Giants

The Giants will retire Barry Bonds' number

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AP

The Giants will retire Barry Bonds' number

The San Francisco Giants announced that the team will retire uniform number 25 and celebrate the career of Giants great Barry Bonds on Saturday, August 11 when the club hosts the Pittsburgh Pirates at 6:05 p.m. at AT&T Park. In addition to a pre-game number retirement ceremony, the first 20,000 fans will receive a #25 cap.

Bonds will join an elite group of New York and San Francisco Giants players as the 12th player to receive this honor. Bonds wore number 25 in his 15 seasons with the Giants from 1993-2007. He will join Orlando Cepeda (30), Juan Marichal (27), Willie Mays (24), Willie McCovey (44) and Gaylord Perry (36) as the sixth member of the San Francisco Giants to have his uniform number retired.  New York Giants legends whose numbers have been retired include:  Bill Terry (3), Mell Ott (4), Carl Hubbell (11) and Monte Irvin (20).  Christy Mathewson and John McGraw – who both predated numbers on jerseys – have also received this honor. 

“No other Giants player has worn number 25 since Barry’s final season.  It’s time to officially retire his number in honor of his remarkable 22-year career as one of the greatest players of all time and for his countless achievements and contributions as a Giant,” said Giants president and CEO Laurence M. Baer.  “Barry grew up with the Giants and followed in the footsteps of his Godfather Willie Mays and another Giant legend who also wore number 25 -- his late father,  Bobby.  By officially retiring number 25, we will not only pay tribute to Barry as the greatest player of his generation, but also honor the legacy of two of the greatest players to ever wear a Giants uniform.”

“I’m both honored and humbled that the Giants are going to retire my number this season.  As I’ve always said, the Giants and Giants fans, are a part of my family. Growing up, Candlestick Park was my home away from home, and it is where my dad and godfather Willie played.  For me to have played on the same field as them, wear the same uniform and now have my number retired, joining Willie and the other Giants legends is extremely special.  Number 25 has meant a lot to me throughout my career and it is even more special that I got to share that with my dad,” said Bonds.

Bonds, who currently serves in the Giants front office as a Special Advisor, signed with the Giants in 1993.  He spent his final 15 Major League seasons in a San Francisco uniform, compiling a .312 batting average with 381 doubles, 41 triples, 586 home runs and 1,440 RBI in 1,976 games. He can be found throughout the SF-era record books, ranking in the top 10 for batting average (first), games (third), at-bats (third – 6,263), runs (first - 1,555), hits (third - 1,951), doubles (first), triples (fourth), home runs (first), RBI (first), stolen bases (first - 263) and walks (first - 1,947).

Bonds won seven NL MVP awards, eight Gold Glove awards and received 14 All-Star selections during his storied 22-year Major League career with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1986-92) and San Francisco Giants (1993-2007). He was a two-time winner of the National League batting title and the lone member of baseball’s 500 homer-500 steal club holds Major League Baseball’s all-time records for home runs (762) and walks (2,558).

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The Mac Williamson Show rolls on: 'It's been fun to watch'

The Mac Williamson Show rolls on: 'It's been fun to watch'

SAN FRANCISCO — During his pre-game media session on Tuesday, Bruce Bochy was asked about the “elephant in the room.” What will he do with Mac Williamson when Hunter Pence is ready to come off the disabled list?

“That’s a big elephant,” Bochy joked. 

These things do tend to settle themselves, and in the fifth inning against the Nationals, it looked like the most unfortunate resolution might be in play. Williamson went hard after a Bryce Harper pop-up in foul territory and slammed his head and neck into the padded wall alongside the home bullpen. He took a second to take inventory of his body and trainer Dave Groeschner walked him back to his position. When he got to the dugout, Williamson was given a quick concussion test. He came back fine. 

There’s another way to settle a position battle, and Williamson showed it an inning later. His laser shot into the net beyond the center field wall was the difference in a 4-3 win over Washington. It was also his third homer in five starts since being recalled. He has three of the four hardest-hit homers of the season for the Giants in just 19 at-bats. 

At the moment, there’s no way the Giants can think about removing Williamson from left field. If anything, Bochy needs to ponder moving him up in the order. 

“We’ve talked about what a shot in the arm he’s been,” Bochy said. “It’s been fun to watch. Good for him, because he’s worked hard at it.”

Williamson’s offseason mechanical adjustments are well chronicled at this point. But the key Tuesday may have been the confidence that comes with making changes that click. In the past, coaches have been frustrated by an occasional lack of aggression in big spots. When Williamson came up with two outs in the sixth, he got a first-pitch curveball from Tanner Roark and smoked it towards the batter’s eye. 

“Now his confidence is so high,” Bochy said. “He’s up here and having success here against good pitching. It’s something we need, a guy who can provide offense and power, and he’s more than done that.”

Williamson was not alone on this night. Brandon Belt, who recently made a swing adjustment of his own, homered for the fifth time in six games. Ty Blach overcame a bout of food poisoning that cost him nine pounds over the weekend and managed to give Bochy five innings. Reyes Moronta went two and got his first career win. Sam Dyson, relegated to mop-up duty early in the year, induced a big double play to get out of the eighth. Hunter Strickland shut it down for a second consecutive night. 

The end result is a team that is now rolling. The Giants have taken back-to-back series from the Angels and Nationals. They are hitting for power and continue to pitch well. They’ll have their hands full Wednesday when they go up against Max Scherzer, but they have a new secret weapon, and Williamson hopes to be up for the task. He said he’s sure he’ll be sore once the adrenaline wears off, but he did not sound like a player who will need a day off. Any issues he had as he got up from the brutal-looking collision were not related to the bruise on his elbow or tweak to his calf. 

“I was just a little frustrated that I didn’t come up with the play, to be honest,” he said. “I had it in my glove.”

He more than made up for it an inning later. 

What happens to Williamson when Pence returns? Bochy addresses issue

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USATSI/AP

What happens to Williamson when Pence returns? Bochy addresses issue

SAN FRANCISCO — The outfielders met on the field before batting practice Tuesday to do some extra throwing, and in left field Mac Williamson and Hunter Pence stood side by side. That’s fine at 4:15 p.m., but how will it work when Pence is healthy and both are eligible to play left?

“We’ll cross that bridge when Hunter is ready and we think he’s ready,” Bochy said. “They always tell you it’s a good problem, so hopefully we have a good problem here.”

Pence took early BP and later joined in with the regular session, and his thumb is said to be feeling good. He’ll be eligible to start a rehab assignment before the end of the homestand and Bochy said he would need a few games in San Jose or Sacramento. 

After that … it gets complicated. 

The issue isn’t as much about playing them both as it is about fitting both on the roster. Williamson has two monstrous homers in four starts and anything close to that production will keep him around. The Giants are in desperate need of that kind of game-changing talent. Pence was batting .172 at the time he was put on the disabled list with no homers. 

Austin Jackson is batting just .211 and was out of the leadoff spot Monday, but he was brought in as the starting center fielder and his problems don’t appear to be health-related. Gregor Blanco has a .817 OPS and is leading off against some right-handers. Gorkys Hernandez has a .708 OPS in limited time and Bochy likes his versatility as a defensive replacement. 

Throw in Andrew McCutchen and that’s six outfielders for five spots, and the Giants are not going to keep six outfielders on the active roster. These things often sort themselves out, and there’s some time before Pence is back and done with his rehab assignment, but an awkward situation doesn’t appear to be clearing anytime soon.