close Cactus League schedule with 7-4 loss to Brewers

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Giants close Cactus League schedule with 7-4 loss to Brewers

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PHOENIX (AP) Tim Lincecum and Yovani Gallardo are both ready for their opening-day starts.Gallardo, who will be making his third straight opening day start for Milwaukee at home against St. Louis, outlasted Lincecum and the Giants in Milwaukee's 7-4 win on Sunday.Gallardo allowed four runs and eight hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in 5 23 innings.Lincecum gave up six runs and eight hits for the Giants. He walked one and struck out four in 4 23 innings. He also went 2 for 2 with an RBI."He (Gallardo) was really good, then a little off, really good, then a little off. He was up and down. He lost his command a little bit," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He needs to be consistent, keep it every single inning."Despite the inconsistency, Roenicke said Gallardo is ready to go against the Cardinals.Gallardo gave up a three-run homer to Brandon Crawford in the second inning, then settled down.The Giants scored in the fourth when Lincecum got his second hit, showing bunt and then chopping the ball over third baseman Aramis Ramirez for an RBI single."Honestly, I gave up those four runs, but I felt like my rhythm was the best it's been all spring," Gallardo said.He has been working on it all spring."That's where it all starts for me," he said. "I want to stay together, balanced throughout my whole mechanics. Once I start rushing or slowing down a little bit is where I get into trouble, and the ball doesn't explode out of my hand. Today, the mechanics were finally were where they were supposed to be."Lincecum was focused on Friday's start."The location was good, the best my fastball location has been all spring," he said. "Regardless of the outcome, I feel good coming out of it."I am ready to get back out there and pitch a real game, pitch with a purpose."He said his run-scoring hit was lucky."I was hoping it would stay fair," he said. "We (pitchers) work on our hitting ... every at-bat is important, and we take it seriously."A two-run double by Ryan Braun was the key hit of a three-run Milwaukee fifth. Nyjer Morgan hit a two-out solo homer off Giants setup man Sergio Romo in the sixth.Roenicke has been impressed with the play of free-agent veteran shortstop Alex Gonzalez this spring.Gonzalez had two hits to raise his spring average to .440 and was in the middle of a key double play, making a throw to get Gregor Blanco at first to end the fourth.Notes: Brewers right fielder Corey Hart might be activated for opening day after recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery. He likely will have a light workout day on Monday and then play in games on Tuesday and Wednesday, giving him approximately six more at-bats. "We want to be smart about it," Roenicke said. Closer John Axford picked up the save for the Brewers on Sunday, but Roenicke said he still is trying to find his command. ... The Giants head back home to the Bay Area for a three-game Bay Bridge series with Oakland before returning to Arizona.

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.