Bochy: We're trying to win, not get people ready


Bochy: We're trying to win, not get people ready

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Giants-Pirates first pitch is at 1:30 on CSN Bay Area, followed by Giants Postgame Live!

SAN FRANCISCO There is no such thing as an official benching, but after four games on the pine, its safe to say Brandon Belt is no longer the Giants starting first baseman.

It took just three strikeout-stuffed games in Arizona for Bochy to turn away from Belt, who is not in the lineup for Fridays home opener at AT&T Park. And the manager was grilled something fierce about it.

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Im trying to put the team out there that has the best chance to win now, said Bochy, who has Nate Schierholtz in right field and Aubrey Huff at first base. We lost the first three (in Arizona). Were trying to get on track. Nate had good at-bats in Colorado.

Pressed further on Belt, Bochy made it clear he is not interested in developing players who arent ready.

Youve seen different lineups and weve put runs on the board, said Bochy, whose offense is averaging an NL-best 5.5 runs per game. Were doing what we want to do. Were going with the bats that are hot. Youll see us get settled into a regular lineup here. But were going with the guys who look comfortable now.

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Those comfortable names can change from week to week, Bochy said. Thats the nature of the game. Belt (1 for 11, five strikeouts) is not one of them and Bochy isnt willing to ride it out.

Were trying to win ballgames, Bochy said. Thats our only priority. Its not to get anybody ready.

He continued: Sometimes players dictate when they play.

The Giants continue to believe that Belt is best served to be in the big leagues, where he can work with the coaching staff to make changes in his stance and swing mechanics. Coaches believe he must move back in the box and stand more upright in order to drive fastballs middle-in.

Belt has been resistant to some degree, although his general attitude has not drawn any complaints. Perhaps Bochy believes that benching him will be an impetus to more fully embrace what the coaches want him to do.

In other pregame news, Bochy said Brian Wilson is physically fine but he wont use him for a third consecutive day. That is not unusual, and not only because Wilson threw more than 50 pitches over the previous two games. In the season-opening series at Arizona, the Diamondbacks didnt use closer J.J. Putz for a third consecutive save situation.

Giants sign veteran catcher Nick Hundley

Giants sign veteran catcher Nick Hundley

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants announced a one-year deal with catcher Nick Hundley on Tuesday, giving them a veteran backup behind Buster Posey. 

Hundley received a Major League deal worth about $2 million, putting him in pole position in the battle to be the second catcher. The 33-year-old has spent nine seasons in the big leagues, the majority of them with the Padres. He hit .260 with 10 homers last season with the Rockies. 

“His experience overall brings added value to our club,” general manager Bobby Evans said, noting that Hundley is very familiar with the NL West. “The attractive elements of his game and experience bring needed depth for us.” 

Hundley getting a Major League deal means he’s almost certainly ticketed for an opening day job, ousting incumbent Trevor Brown, who spent all of 2016 in the big leagues. Brown hit .237 with five homers in his first full big league season, but the Giants had quietly been looking for a more experienced option who could allow Brown — 25 years old and still relatively new to catching — to get additional seasoning in Triple-A. 

The Giants have not fully ruled out carrying three catchers. Brown, who was drafted as an infielder, occasionally takes ground balls at second and third, and there has been some discussion about a more varied role. 

“It is with some mixed feelings about how much to move him around off catching because catching is a very complex and difficult challenge,” Evans said. “When you move him around you don’t want to take away from what he’s doing behind the plate and at the same time you don’t want him to get hurt at another position. But (manager Bruce Bochy) and I have discussed the fact that we’ll look at him more at different positions this spring than we have in the past because we appreciate the value that he brings.”

The Giants have spent all offseason looking to add a third catcher to the mix, and if Brown is in Triple-A, they will have a third catcher on the 40-man roster who can be optioned back and forth. There will be veterans in camp on non-roster deals, including Tim Federowicz, but opt-out clauses may leave the depth chart short when the regular season arrives. 

In Hundley, the Giants have an option who should provide a little pop off the bench and lessen the drop off when Posey gets a day off. Evans said this move does not indicate that Posey will get additional rest or time at first base in 2017. He caught a career-high 122 games in 2016, winning his first Gold Glove Award. 

“The more we can keep Buster behind the plate and healthy, the stronger our team is,” Evans said. “The ideal is to keep him back there as much as possible and 120 (games) is a very fair target.”

Hundley, a native of the Northwest, is the second player signed to a big league deal this offseason, joining new closer Mark Melancon. The Giants do not expect to make another move of significance. To clear a 40-man roster spot, Ehire Adrianza was designated for assignment. If the Giants can’t line up a minor trade, Adrianza will return to the organization.

Dodgers trade top pitching prospect to Rays for 2B Forsythe

Dodgers trade top pitching prospect to Rays for 2B Forsythe

The Dodgers' months-long search for a second baseman is over.

Los Angeles has acquired infielder Logan Forsythe from the Rays, the team announced Monday afternoon.

The Dodgers are sending top pitching prospect Jose De Leon to Tampa Bay.

In 127 games for the Rays in 2016, the 30-year-old Forsythe hit .264/.333/.444 with 24 doubles, 20 home runs and 52 RBI.

Forsythe is set to make $7 million in 2017 and has a team option worth $8.5 million or a $1 million buyout for 2018.

De Leon, 24, made his major league debut for the Dodgers during the 2016 season. In four starts, he posted a 6.35 ERA while striking out 15 batters in 17 innings. In 16 startts for Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2016, De Leon registered a 2.61 ERA and struck out 111 batters in just 86.1 innings.

A native of Puerto Rico, De Leon was recently ranked as the Dodgers' No. 3 prospect Baseball America.

For most of the offseason, the Dodgers had been linked to Twins second baseman Brian Dozier, but the two sides couldn't come together on a deal.