SAN FRANCISCO -- Patrick Bailey is a natural righty, but the Giants' catching prospect picked up switch hitting when he was 11 and over time has become so much better from the left side that there’s now some question among talent evaluators about whether he should give up right-handed hitting altogether.
Bailey is well aware of the whispers, so he broke into a wide smile when asked Saturday afternoon about picking up his first hit from the right side.
“It’s pretty funny, we’ve been joking about it with the staff,” Bailey said. “I’ve been working hard from the right side and hopefully it continues to show.”
Bailey’s first MLB hit came in the eighth inning of a 1-0 loss to the Miami Marlins. It was his third at-bat, all against lefties, and he lined a fastball to right with two outs and two strikes. He called it “one of the most special moments of my life and career,” but it was the only offensive highlight for the Giants.
After stringing rallies together during a four-game winning streak, the Giants managed just three hits on Saturday. They wasted six shutout innings from Logan Webb, although their ace did find a silver lining to build off.
Webb has worked with Bailey a half-dozen times in spring training and was on the mound for his first start. He came away impressed, particularly with Bailey's ability to frame, which flipped several counts on Saturday.
"He was awesome. He got me a lot of strikes, that's for sure," Webb said. "He's easy to work with and he did a really good job. It was fun throwing to him."
Webb said Bailey stood out for how much game-planning he did in-game, and they had multiple conversations between innings about how to attack hitters Bailey had never seen before. When their work together was done, Webb gave Bailey a big hug in the dugout and told him he was proud of him. Before the game, he of course had to give Bailey the same advice he dispensed to Casey Schmitt a couple weeks ago.
Bailey said a lot of veterans told him "don't mess up," adding "but 'mess' was a different word."
The Giants quickly have turned the page to youth this month, and Bailey hit one spot behind Schmitt, who had just his second hitless game in the big leagues but played strong defense at short. Webb said Bailey reminded him of Schmitt.
"I feel like most guys have some nerves. The last two guys we called up, it's not like that at all," Webb said. "That's probably a good trait to have."
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Bailey was surprised that his knees weren't knocking as he walked up to the plate for the first time, and he looked like he belonged on his first day in the big leagues. He came away with a souvenir, too, although there was a close call there.
Asked what he would do with the first hit, Bailey said he would probably have to keep it for himself. Any thoughts of giving the ball to his wife went out the window when they took pictures with their young daughter on the field after the game.
"My wife left it on the field," Bailey said, laughing.