No cooling down Posey even as Giants end August with loss


No cooling down Posey even as Giants end August with loss


CHICAGO Never mind the sleep deprivation Friday afternoon.Buster Posey couldnt believe how hot, humid and suffocatingly still the air felt at WrigleyField.

It was as high as Ive felt it this year, includingAtlanta, Philly and Washington, said Posey, after the Giants 6-4 loss to theCubs. I was probably sweating like crazy.

Did he use the cooling room?

Cooling room? Posey said.

Yeah. You know. The little room behind the dugout where you can get arefreshing blast of AC.

I didnt know about that, Posey said. Too bad you didnttell me about that before the game.

Well, apologies for whats coming next, but there was nocooling off Posey in August. He hit .371 in the month with six home runs and 21RBIs.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy planned to give Posey the day offFriday, after he caught nine innings on a hard-baked surface in a Thursdaynight game 1,000 miles away in Houston. But Posey sent his skipper a textmessage Friday morning: He was ready to catch another.

Then Posey went out and delivered a 3-for-3 performance witha walk, and knocked in a pair of runs.

Buster, its pretty impressive what he did today, saidBochy, who will put Posey at first base on Saturday and let Hector Sanchez takethe brunt of catching Tim Lincecum.

I will say this for the guys: It was a tough day.

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It was a tough month, too. The Giants played 17 of 28 gameson the road in August, and lest anyone forget, this is the month that steered apromising season onto the rocks a year ago. This year, despite finishing with aloss behind an unfocused Madison Bumgarner on Friday, the Giants went 18-11 inAugust to grab control of the NL West.

They maneuvered in front despite losing Melky Cabrera to aseason-ending drug suspension and watching the archrival Dodgers load up theirroster with high-cost reinforcements.

Last August, we couldnt get any runs on the board, Bochysaid. I think it starts with the job (Angel) Pagan has done in the leadoffspot, and (Marco) Scutaro behind him. Theyre the table setters, and of courseyou look at Posey and (Hunter) Pence and (Joaquin) Arias. Weve scored runsthis month where last year, we had a hard time.

The nagging hand injury to Carlos Beltran certainly crushedthem a year ago.

That hurt us, and Ive said that, Bochy said. He did agreat job for us, but when we lost him for 15 days, that hurt and itcomplicated our problems scoring runs.

Why were they unable to weather Beltran last year buttheyve been able to thrive without Cabrera, the major league leader in runsand hits when he got popped?

In a word: Buster.

Dont forget, he was just starting to put weight on hissurgically repaired ankle at this time a year ago.

There are still concessions to that awful collision May 25,2011. Posey does not camp out in front of the plate. He is instructed to standwell in front of it when he receives throws and reach back to make swipe tags.

Thats what he was trying to do in the third inning, butStarlin Castro knocked it out of his glove.

It didnt really stick in my pocket, said Posey, whoreceived the throw after Wellington Castillo hit a double that littered ivyfrom the left field wall. It was pinched, almost, and when I went to tag, heknocked it out.

Thats when it became apparent to everyone in the FriendlyConfines that Bumgarner wasnt backing up the plate. Castillo took third on thethrow, and scored easily.

Bumgarner was frustrated that he had two outs and the basesempty, then made a pair of 0-2 mistakes for hits (including Alfonso Sorianostwo-run home run), and he allowed himself to get distracted.

I was acting like a baby, getting stubborn with myself,said Bumgarner, who put the Giants in a 5-0 hole before leaving for a pinchhitter in the fifth. It cost us another run. So obviously, you never want todo that. Wont happen again.

Bumgarner will turn the page, as will everyone else asSeptember begins. By the time this weekend is over, the Giants will have played12 road games out of 16. And a Labor Day matinee looms Monday at AT&T Park,too which could be a bear if the remnants of Hurricane Isaac force delays oreven a doubleheader on Sunday.

The Giants are sure to be weary before they get their next break inthe schedule on Thursday. But this is no time to cool down.

I think were all playing with a lot of confidence rightnow, Posey said. This is the time you work so hard for. Its just a fun time.I feel like guys are coming to the ballpark excited each day and lookingforward to going out there and competing.

Posey said hell have enough in his tank to finish strong.

Good, I feel good, he said. Theres going to be thingsthat come up. Its a case of managing them and going out and competing.

Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency


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


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.