SAN FRANCISCO — A year ago, the Giants told Christian Arroyo to go down to Triple-A and force his way up. Arroyo hit his way into the big league lineup by April 24.
Could Mac Williamson do the same thing this year?
After a big swing, Williamson was sent back to the River Cats to continue working on swing changes he made in the offseason. The results so far have certainly opened eyes. Williamson is 10 -or-17 through five games with two homers, three doubles and just two strikeouts.
“A really good start. He’s doing what we were hoping he would do — go down and make noise and play well and put pressure on us,” manager Bruce Bochy said Wednesday morning. “This is a huge year for Mac and where he’s at as far as his career. It’s time for him to dominate that league.”
Williamson, 27, now has 856 at-bats in Triple-A. He would appear to be stuck in limbo, as the Giants prefer center field options — Gregor Blanco and Gorkys Hernandez — on their bench and there are veterans at every starting outfield spot. But this is a bit of a different time for the front office and coaching staff. There is a greater sense of urgency, seen already with moves in the bullpen that will continue as the Giants aim to increase their flexibility. Bochy said he has talked to relievers already about the fact that they might be sent down regardless of their numbers, if they have options and the Giants need a fresh arm.
All involved with these decisions know that they might not survive another losing season, and the offense has been frustrating to watch through most of nine games. Hunter Pence, in the last year of his contract, has a .435 OPS so far in left field, and while the bench has been part of some comebacks there haven’t been many power flashes.
“We would find a way to put somebody in our lineup when we think he could help us,” Bochy said. “We could get creative here to mix it up. It’s a small sample, whether it’s here or in Triple-A, so let’s play some baseball and see where we’re at.”