How Farhan Zaidi has transformed the Giants roster since Opening Day

How Farhan Zaidi has transformed the Giants roster since Opening Day

SAN FRANCISCO -- Before the final road game of the first half, a group of Giants hitters took the field at Petco Park to chat with some Padres before they began stretching for batting practice. 

With most of the members of the team's longtime core still indoors, the group on the field ended up being one you couldn't have imagined on Opening Day. 

Pablo Sandoval was there, along with Alex Dickerson, Mike Yastrzemski, Donovan Solano, Kevin Pillar, Tyler Austin and Austin Slater. Sandoval was the only one in the circle who was on the roster when the Giants kicked off their season at Petco Park on March 28. 

Farhan Zaidi didn't seem all too concerned when the Giants took the field with Connor Joe and Michael Reed in the outfield that day. He was willing to be patient, saying repeatedly that he would find upgrades over time. 

By the end of the first half the Giants had a much different -- and better -- roster, even if it was painful for the clubhouse at times with all the churn. 

"You look at the roster changes and yeah, sometimes you've got to do what you think is the right thing for the club," manager Bruce Bochy said last week. "We've made some changes as we've gone and we like where we're at."

The Giants used 44 players in the first half, Ray Black being the final one to walk through the door. A year ago they used 48 players all season. The upheaval started early, as Zaidi made a series of moves right before Opening Day to add depth to the entire system. That led to this Day 1 lineup:

Duggar CF (recently optioned to Triple-A)
Belt 1B
Longoria 3B
Posey C
Crawford SS
Joe LF (designated for assignment and returned to the Dodgers)
Reed RF (DFA'd and now in Triple-A)
Panik 2B 

Gerardo Parra and Yangervis Solarte pinch-hit for Joe and Reed that day and both have also been DFA'd. 

The Giants finished the first half with a lineup mix that included Pillar and Austin (acquired in April trades), Yastrzemski (acquired at the end of the spring), Slater and Donovan Solano (called up from Triple-A), Dickerson (acquired from the Padres in June) and Stephen Vogt, who started the year in Sacramento but replaced Erik Kratz. The rotation includes Tyler Beede and Shaun Anderson, who were called up from Triple-A. 

A lot has changed, but the Giants are a better and deeper team than the one that started the year in San Diego. Bochy is happy with the group, although he admitted communication has been key in his final season. He had to sit down with members of his core and explain what the front office was up to as players shuttled in and out of the clubhouse. 

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There was some grumbling, even publicly, but by the end of the first half the veterans seemed in tune with the new normal. 

"Early on, I felt like that last weekend of spring training and into that first month, month and a half of the season, it felt like a revolving door,” third baseman Evan Longoria said. “To Farhan's credit, he has a track record of success and of finding guys who can help in the moment and be positive contributors. That's what it's about, finding that mix of guys.”

Watch Giants' Mike Yastrzemski receive standing ovation at Fenway Park

Watch Giants' Mike Yastrzemski receive standing ovation at Fenway Park

Mike Yastrzemski knew his return to Boston would be a big deal for his family, but he also knew how much it would mean to Red Sox fans who grew up cheering for his grandfather, Carl. Those fans showed their appreciation Tuesday when Yastrzemski stepped to the plate to lead off for the Giants. 

Yastrzemski got a nice ovation from the locals -- and a sizable Giants contingent -- before his first professional at-bat at Fenway Park. He grew up coming to games at the park and considered himself a diehard Red Sox fan. 

Yastrzemski said before the game that he planned to take the moment in. 

"It'll be cool. I don't get wrapped up in moments very easily," he said. "I've kind of trained my whole life to block out situations and crowd noises and stuff, but I think tonight I need to take a step back and get lost in one of the moments and appreciate that and experience it and then we can get back to playing baseball."

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Yastrzemski went down swinging in his first at-bat, but it was still a successful inning for the Giants. As Yastrzemski was settling back into the dugout, Brandon Belt hit a solo shot over the Green Monster. 

Giants vs. Red Sox lineups: Mike Yastrzemski makes Fenway Park debut

Giants vs. Red Sox lineups: Mike Yastrzemski makes Fenway Park debut

Like grandfather, like grandson.

Mike Yastrzemski will play his first game in his grandpa Carl's old stomping grounds Tuesday when the Giants open up a three-game series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Carl Yastrzemski compiled 452 home runs, 3,419 hits and 18 All-Star selections over a decorated 23-year career spent entirely with the Red Sox. Mike has hit .265 with 19 home runs and 51 RBI in 96 games with San Francisco, and he'll be leading off for the Giants in the series opener.

Logan Webb will get the start for San Francisco, as the rookie right-hander looks to get back on the winning track. Webb is coming off consecutive losses in which he's failed to reach the fifth inning each time.

Nathan Eovaldi will take the mound for Boston. The right-handed veteran recently returned to the starting rotation from the bullpen, and threw 93 pitches in his last outing. Eovaldi has struggled against the Giants in his career, having gone 2-4 with a 10.86 ERA over six meetings.

Stephen Vogt will get the start behind the plate and bat fourth for San Francisco, as Buster Posey is out with back tightness. Chris Shaw, a Massachusetts native, will be the Giants' designated hitter and bat seventh.

Coverage begins at 3:00 p.m. PT with Giants Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming live in the MyTeams app.

Here are the lineups for Giants-Red Sox: 

San Francisco Giants (72-78)
LF Mike Yastrzemski
1B Brandon Belt
3B Evan Longoria
C Stephen Vogt
CF Kevin Pillar
SS Brandon Crawford
DH Chris Shaw
RF Austin Slater
2B Mauricio Dubon 

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Boston Red Sox (79-70)
LF Andrew Benintendi
SS Xander Bogaerts
3B Rafael Devers
DH J.D. Martinez
RF Brock Holt
1B Mitch Moreland
C Christian Vasquez
CF Jackie Bradley Jr.
2B Marco Hernandez