Giants

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."

[RELATED: Giants bullpen gifts Bochy a personalized bottle of wine]

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.

Tyler Austin, Mike Yastrzemski positives in uninspiring Giants loss

Tyler Austin, Mike Yastrzemski positives in uninspiring Giants loss

LOS ANGELES -- Giants Bruce Bochy met with the media a couple of hours before Wednesday's 9-2 loss to the Dodgers, and when a reporter brought up Shaun Anderson's first-inning issues, the manager smiled and politely cut the question off. 

"His issues?" Bochy said. "The team's, but go ahead ..."

Yes, it is indeed the team. Bochy keeps hoping something will change, but his starting pitchers seem incapable of flipping that switch. The Giants were allowing a 1.058 OPS to opposing hitters in the first inning -- that would rank fourth in the Majors for an individual hitter -- even before Drew Pomeranz gave up three runs in a very loud opening frame on Wednesday. 

Pomeranz would be charged with seven runs and a whole lot more exit velocity in the loss, as the Giants failed to take advantage of forearm discomfort that knocked Dodgers starter Rich Hill out after just one inning. 

This was, in every respect, more of the same. So let's change it up. Here are three things you can feel good about after a game like that:

--- Tyler Austin hit his sixth homer and played solid defense. 

Austin took right-hander Yimi Garcia deep to right-center, hitting a home run that just kept carrying and carrying, catching outfielders Alex Verdugo and Cody Bellinger by surprise. The Giants don't hit a lot of homers like that. 

Austin had been in a 1-for-20 skid coming into the game, but he's slugging .447 and has started to look much more comfortable in left field. Perhaps he's someone who can be a useful piece for the future. 

The most important part of that will be his ability to play left field, and after a slow start because of elbow soreness and bad weather that kept him from doing outfield drills, Austin has looked much better. The last two games have been his two best defensively since coming over from Minnesota. 

"It's just working in practice. That's the big thing," Austin said of the change. "I feel like it's coming along and getting better every day. I'm starting to feel pretty good out there. Hopefully we can keep that going."

Bochy has always believed Austin -- a DH/1B type in the AL -- has a chance to play out there. 

"He's getting better and better out there," the manager said. "He can run, he's got range, there's no reason why he shouldn't be a good left fielder."

[RELATED: Giants sign 23 draft picks; still waiting on Bishop, others]

--- Speaking of left field, Mike Yastrzemski has been much better than the other former River Cats and minor leaguers the Giants have run through this season. Yaz was a last-minute replacement for Steven Duggar, who has a tight lower back, and hit a solo blast off lefty Caleb Ferguson in the sixth. 

Overall, Yastrzemski has a .250/.316/.426 slash line while playing good defense wherever Bochy puts him. It's early, but he looks capable of being part of the outfield mix next year. Like Austin, he should get plenty of starts in the second half as Farhan Zaidi and Co. try to evaluate what they really have. 

--- I could not get to a third positive thing. Sorry. Here is a video of me eating a hot dog with bologna on it and immediately regretting some life choices. 

Giants sign 23 MLB draft picks, but still waiting on top selections

bishopap.jpg
AP

Giants sign 23 MLB draft picks, but still waiting on top selections

LOS ANGELES -- The Giants announced on Wednesday that they have signed 23 MLB draft picks, although the list is missing the biggest names. 

First-round pick Hunter Bishop, selected 10th overall earlier this month, has not signed yet. Second-round pick Logan Wyatt and fourth-rounder Tyler Fitzgerald are still playing in the College World Series with Louisville and thus cannot sign. Fitzgerald hit a home run Wednesday as the Cardinals beat Auburn. Eighth-round pick Caleb Kilian also is still playing.

The highest selection to sign thus far is center fielder Grant McCray, a third-round pick who is the son of former big leaguer Rodney McCray. Grant was one of nine position players the Giants drafted on the first two days of the draft, something the franchise had not done in 50 years. 

[RELATED: How Ramos' elite numbers compare to current Giants stars]

Overall, the Giants have signed 15 of their first 20 selections. Trevor McDonald, an 11th-round pick out of high school, also remains unsigned. It's possible that is connected to the top picks -- the Giants might need a bit of excess slot money to lock up a high school arm. 

The Giants did not have any concerns at the time of the draft about their ability to sign Bishop, a star outfielder at Arizona State. They still don't anticipate any problems.