Giants

Giants make move to rotation, plan change in center field

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Giants make move to rotation, plan change in center field

SAN FRANCISCO -- Bruce Bochy was cryptic about several Giants earlier this week. On Thursday, we finally got some answers. 

Bochy had said that he had a conversation with Denard Span that was not centered on playing time, and Thursday -- a day after another Span misplay in center -- Bochy revealed that he has talked to Span about moving to left field. The problem: It's a transition the Giants don't want to make during the season. 

"It's hard to do during the season," Bochy said. "We did it with Angel (Pagan) and he said it took a whole spring training for him to finally feel comfortable out there."

If Span moves, it will be in the offseason. Of course, there's no guarantee he will even be a Giant next year. Span and Hunter Pence are both entering the final years of their deals and many in the organization believe both would be best served in left field. Does that mean a platoon? Something else? We'll see, but this ball is rolling, finally. 

The other big decision came with the rotation. Matt Cain is back in the bullpen and Chris Stratton will start Saturday, and then again the next time out. Bochy said he hopes Stratton takes the job and runs with it, but either way, he'll get at least two or three starts to prove himself. 

"We'll give Stratton a shot to show what he can do," Bochy said. 

The same holds true for Ryder Jones. He's back after tearing up Triple-A upon his demotion and Bochy said he'll play every day, either at third base or in the outfield. 

"I'm going to try to keep his at-bats consistent," he said. 

Jones is hitting second tonight so that he has some protection. A two-month stretch of success from him would certainly make the offseason planning easier. 

The flip side to this mini-youth movement is that Conor Gillaspie was designated for assignment. It actually happened Wednesday night, but Bochy was still a bit shaken on Thursday. He was visibly emotional and said frankly, "It stinks."

"It's always difficult," Bochy said. "Conor, as you well know, did a lot for us last year, especially down the stretch. This is the tough thing about going through a year like this."

It's only just beginning, and Bochy knows it. Michael Morse is back home and likely will end his Giants career on the DL. Cain will probably get a going away start at some point, but his time here is down to two months. Pence's playing time might be cut, and changes could come in the bullpen. Thursday was picture day at the park, and it was a weirdly dark scene. 

It's the way it now is, but the Giants are not fully letting go. Bochy said his hope is that Gillaspie clears waivers and returns to the organization to go and play in Sacramento. If he does that, a September return is possible. 

Bruce Bochy mixes up Giants pregame routine looking for quicker starts

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Bruce Bochy mixes up Giants pregame routine looking for quicker starts

SAN FRANCISCO -- As the Giants filed out of the clubhouse after Tuesday night's boisterous comeback win over the Braves, players saw a clear message on the digital board near the wall.

"NOBODY IN CLUBHOUSE BEFORE 4 P.M. TOMORROW."

This is something manager Bruce Bochy talked about in spring training, and he felt it was time for some of his players to take a breather. Too many had been showing up seven hours before a game to get work done, and Bochy wanted guys to clear their heads and get their bodies a couple more hours of rest. 

"It's amazing how much earlier players are getting to the ballpark," Bochy said. "Sometimes you've got to do this to say, hey, it's okay to relax and spend some time with your family and you still have time to get everything done when you get here."

[RELATED: What we learned in Anderson's second MLB start with Giants]

Bochy was hoping the change would lead to a change in the first inning. The Giants have been outscored 48-8 in the first, and the lineup is batting just .195. Most of the team generally arrives about five hours before first pitch, but most got to the park around 4 p.m. for the 6:45 start Wednesday. 

"Sometimes less is more, you back them off a little bit," Bochy said. "We've been stagnant at the start of games. You try to change it up sometimes and see if that will help."

Giants vs. Braves lineups: Red-hot Max Fried will see seven righties

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Giants vs. Braves lineups: Red-hot Max Fried will see seven righties

The Giants can pick up their second straight series win if they take care of one of the better teams in baseball Wednesday night.

After a walk-off win Tuesday night at Oracle Park, San Francisco hosts the Atlanta Braves once again. Jeff Samardzija will square off against Braves southpaw Max Fried. Fried is in the middle of a breakout season, owning a 1.13 WHIP through nine starts in 2019, and the Giants will counter the 25-year-old with seven right-handed hitters.

The Giants, meanwhile, continue to employ a revolving door in left field and will start Mac Williamson there. Since homering in his first game on May 7, Williamson has slashed .114/.205/.143 in 39 plate appearances. 

[RELATED: What we learned in Anderson's second start with Giants]

First pitch is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming on the MyTeams app.

Here are the lineups for both teams Wednesday night:

San Francisco Giants (21-26)
Donovan Solano, 2B
Tyler Austin, 1B
Evan Longoria, 3B
Buster Posey, C
Kevin Pillar, RF
Brandon Crawford, SS
Mac Williamson, LF
Steven Duggar, CF
Jeff Samardzija, RHP (2-2, 3.69 ERA)

Atlanta Braves (26-23)
Ronald Acuña Jr., CF
Dansby Swanson, SS
Freddie Freeman, 1B
Nick Markakis, RF
Austin Riley, 3B
Brian McCann, C
Ozzie Albies, 2B
Matt Joyce, LF
Max Fried, LHP (6-2, 2.86 ERA)