Hunter Strickland

Giants activate Hunter Strickland after missing two months

Giants activate Hunter Strickland after missing two months

The Giants re-instated reliever Hunter Strickland from the 60-day DL Saturday ahead of their game against the Reds.

In corresponding moves, Dereck Rodriguez has been placed on the 10-day DL and Pablo Sandoval has been transferred to the 60-day DL.

Strickland missed the last two months with a fractured right hand after losing his temper in a blown save against the Marlins. After being taken out of a 5-4 loss at home, Strickland went into the dugout and punched a door with his throwing hand. 

The Giants could certainly use Strickland out of the bullpen in the thick of a playoff race. Strickland is 3-3 with a 2.84 ERA and has 13 saves on the season. 

On Friday night, the Giants lost in extra innings as Phillip Ervin took Ray Black deep in the 11th. The Giants (61-61) are seven games back in the NL West and 6.5 games back in the wild card race. 

Strickland's lack of reliability rears its ugly head once again

Strickland's lack of reliability rears its ugly head once again

Hunter Strickland is as automatic as a closer has ever been. When there is a tantrum to air, he airs it for the world to see.

His latest and maybe most spectacular snap came last night when he lost a fight to a door at AT&T Park after being bested by Miami’s Lewis Brinson in the Marlins’ 5-4 win over the Giants. He punched said door with his pitching hand, broke his right pinky and will miss the next six to eight weeks while thinking about what he’s done.

Again.

Like Wile E. Coyote.

Strickland was defending the old baseball code of frontier justice for people who celebrate success on a ballfield, as Brinson did last week in Miami. He threw a pitch at Brinson, then gave up a base hit to the anemic-hitting outfielder, and decided upon reflection that the clubhouse door was taunting him by existing.

So he punched it, with the predictable result.

Strickland’s M.O. here has been of a hard-throwing red-behinded American who brooks no slights and holds all grudges, for weeks or even years at a time (hello, Bryce Harper). But to break his hand because he couldn’t outduel a .179 hitter best known for being a joke candidate for the National league All-Star Team through the auspices of the Dan Le Batard radio show in Miami...well, this cements Strickland’s reputation as the man you go to when you want to show your children what self-control doesn’t look like.

One can speculate how the Giants, who have endured his microscopic fuse before, will view this latest transgression against common sense. One could see Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy arguing halfway through a commiserative beer before tabling the subject for as many weeks as it takes for him to heal. They could agree that Strickland is more trouble than his results are worth, they could agree that his talent trumps his tantrums, or argue about it until they finish the beer.

But Strickland’s lack of reliability or decorum has interfered more than once with his career, and it seems unlikely to get any better in the foreseeable future. He is Hunter Strickland, the beanballing, door-punching hothead who can always be relied upon to be unreliable.

And the Giants have to decide quickly whether he is worth any more of their precious bother. They don’t have to announce the results, but they do need to reach a denouement with Strickland and his flaming forehead.

The guess? They will endure until they can find someone willing to take him and his flailing fists off their hands. That, we suspect, may take awhile. And by then, he might have broken his foot kicking an ottoman after a game against the Cincinnati Reds.

The Reds. As in red-ass. I mean, if you're going to go, go all the way.

After blowing save vs Marlins, Hunter Strickland fractured his hand punching a door

After blowing save vs Marlins, Hunter Strickland fractured his hand punching a door

SAN FRANCISCO — Hunter Strickland’s temper has at times tarnished his reputation, led to a suspension, and ignited a fight that was a low point of the 2017 season and ended Michael Morse's career. Now, it has cost the Giants their closer for a couple of months. 

Strickland punched a door after blowing a save Monday night and suffered a fracture in his pitching hand. The right-hander had surgery on his right pinky finger, the fifth metacarpal, Tuesday afternoon and is expected to miss at least six to eight weeks. 

Manager Bruce Bochy said he did not find out about Strickland until he got home after a 5-4 loss. He said the news “crushed” him, noting that Strickland had grown as a pitcher and person since taking over the closer role at the end of spring training. 

“The closer has got to have emotional control,” Bochy said. “We all get frustrated and that’s a tough loss and a gut-wrenching loss. I’m sure he felt full responsibility. He didn’t think before it happened. I’m thoroughly disappointed, trust me. I’m crushed, because this guy has grown as a pitcher and a person. I know Hunter cares deeply.”

Strickland was not available to the media Tuesday because he left the park early in the afternoon to see a doctor, but he posted a lengthy message to his Instagram page. Strickland apologized to his family, teammates and fans, writing "I am truly sorry that one split second, stupid decision has caused so much harm and now set me back from being out there with my team to pursue our goal."

"This is our life, and we take pride in what we do, so when we fail it hurts," he went on to say. "But that is by no means an excuse because every action has a reaction - which is what I'm seeing now. I've made a mistake and regret it, but I will not give up and will learn from this! I completely understand how this portrays my character, which I will humbly work on areas in my life that need refinement."

Life has an interesting and sometimes disappointing way of opening up our eyes. Words cannot describe the amount of regret and sorrow I have for my actions. I have let down the ones that care and mean the most, as well as the ones that count on me day in and day out. To my family, my teammates, my coaches, this organization, and our fan base, I am truly sorry that one split second, stupid decision has caused so much harm and now set me back from being out there with my team to pursue our goal. As well as providing for my family. I own all responsibilities and consequences because these were no ones actions but myself. I will work hard to get back with the guys and help contribute to some more wins. This is our life, and we take pride in what we do, so when we fail it hurts. But that is by no means an excuse because every action has a reaction- which is what I’m seeing now. I’ve made a mistake and regret it, but I will not give up and will learn from this! I completely understand how this portrays my character, which I will humbly work on areas in my life that need refinement. I sincerely didn’t do this out of selfishness, but simply because I let down the ones that count on me most and my emotions got the best of me in that moment. So again, I’m sorry, and now I have to move forward.

A post shared by Hunter Strickland (@hunter_strickland60) on

Strickland had shown signs of growth since a fight with Bryce Harper last season. Members of the staff noticed a change in his demeanor on the mound, and a new, calmer slider led to a start that had him getting All-Star consideration. Strickland had a 2.01 ERA and 13 saves in 16 opportunities before facing the Marlins. They took advantage of a night when Strickland had poor command, scoring three runs to take the lead and steal a win. 

Strickland yelled some words at rookie Lewis Brinson as he walked off the field. Brinson had celebrated after getting the game-tying single. Shortly thereafter, Strickland threw an ill-advised punch with his pitching hand. 

Without Strickland, Bochy said he will lean on Tony Watson and Sam Dyson for the ninth inning. Mark Melancon, who got a record deal to be the closer, is not viewed as durable enough at this point because of his own injury issues. Watson and Dyson have been having strong seasons, and Bochy said one of them will get the lion’s share of the save opportunities. Rookie Pierce Johnson returned to take Strickland’s roster spot.