Giants

Giants look poised to put Mac Williamson in left field Friday

Giants look poised to put Mac Williamson in left field Friday

PHOENIX — After his team was held to fewer than two runs for the 10th time this season, manager Bruce Bochy said Mac Williamson will be in Anaheim on Friday as part of the taxi squad. The Giants need the outfielder to be more of a tow truck. 

This is a lineup that has not gotten in gear in any way, but a red-hot reinforcement is on the way. Williamson was hitting .487 with six homers in 11 games in Triple-A, and while Bochy couldn’t say he’ll be active and in left field against the Angels, it was not hard to read between the lines. Hunter Pence said the thumb he sprained in the home opener continues to give him problems and needs a few days of rest. It seems likely that Williamson will officially be called up Friday, with Pence going on the disabled list. 

“We’ll see what happens tomorrow,” Bochy said. “Mostly he’s coming up because he’s swinging the bat well. We’re hoping he’ll be a shot in the arm and provide some production, and we need some help in that area.”

The futility has the Giants six games out of first after just three weeks of action. The culprit is clear. Johnny Cueto, Chris Stratton and Ty Blach combined to give up three runs over 20 innings in a tough ballpark, but the Giants still dropped two of three. 

They need more than just one offensive fix, but Williamson represents a start. The 27-year-old has never stuck in the majors, but he rebuilt his swing in the offseason while working with Doug Latta, a private instructor in the Los Angeles area who helped Justin Turner became a star. Williamson’s swing has many of the same markers as Turner’s, and he had a huge spring as he continued to work on adjustments. Williamson lowered his hands and added a higher leg kick in hopes of keeping his bat in the zone longer and being shorter and more direct to the ball. 

“In the past I’ve been really active with my shoulders and hands late in the swing instead of just going and attacking the ball,” he said this spring. “I’m trying to just really calm down a lot of that non-essential movement.”

Williamson knew there was not a spot for him on the opening day roster, but hoped to make an impact sooner than later. His torrid start, plus the struggles at the big league level, have made this a daily question. 

“He showed this spring with the adjustments he made that he’s primed,” Bochy said. “He went out and did what we were hoping.”

The key for the Giants now will be to show more faith than they have in the past. Williamson is a .226 hitter in the big leagues, but his 212 at-bats have been scattered across three seasons and plenty of call-ups. It seems he is always one 0 for 3 night away from a demotion, but the Giants would be well served to let him work through any kinks this time. 

The incumbent in left field, Pence, is batting .172. His backups — Gorkys Hernandez and Gregor Blanco — are better fits as defense-first reserves. Pence hurt his thumb while diving in left field during the home opener and said it has never gotten better. An MRI back then showed a sprain. 

“It’s been going in a backwards direction,” he said. 

So have the Giants, but perhaps help is finally on the way.

Yasiel Puig suspended, Nick Hundley fined for Dodgers-Giants fight

Yasiel Puig suspended, Nick Hundley fined for Dodgers-Giants fight

Major League Baseball suspended Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig for two games Thursday for fighting and inciting a bench-clearing incident in Tuesday's Giants vs. Dodgers game. 

Giants catcher Nick Hundley was not suspended for the fight. Hundley was fined an undisclosed amount of money for his role in the fight. Puig was also fined an undisclosed amount. 

After Tuesday night's game, Hundley was asked if he expects any punishment for himself or Puig from the league. 

“I was defending myself. He was defending himself. I don’t see why it should go any further than that,” Hundley said

Puig's suspension will begin Friday when the Dodgers face the Mariners. If Puig appeals the suspension and loses, it will begin once the process is complete. 

Willie Mays honors Aretha Franklin, 'I truly admired her'

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USATSI/AP

Willie Mays honors Aretha Franklin, 'I truly admired her'

The world lost the Queen of Soul on Thursday. Music icon Aretha Franklin died at 76 years old. 

Franklin, who had perhaps the greatest voice of all-time, connected to people from all walks of life. Willie Mays is one of those people. 

Mays first met Franklin while starring with the New York Giants in the 1950s. After learning of her passing, Mays sent out the following statement where he shows how much he admired Franklin as both an artist and a person. 

Franklin passed away from pancreatic cancer at her home in Detroit. She will be missed from everyone in the music field, athletic field and beyond.