Giants

Bruce Bochy takes moment to reflect as he visits D.C. for final time

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USATSI

Bruce Bochy takes moment to reflect as he visits D.C. for final time

WASHINGTON D.C. -- More than 50 years later, Bruce Bochy is still holding the grudge. 

As a 12-year-old growing up in the D.C. area, Bochy had a paper route for "The Evening Star." He still can't figure out how he didn't win when the paper held a contest that promised free Washington Senators tickets to the five kids who solicited the most customers. Adult Bochy said young Bochy was "hustling."

"It was fixed," he said this week. "Because I got a lot of customers."

Those memories came flooding back Tuesday when Bochy walked into Nationals Park, which was built decades after his father took him to his first game at RFK Stadium. Bochy remembers seeing the Cleveland Indians visit that day in 1966. He sat in the upper deck, along the third base line. The next year, he got an up-close view of Mickey Mantle and the New York Yankees.  

Bochy has tried not to think of this season as a farewell tour, and there were no signs of that on the season-opening trip. But the Giants visit San Diego and Los Angeles again. This was, barring a surprise playoff matchup, Bochy's final trip to Washington D.C. as a manager, and he admitted that he gave that some thought, calling the city "a special place for me."

"This is a city and ballpark that I have thought about because this is where it probably started for me as far as really having that passion and desire to play baseball," he said. 

The Giants entered the series with a 15-20 record at Nationals Park, but this is where Bochy's team had one of its most spirited wins en route to a title. It's impossible for anyone affiliated with the organization to walk into the clubhouse and not think about Brandon Belt's 18th-inning homer in the National League Division Series in 2014. Before Wednesday's game, a couple of Giants employees fondly remembered Yusmeiro Petit's herculean effort that night.

[RELATED: Giants pitchers dig too deep a hole for hitters in loss to Nats]

That night was a special one for Bochy, too. He spent several years living 20 minutes away in Falls Church, and this is always a homecoming. Much of Bochy's pregame time Tuesday and Wednesday was spent greeting family members and friends who drove into town to watch Bochy manage one last time. 

"I was amazed at how many of them came out," Bochy said. 

Andrew Suarez returns to big leagues for another shot with Giants

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USATSI

Andrew Suarez returns to big leagues for another shot with Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- For several days, the Giants listed Monday's starter as "TBA," leading to speculation that they would try an opener for a second straight week. Instead, it will be a familiar starter.

Left-hander Andrew Suarez will be recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to make his first big league start of the season. Suarez made 29 starts for the Giants last season, posting a 4.49 ERA in a rookie season that was a bit better than the final numbers indicated. 

Suarez did not make the rotation out of camp and has a 6.33 ERA in six minor league starts. He missed more than two weeks with a hamstring strain and has given up seven earned runs in 8 2/3 innings since returning to Triple-A Sacramento. 

"I'm sure he's chipping a little rust off," manager Bruce Bochy said. "A day like this, especially for a guy that made as many starts as he did, can be pretty uplifting and fire a guy up. We need a starter tomorrow and with his experience and what he did last year, this makes sense for us."

With Suarez and Shaun Anderson set to go the first two games against the Braves, the Giants will have taken a look at all four young pitchers who could be part of a future rotation. Dereck Rodriguez and Tyler Beede already have gotten a look and been optioned. Both are in Triple-A, currently. 

[RELATED: MLB Power Rankings as we approach 50 games]

Given the state of the roster, it's possible either Suarez or Anderson is sent back to Triple-A after his start. Bochy said the young pitchers know the deal. 

"I think they see it around baseball and they understand it," he said. 

Giants trade struggling catcher Erik Kratz to Rays days after DFA

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AP

Giants trade struggling catcher Erik Kratz to Rays days after DFA

Erik Kratz is no longer in the Giants organization. 

Three days after San Francisco designated the veteran catcher for assignment, the Giants traded the 38-year-old to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin first reported the news Thursday, and the Giants announced the news shortly thereafter. 

On Monday morning, the player to be named was announced as minor league pitcher Matt Seelinger. He'll report to Class A Augusta.

The Giants traded for Kratz in late March, wanting a veteran backup for Buster Posey while Stephen Vogt recovered from shoulder surgery. 26-year-old catcher Aramis Garcia still had minor-league options, so the front office looked for a more-polished stopgap.

But Kratz struggled in his short time wearing orange and black, slashing .125/.222/.281 in 36 plate appearances. He also made more errors (four) in 11 games behind the dish than he did in 61 with the Brewers (three) in 2018, and caught two out of nine runners stealing. 

[RELATED: Where Giants stand on competing, rebuilding after quarter of 2019 season]

The Kratz trade was not the only move the Giants made at the position Thursday. They also optioned Garcia to Triple-A Sacramento in anticipation that Posey will return to the lineup Friday after a stint on the seven-day concussion list.