Giants

Bruce Bochy's early Giants rest days lead to surprising lineup vs. Padres

Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants backup catcher Erik Kratz has plenty of experience as a Position Player Pitching, but Bruce Bochy said Friday that Pablo Sandoval is still his first choice for the role. 

So some things haven't changed. But the lineup certainly did Friday, and it came as a bit of a shock. Here's the group for the second game of the season:

Michael Reed RF (picked up a week ago)
Buster Posey 1B (not catching after just one day)
Yangervis Solarte 2B (no Panik after just one day)
Evan Longoria 3B (this is normal)
Brandon Crawford SS (ditto)
Connor Joe LF (picked up eight days ago)
Duggar CF (nothing strange here)
Kratz C (picked up last weekend)
Holland LHP (nothing strange, except some of the t-shirts)

Bochy said we'll probably see a bit more experimenting this year.

"You'll see us mix it up pretty good," he said. "We have some versatility with some guys."

The most jarring part of the lineup was not the newcomers, but the fact that Brandon Belt -- probably this team's best hitter -- sat on Night 2, and Joe Panik -- the hottest hitter all spring -- did as well. Bochy said the plan was to give all of his regulars a day off during this four-game series. The Giants have seven straight to start the year. 

 

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So, it should be more normal Saturday and Sunday, although Kratz will get another start. Posey will catch Saturday and then get a day off Sunday. That's the one area really worth watching, as the Giants are going to be pretty cautious with their catcher early on.

That will mean more starts at first, but it doesn't sound like Belt-to-left is likely in April. He didn't play out there in the spring. 

"Usually we check that box off," Bochy said. "We could do that this year and I would be okay with it. He'll tell you what a great athlete he is. I would have no problem putting him out there."

If the Giants get shut down again, perhaps that's one option they'll reevaluate.