Three Giants getting closer to returning from DL stints


Three Giants getting closer to returning from DL stints

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants have one of their tougher stretches coming up, with the Astros and Pirates at home followed by a trip to Dodger Stadium. If they get through the next nine games, they can fatten up against the Reds, Mets and Rangers, and they may finally be pretty close to healthy.

Brandon Belt took early batting practice at AT&T Park and fielded grounders, and he is about a week away from returning, manager Bruce Bochy said. Belt still needs to test his bruised knee by running on the field, but he said everything has gone well to this point and he’s hopeful he’ll be back soon. The Giants may bring Belt back without a rehab assignment. 

Hunter Strickland (hand) started a rehab assignment with the San Jose Giants on Monday, but he cannot return until August 18 because the Giants placed him on the 60-day DL. 

Jeff Samardzija threw 30 pitches in a bullpen session and will face hitters on Monday at Dodger Stadium. If that goes well, Samardzija (shoulder) will start his own rehab assignment. The Giants have said that Samardzija will need a lengthy minor-league stint as he tries to return for the third time this year, but they could speed the timetable up due to their big-league situation. They currently are without a fifth starter, with Ty Blach likely getting that spot when it comes back up.

Bochy is looking forward to adding three players back to a club that is still within striking distance in the NL West, but there’s one player he definitely won’t be getting back. Pablo Sandoval will have season-ending surgery on his hamstring on Tuesday morning. Bochy said he spoke to Sandoval.

“Hopefully he’ll be around and helping keep guys upbeat, because he’s so good at it,” Bochy said. “He’s a little down. He misses playing.”

--- The Giants aren’t the only team dealing with injuries, obviously. The Astros placed George Springer on the DL, where he joins Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. The Giants will face the reigning champs without three of their four best hitters. 

--- Bochy dropped a “Flying Frenchman” nickname on Chase d’Arnaud while explaining how d’Arnaud was his emergency catcher on Saturday. D’Arnaud said he’s actually only about three percent French, according to a test he once took, but the nickname was given to him earlier in his career. Bochy, who was born in France, liked it. 

By the way, d’Arnaud played a pretty good prank on another member of the staff during batting practice. Ron Wotus whiffed on a foul ball the other day in Arizona and made the mistake of telling d’Arnaud, who got the video from a clubhouse employee and edited it into a short clip that was played on the scoreboard at AT&T Park while the Giants were taking grounders. Wotus was shown missing the ball about a dozen times.

--- AT&T Park was briefly on fire Monday afternoon. For the second time this year, a concession stand down the third base line lit up. You can find video on my Instagram story: @pavlovicNBCS.

--- The latest Power Rankings give updates on George Kontos, Matt Moore, Andrew Susac, Phil Bickford and other former Giants. Let's just say some of them aren't doing so well in other spots. 

Giants expect Bruce Bochy back as manager, even with front-office changes

Giants expect Bruce Bochy back as manager, even with front-office changes

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants always hold an end-of-season press conference with their top executives and manager Bruce Bochy, and for years, that group has been the model of stability. Next Tuesday, when the cameras turn on, it’ll be a much different situation. 

Larry Baer represents ownership, but Brian Sabean no longer will be the head of the baseball operations department, and general manager Bobby Evans, a regular on those panels, has been let go.

The fourth man on the stage always is Bochy, and Monday’s news leads to an interesting question about his future. 

Bochy, like Sabean and Evans, has one more year remaining on his contract. But it’s possible a new head of baseball operations will want a hand-picked manager. That is the case in many situations. 

But Baer said Monday that he doesn’t anticipate a change in the dugout regardless of who he hires for baseball operations.  

“I anticipate Boch being back next year,” Baer said. “Again, a Hall of Fame manager, and I think anybody that comes into baseball ops would find it refreshing to have Boch with them for at least one year.”

Bochy, who has three World Series rings, repeatedly has said that he intends to manage next season. The 2019 season would be his 13th with the Giants. 

Brian Sabean to take step back again; Giants to hire new head of baseball ops


Brian Sabean to take step back again; Giants to hire new head of baseball ops

SAN FRANCISCO — For three years, Brian Sabean took a step back from leading the Giants' baseball operations department. After Monday’s announcement that general manager Bobby Evans will not return, Sabean will do so again.

The Giants are looking for a new head of baseball operations, team president and CEO Larry Baer said, meaning Sabean, the current vice president of baseball operations, no longer will be the middle man between the GM and ownership.

Sabean will remain in a to-be-determined role, but ownership immediately will begin a search to bring in someone from the outside. The new hire will report directly to ownership and have full control of what will be a revamped baseball operations department. 

“When I transitioned into my current title at the beginning of 2015, Bobby forged forward as the fully functioning GM and reported directly to Larry up until this year, when the reporting process was through me to Larry,” Sabean said. “I’ve really been in a global position. There’s really no transition (now).”

Sabean is in his 26th year in the organization, and Evans had been with the Giants for 25 years. He was reassigned Monday, and while he has one year left on his contract, he likely will not return in any role. A new head of baseball operations will have the ability to overhaul the department, and the search for that person will begin now. 

“We made the decision that it was really at this point needed to take a fresh approach to baseball operations,” Baer said. “We’ve had a very successful group here for a long time. We’ll take a look outside.”

[RATTO: Shake-up won't stop with Evans]

Baer defended the recent history of the Giants' front office and developments Sabean, Evans and others have made, while also saying the franchise needs someone who brings a new approach.

Ownership should have its pick from the best and brightest around the game. Multiple league executives said Monday that this is a premier job, with resources that are almost unmatched around the league and a commitment to win. 

Sabean and Evans put together teams that won three World Series titles, but Sabean took a step back in 2015. He was asked last winter to return to a more hands-on role, but he now will step aside once again.

Sabean said he believes there’s still a consistent way to win in this ballpark. 

“The long and short of it is we have had success through pitching, defense and timely hitting,” he said. “I don’t see this organization, no matter who comes in and takes over or manages in the future, turning ourselves into the Broad Street Bullies or becoming the Yankees, because that’s not possible in this park. I believe in this park you have to play baseball and have professional hitters. We suffered this year not so much from not hitting home runs, but we couldn’t drive in a run.”