Bochy plans to stick with Belt in second half


Bochy plans to stick with Belt in second half

PITTSBURGH -- This morning's pregame session with Giants manager Bruce Bochy was mostly a first-half summation and second-half look-ahead, which I'll save for my midseason review.

But Bochy did respond to a question about what his lineup strategy would be when the season resumes on Friday, and specifically what he'll do at first base.

Bochy said he plans to stick with the same lineup, and he'll stay the course with Brandon Belt. After a torrid run in mid-June, Belt is struggling to put the ball in play again. He's 1 for 13 with two walks and eight strikeouts on the road trip, and is sitting today with Buster Posey at first base.

"He's out of sync at the plate, his timing is off and his confidence is shaken a little bit," said Bochy, adding that Belt didn't see the ball at all Saturday against the Pirates' James McDonald. "He's one guy who usually doesn't chase pitches. He's chasing more than we're accustomed to. We'd like to get him back to being more patient and getting his walks."

Counterintuitively, Belt has been much, much better against left-handed pitching. That's part of a team-wide trend. The Giants are 17-9 against lefty starters but a game under .500 against right-handers. Jered Weaver, Mat Latos and, most recently, McDonald had their way with them.

So while the assumption has been that the Giants will try to acquire a right-handed power-hitter for the bench, they need their existing personnel to do more damage against right-handers, too.

Whether the opposing pitcher throws left-handed, right-handed or kicks the ball to the plate, the Giants need to be better with runners in scoring position, Bochy said. Their .262 average ranks ninth among the 30 major league clubs, but they're tied for 28th with a .224 average with runners in scoring position. Their .184 mark with two outs and RISP is the second worst in the majors, better than only the wretched San Diego Padres.

One guy who could help, at least in theory, is Aubrey Huff. Bochy said there remains a chance he could be activated on Friday, but the fact he had a knee setback makes that a bit less likely.

"We'll see how the next two or three games go," Bochy said.

Recently released Giants pitcher signs with Braves

Recently released Giants pitcher signs with Braves

Reliever David Hernandez wasn't out of work very long.

Just two days after being granted his release by the Giants, the veteran right-hander agreed to a deal with the Braves.

Atlanta announced the deal on Sunday.

The 31-year-old Hernandez was due a $100,000 retention bonus if he was still with the Giants on March 28. But the Giants informed him that he would not be making the Opening Day roster, so he asked to be released so he could pursue other opportunities.

In six games this spring, Hernandez allowed seven hits and three earned runs in 5.2 innings.


Ex-Giants pitcher doesn't make Mariners rotation, optioned to Triple-A

Ex-Giants pitcher doesn't make Mariners rotation, optioned to Triple-A

Chris Heston's bid to make the Mariners' Opening Day rotation came up short.

The former Giants pitcher was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma on Sunday morning, Seattle announced.

Traded by San Francisco to Seattle in December, Heston struggled in his first spring with the Mariners. The 28-year-old allowed 14 hits and nine earned runs in 11.2 innings over five appearances.

Heston, who was a major part of the Giants rotation in 2015, pitched in 38 games over three seasons in San Francisco. He compiled a 4.16 ERA and struck out 148 batters in 188 innings.

The highlight of Heston's time with the Giants came on June 9, 2015 when he no-hit the the Mets in New York. He struck out 11 and walked none, but hit three batters.

In addtion to Heston, the Mariners also re-assigned former Giants reliever Jean Machi and former A's pitcher Cody Martin.