Bochy drops hints at Giants playoff roster


Bochy drops hints at Giants playoff roster

SAN DIEGO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy is "real close" to coming up with a 25-man roster for the NL Division Series, with a lean toward keeping 11 pitchers and 14 position players.

And yes, in the roundtable discussions, the names J.T. Snow and Eric Young were mentioned.

The Giants didn't carry Young as a pinch runner in that division series against the Marlins, which haunted them when Snow was thrown out at the plate trying to score from second base. And just like that, a 100-win team got bounced from the postseason.

"That was talked about some," said Bochy, who has several coaches who were part of that group in 2003. "You do look at previous rosters and situations that might have come up, whether you need that extra pinch runner, pinch hitter or position player."

In this case, it would mean carrying Emmanuel Burriss or Justin Christian -- a pretty incredible story, in either case, when you consider that both players have been designated for assignment and then unexpectedly re-added to the 40-man roster.

And it would give Aubrey Huff a realistic shot of making the team as a pinch hitter. Huff is starting at first base in Sunday's lineup.

Bochy reiterated that he plans to use his fifth starter as a relief pitcher in the postseason. That's still likely to be either Ryan Vogelsong or Barry Zito. It cannot be forgotten that Tim Lincecum, for all his struggles, takes the mound today in San Diego with a career-best streak of five consecutive road victories. It stands to reason that Lincecum would get the ball when the Giants hit the road for Game 3, likely at Cincinnati.

I was told today that Lincecum absolutely would be one of the postseason starters, unless he has an absolutely disastrous start at Petco Park that would reopen the conversation.

As for their relief choices, squeezing down to an 11-man staff would set up an apparent eitheror choice between Guillermo Mota and George Kontos. The other five spots are locks: Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla and Jose Mijares.

If it seems like the Giants face a lot of uncertainty ... well, just look around baseball and you'll realize how good they have it. With one more victory or a Reds loss, the Giants are guaranteed to be the No.3 seed. That means they'll open at home on Oct. 6 and 7. They're the only team in the majors that can be relatively assured of when and where they'll play.

"We pretty much know what's ahead of us," Bochy said. "That's a sense of comfort."

Bochy is not comfortable, however, with some of the fundamental mistakes he's seen in recent days, especially from his middle infielders.

"We need to tighten up," Bochy said. "Where we've made our mistakes is with two of our better defenders. We've got to get our focus back on defense because any pitch, any play can make a difference when you get in the postseason.

"I don't think they're dropping their guard," Bochy added. "But you're seeing more careless errors than you should be."

If anyone needs a clean game, it's Lincecum.

Familiar faces trying to find success, health with Giants' Triple-A affiliate


Familiar faces trying to find success, health with Giants' Triple-A affiliate

SACRAMENTO -- A young man named Clayton Blackburn walked into the home clubhouse at Raley Field on Tuesday decked out in Round Rock gear. 

"You're here for my start?" he said, smiling.

Sorry, Clayton, I was on Panda Watch for two days. But it was fun watching Blackburn, DFA’d in a weird move earlier this year, face former teammates. Blackburn hasn't had a great season with Texas, but he is still just 24 and he has gotten into terrific shape. Given what happened during his call-up last year, you should root for him to get a second chance. 

Blackburn gave up three runs over six innings against his former team. The River Cats won on Jarrett Parker’s walk-off homer to dead center with two outs in the ninth. Parker was one of many familiar faces in the lineup Tuesday. Here are some thoughts on guys you know, and guys you will: 

--- Trevor Brown is the backup catcher in Sacramento, which is certainly a fall from his run as Buster Posey's backup. Brown is batting .168 in what has been a very frustrating season for him. The groin injury that slowed him early lingered, he had a concussion, and he hasn't been able to find any BABIP luck. This year seems a lost one for a guy who was a big part of 2016. I’m still intrigued by his versatility.

--- Chris Shaw is the latest podcast guest. You can stream it here. We talked about his power, his move to left, thinking he was a Ray, and more. I didn't see many at-bats, but I saw enough in left field to be confident he'll be fine out there. 

--- Parker started in center field and made a nice running catch at the wall. He wouldn't hold up as a big league center fielder, but perhaps the Giants should throw him out there a few times down the stretch to see if he can be a backup option next season. Parker said he finally found his swing over the past few games. His rehab assignment ends in about a week, and he’s expected back in San Francisco. 

--- Reyes Moronta, who spent a day in the majors in May, was promoted to Triple-A. In his first inning, Drew Stubbs took him deep. I found that quirky. It's been a long season with far too many transactions. 

--- If Steven Duggar would stay healthy, he would probably make it up to SF in September. Unfortunately, his hamstring was tight again this week, keeping him out of San Jose’s lineup for a few days. Speaking of health: Tyler Beede’s groin injury will keep him out longer than just the standard DL time … Melvin Upton Jr. is still in Sacramento rehabbing a shoulder injury, but he’s not throwing yet so it’s hard to picture him making any noise before September call-up time …Christian Arroyo is in Arizona rehabbing from hand surgery. 

--- Derek Law was smiling because Derek Law is always smiling. He has a 4.32 ERA but said he feels much better than those results. “My slider is back,” Law said. He should be, too, when the Giants expand their roster. There are some other interesting relievers in Sacramento. A first baseman told me opposing hitters grumble about facing D.J. Snelten (1.84 ERA) and Tyler Rogers has a 1.94 ERA as a dirt-scraping right-hander. 

--- A teammate predicted Carlos Moncrief would hit .270 in the big leagues if called up, and he ended up getting that call Wednesday morning. Moncrief is a fun clubhouse addition. He gave Sandoval some good-natured heckling for talking to reporters after going 1 for 4. 

--- The Giants have had a lot of veterans visit San Jose this season. They all bought the postgame spread, but word around the block is that Madison Bumgarner provided the best meal. He had steak and lobster delivered to San Jose Muni. 

Eduardo Nunez 'forever grateful' for his time spent with the Giants

Eduardo Nunez 'forever grateful' for his time spent with the Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — Eduardo Nuñez left San Francisco in a strange way. The third baseman was traded in the middle of Tuesday night’s game and mostly said his goodbyes in a stairwell behind the home dugout at AT&T Park. Before joining the Red Sox, Nuñez took to his social media pages to send a message to the Giants and their fans. 

On Twitter, Nuñez thanked the organization for “the great opportunity and experiences learned” and wished the team the best of luck. His Instagram message was a bit longer. 

“I will be forever grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this amazing team,” Nuñez wrote. “I value the experiences learned during my time here and I will miss my teammates, the fans, and the beautiful city of San Francisco very much. Best wishes to the Giants organization during the rest of this season. God Bless.”

Nuñez is expected to join the Red Sox on Friday. Boston’s manager, John Farrell, told reporters that his new infielder will get “a high number of at-bats” despite the presence of top prospect Rafael Devers. 

"This is someone who's swinging the bat very well right now,” Farrell said, according to "A high energy player that can run the bases well. He’s got really good line drive power so his .300-plus batting average to mix into this lineup is a good addition."