Giants

Bruce Bochy explains how Giants will utilize new catcher Erik Kratz

Bruce Bochy explains how Giants will utilize new catcher Erik Kratz

SAN FRANCISCO -- This is the second time Erik Kratz has been traded to a new organization in the week before the opener. He once got traded, got to the ballpark at six, and entered the game for a new team two hours later. 

So no, he is not sweating the fact that he has to learn a new pitching staff in time to potentially start a game for the Giants later this week. 

Kratz, acquired Sunday morning from the Brewers, will be the backup catcher, manager Bruce Bochy said. That means Kratz likely will start a game this weekend, as the Giants are hoping to ease Buster Posey into the regular season and they have four games in San Diego, followed by three in Los Angeles. 

"What are you going to do? It's part of the gig," Kratz said of the cram course. "It's not my first time."

The 38-year-old is happy for the opportunity regardless of the timing, because at the beginning of camp the Brewers told him he would not break with them. He spent six weeks auditioning for other teams, and he woke up Saturday thinking he was flying back home to Virginia to wait out the waiver process. Instead, he boarded a Sunday morning flight to the Bay Area, getting to the Coliseum in time to warm up two new teammates in the bullpen in the late innings. 

Kratz's arrival was not a surprise, really, given how many moves Farhan Zaidi has made this week. But it did certainly shake things up.

Bochy said the Giants are considering going with three catchers to start the year, allowing them to rest Posey more often and have Aramis Garcia's thump on the bench. 

"It's a pretty big bat," Bochy said of Garcia, "And he does a nice job wherever we put him (catcher or first base)."

That might be a luxury the Giants can't afford, though. They are leaning towards keeping 13 pitchers, which would mean just four bench spots. Kratz has one and Yangervis Solarte has one. Keeping Garcia would leave just one spot for Alen Hanson, Pablo Sandoval and the candidates vying for the fourth outfield job. 

[RELATED: Erik Kratz leaves his mark everywhere he goes]

"There are a lot of variables involved with this decision," Bochy said. 

More will be known Monday, when Bochy expects to announce his rotation (even though it seems set already). Perhaps the Giants will make yet another move, but for now, this much is certain: The Giants have their backup catcher, and a few days to figure out the rest. 

Tyler Beede does it all as Giants get big series win in Milwaukee

Tyler Beede does it all as Giants get big series win in Milwaukee

Nobody would have blamed Tyler Beede for opening his second half with a clunker. The Giants right-hander went 12 days between starts and spent much of that time back in the Boston area after the death of his stepfather.

There was nothing normal about the run-up to Beede's start Sunday in Milwaukee against a tough Brewers lineup, and yet there he was, looking very much at home late in the Giants' 8-3 win -- both on the mound and at the plate. 

Beede gave up three earned over 6 2/3 innings and tied his career high with seven strikeouts. Over his past three starts, he has thrown 19 innings and allowed just six runs, but it was his work at the plate Sunday that really served as the highlight. 

Beede had a hard single up the middle in his first at-bat and helped kick-start a six-run game-winning rally in the seventh. With the score tied at 2 and Donovan Solano on second base, Giants manager Bruce Bochy -- who had a short-handed bench and lost Evan Longoria to foot discomfort during the game -- sent Beede up to bunt. He pulled the bat back on a 2-1 pitch and chopped a 97-mph heater up the middle to give the Giants a lead they wouldn't relinquish. 

"I was really just trying to put something in play on the ground and get the guy over," Beede told reporters. "Fortunately, they were expecting the bunt. I had the second baseman shifted over enough to where the ball squeaked through. Obviously, you get a little lucky there, but it's good to put the ball in play."

[RELATED: Watch Beede give Giants lead with RBI single vs. Brewers]

The Giants were happy to take Beede's contributions at the plate, but what they needed more than anything was innings, and he threw 103 pitches while getting into the seventh. That was huge for a club that has a doubleheader at Coors Field on Monday and four games in Denver over three days. 

"He clutched up in a huge way, didn't he?" Bochy said. "The guy, he really did a great job on both sides of the ball. He helped himself. What a game he had to get us there to that point. That was huge."

Beede's surge has come with a continued change in approach. He cut his repertoire down to three pitches -- four-seamer, curveball, changeup -- this spring and turned his career around, but as he has gotten comfortable in the big leagues, Beede has opened things back up. A month ago against the Padres, Beede subtly mixed in a couple of sliders. In his last start before the break, he threw 15 of them, and on Sunday he threw 23 of them. Beede threw more sliders than curves or changeups, a major adjustment for him. 

That's the sign of a pitcher who is gaining confidence, and he's doing it for a team that's doing so. The Giants have won nine of their last 12, and on Sunday they rode a rookie to a big series win. 

"We needed it," said first baseman Brandon Belt, who hit a solo homer. "He looked composed. He looked like a vet out there."

Watch Tyler Beede give Giants lead by smacking RBI single vs. Brewers

Watch Tyler Beede give Giants lead by smacking RBI single vs. Brewers

Next time Tyler Beede starts, Bruce Bochy might have to move him up in the order.

Entering Sunday's game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park, the right-hander had only notched one hit in his career, but that changed in hurry.

In the top of the second inning, Beede strolled to the plate with a runner on first and two out. He immediately laced a first-pitch fastball into left-center field. Mike Yastrzemski tried to motor all the way around to score but was cut down at home to end the frame, spoiling Beede's shot at his first career RBI.

Beede's quest for his first-career RBI wouldn't last much longer, though.

After Christian Yelich tied the game at two with a solo blast in the bottom of the sixth, Beede put himself in line for a win. 

Donovan Solano opened the top of the seventh with a double, and Beede followed by poking a single to right field to score Solano and give the Giants a 3-2 lead.

[RELATED: Crawford, Panik both commit rare errors in Giants loss]

Looks like Beede has been taking BP with Madison Bumgarner.