Giants

Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, more Giants will have different look at plate

Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, more Giants will have different look at plate

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- After 10 days of watching him take batting practice and do catching drills, the Giants fully expect Buster Posey to be in the lineup on March 28 in San Diego. When he digs into the box, you'll see a different look from Posey, now in his 11th big league season. 

Posey is one of a dozen Giants wearing a batting helmet with a flap this spring. Last year, the Giants had just two players on their active roster -- Aramis Garcia and Chase d'Arnaud -- with a flap protecting the jaw. Posey said he plans to use the new helmet during the 2019 season. 

"I thought about changing last year but I didn't want to do it during the season," he said. "It's just about getting more protection."

Not surprisingly, the catchers appear to be leading the way. Garcia started wearing a helmet flap after suffering a facial fracture in 2016 while playing for the San Jose Giants. René Rivera started wearing the bigger helmet last year, not because of concussion issues -- Posey and Garcia both have had concussions behind the plate -- but because of what he was seeing from pitchers. 

"Everyone is throwing harder every year, and a lot of these guys are throwing up in the zone now," he said, mimicking a fastball that moves quickly towards a batter's head. "It's extra protection at the plate."

The catchers aren't the only ones with the new look. Pablo Sandoval had a flap on his helmet during live batting practice sessions earlier this week, along with Cameron Maybin, who wore one last year with the Marlins and Mariners. Others are expected to follow. 

The change for homegrown Giants has a lot to do with a change by Rawlings. The equipment company has a new helmet that is made to withstand a 105 mph fastball, an increase from the old helmet that withstood 100 mph. The r-flap has been redesigned and is not as bulky. 

Brad Grems, the clubhouse coordinator, said Rawlings engineers will be in the clubhouse Friday to show players their new helmets. Rawlings now has flaps that can be screwed onto the helmet in three different positions, allowing for more flexibility and comfort. Garcia said the old flap, while necessary for him, would often press against his face. 

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According to Grems, the new helmet will be a better fit for players' heads. By 2020, Rawlings plans to roll out the new, better-fitting helmet in every clubhouse. By then, you could see a lot more players protecting their jaws with a helmet flap.

Giants vs. Blue Jays lineups: Drew Pomeranz goes for first win of 2019

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USATSI

Giants vs. Blue Jays lineups: Drew Pomeranz goes for first win of 2019

The Giants' eight-game road trip is finally coming to an end. 

And they're going for their first sweep of the season. After using four home runs to beat the Blue Jays on Tuesday, San Francisco is looking to leave Toronto with two straight wins. 

Bruce Bochy isn't switching anything up in his lineup one day after the power surge. On the hill, the Giants are sending out left-hander Drew Pomeranz. 

In appearances, eight starts, Pomeranz is 3-2 with a 4.26 ERA against the Blue Jays. The veteran is seeking his first win as a Giant.

Here are the projected lineups for the Giants-Blue Jays matchup, which you can watch on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming on the MyTeams app.

San Francisco Giants (10-14)
Steven Duggar, RF
Gerardo Parra, LF
Buster Posey, C
Brandon Belt, 1B
Evan Longoria, 3B
Pablo Sandoval, DH
Brandon Crawford, SS
Kevin Pillar, CF
Joe Panik, 2B

Drew Pomeranz, LHP (0-2, 4.82 ERA)

[RELATED: Brandon Belt not fan of robot umpires]

Toronto Blue Jays (11-13)

Eric Sogard, 2B
Brandon Drury, 3B
Justin Smoak, DH
Randal Grichuk, RF
Rowdy Tellez, 1B
Teoscar Hernandez, LF
Danny Jansen, C
Richard Urena, SS
Alen Hanson, RF

Clay Buchholz, RHP (0-0, 3.38 ERA)

Giants' Brandon Belt not fan of robot umpires, even after many bad calls

Giants' Brandon Belt not fan of robot umpires, even after many bad calls

SAN FRANCISCO -- If you had to pick one Giants pitcher and one Giants hitter who might become advocates for robot umpires, Madison Bumgarner and Brandon Belt would seem to be likely choices. 

Bumgarner has had his share of notable disagreements in the past, and hardly a start goes by where he doesn't throw his hands up in exasperation or have a quiet discussion with an umpire after an inning where he disagreed with a call or two. Belt was thrown out of a game last week for arguing a called third strike and often is left disappointed by inconsistent zones. 

But Bumgarner came out two years ago in favor of the human element. A day after his ejection, Belt, during an interview for The Giants Insider Podcast, said he feels the same way. 

"I like having the umpires there," he said. "I like having that human element even though it doesn't work out in my favor sometimes. I think it's part of the game and it's not a part of the game that I really want to see changed."

Belt was tossed last week after a second blown call in three innings by Ryan Additon, a Triple-A umpire who was filling in at the big league level. Additon is a young umpire who hasn't managed many games at the big league level, but even in spring training some players were left shaking their heads at his zone. Belt has said repeatedly he just wants umpires to be held to a high standard.

So far this year, that hasn't always been the case: 

"I want these guys to be here," Belt said of umpires. "I think the big leagues are awesome and I want more people to experience it."

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Belt was the guest on the 100th episode of The Giants Insider Podcast and spoke passionately about how he handles the strike zone, along with his conversations with runners at first base, the time he went swimming in a dugout, his desire to have a secret bunker in his new house (seriously), and much more.

You can stream the podcast here or download it on iTunes here.