Gabe Kapler probably had a smile on his face as he had his coffee Thursday morning. He got to put together a lineup that looked far more competitive than the one that took the field just a week ago.
The Giants got Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria back and they went straight to the heart of the lineup, and Steven Duggar was in there his first night back as the No. 9 hitter and right fielder. Every bit of good news is matched by bad news for a corresponding player, though, and two young outfielders got sent down, with an inexperienced right-hander getting designated for assignment.
Here's some of what Gabe Kapler had to say about those moves Thursday:
--- Jaylin Davis was the most notable player taken off the roster. The Giants want him to establish himself as Mike Yastrzemski did last year, but Davis was 2-for-12 with six strikeouts.
"Jaylin has such a tremendous engine, the bat speed, the quickness, the athleticism and the speed, and really what we're looking for with Jaylin is more consistency," Kapler said. "One of the conversations that we had is we're looking for him to get a little bit more volume in his cage work, a little bit more intensity in his cage work. We feel like that would lead to more consistent results. He's right on top of it. He's definitely willing to push all-in and make a continued commitment to his work, so that that consistency can show up for him."
Kapler said he met with Davis on Wednesday night and told him, "We believe in you." Farm director Kyle Haines is running the Sacramento camp and Kapler said they would get regular reports from him on Davis.
"He's a step away from the major leagues at any given time and we still believe he's going to make an important impact on this club," Kapler said.
For now, the Giants feel covered in the outfield. Mike Yastrzemski will play every day and Austin Slater should face all lefties, at the very least. Darin Ruf will play more left field now that Brandon Belt is back at first, and Mauricio Dubon may see more time in center with Donovan Solano so entrenched at second at the moment.
--- Solano was one of the stars last night. Tonight he's hitting third against a tough righty. You can read more about him here.
"You can't really take him out of the lineup right now," Kapler said. "You have to be respectful of his production and how integral he's been to our team so far."
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--- Longoria said he's confident the worst of his oblique strain is behind him, although it still does get a little sore at the end of a long day. He comes into tonight's game having not seen live pitching in a while. Longoria said he stood in against some Giants who were throwing bullpen sessions, but obviously there are no minor league rehab assignments this year.
"Nothing about this year is all that normal," he said.
Still, Longoria felt he would be ready.
--- It was a little surprising to see Yastrzemski in center field and Duggar in right. Duggar might be the best defensive center fielder in the organization. Here's what Kapler said:
"Yas has been playing really well in center field, and we saw Yaz play a good center field last year as well. It's kind of nice to be able to leave him in that spot for now and also have great defense in right field with Duggar. This is partly about Yaz's comfort and trying to give him as much continuity as possible."
--- Rule 5 pick Dany Jimenez was DFA'd, so the Giants will have to send him back to the Blue Jays unless they strike a deal to keep him. It's a good arm, and Jimenez regularly hit 95 mph with a power curveball. But he didn't have good command of either of those two pitches in two appearances, and the Dodgers in particular seemed to have a pretty easy time laying off.
Kapler said the Giants were looking for three things from Jimenez: Good velocity, throwing his breaking ball for a strike, and throwing it down below the zone. "There's still some development to occur," Kapler said. It likely will happen in another organization.
--- Finally, the Joey Bart update. He didn't make the drive down from Sacramento today, but Kapler said he spoke to Bart on the phone Wednesday night.
"He's doing well," he said. "He's progressing nicely."