Giants kick around notion of Arias in outfield

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Giants kick around notion of Arias in outfield

HOUSTON Joaquin Arias leads all major leaguers with a .426average in August, and as you might expect, the Giants are trying to deviseways to get his bat in the lineup.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy even asked Arias last week if the27-year-old would feel comfortable in left field. Arias, who has played all oftwo major league innings in the outfield, said he would be willing to give it atry.

Bochy also acknowledged the staff has kicked around thepossibility of putting Arias at second base and Marco Scutaro in left field.But Bochy termed those plans as longshots, and neither Arias nor Scutaro has begun taking flyballs.

Weve already got (Ryan) Theriot out there, Bochy said.We dont want to make it look too much like a tryout.

The most likely spot to wedge Arias into the lineup is thirdbase, actually. Pablo Sandoval is in a 2-for-14 slump over his past four gamesand is hitting just .220 with no home runs in 15 games since returning from thedisabled list because of a strained hamstring.

His timing is just off, Bochy said of Sandoval. Hes latewith his setup. When youre fouling balls off, youre late. Youre not ready.He went through this when he came back from his last injury, and right when hecame out of it, he got hurt again.

Balance is key for all hitters. Hes got great balance whenhes going well. He can get out in front and still get a base hit, but what youwant to do is stay back.

Arias isnt in Thursdays lineup as the Giants go for athree-game sweep at Minute Maid Park, but he is available off the bench despitegetting hit by a pitch on his left wrist Wednesday night.
NEWS: Giants lineup -- Crawford in

Bochy said he wouldve put Arias in the outfield Tuesday ifhe had to pinch hit for left fielder Gregor Blanco, which almost happened.

The manager also pointed out that Arias was asked to try centerfield shortly after the Texas Rangers acquired him from the Yankees in 2005 before injuring his shoulder out there. (He never played an inning in the outfield in parts of 10 minor league seasons, though. Maybe the injury occurred in instructional league or the spring?)

However his injury occurred, Arias shoulder issues kept him fromfulfilling his potential as a top prospect. In a well traveled anecdote, theRangers selected him over a list of other prospects that included Robinson Canoto complete the Alex Rodriguez trade.

As Matt Cain can confirm, Arias' arm strength isn't an issue anymore.

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In other pregame news, Madison Bumgarner is already on hisway to Chicago for Fridays 1:20 p.m. (CDT) start. Bochy said he plans toevaluate his players after Thursday nights game before he decides who will beOK to make the quick turn and play at Wrigley Field. Good chance Buster Poseywill be at first base, or off entirely.

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This is the last time the Giants will face the HoustonAstros as a member of the senior circuit. The Astros are moving to the AmericanLeague West next season. This is a wistful development for Bochy, who wasdrafted and developed in Houstons system and made his big league debut inthose glorious orange and yellow-striped polyester uniforms.

Itll take some getting used to, Bochy said.

Cubs outfielder vows he didn't give Trump the middle finger at White House

Cubs outfielder vows he didn't give Trump the middle finger at White House

WASHINGTON – Albert Almora Jr. didn’t use Wednesday’s Oval Office photo op as a subtle form of political protest, but it did sort of look like the Cubs outfielder gave President Donald Trump the middle finger, at least from that angle in an image that went viral on Twitter.    

“There was two fingers! Look closely, there was two fingers!” a veteran player yelled across the room as reporters gathered around Almora’s locker inside the visiting clubhouse at Nationals Park. 

“Guys were giving me a hard time about it,” Almora said, “but I pointed out the second finger. We’re all good.”

In another White House visit that didn’t look nearly as unofficial or informal as the Cubs said it would be, one snapshot became Almora with part of his left hand in his pocket. Almora stood near Kris Bryant – who held a 45 Wrigley Field scoreboard panel – and Trump at his desk with the World Series trophy.

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate,” Almora said with a laugh. “I’m getting ready to take a picture and I’m posing there. But you guys know that I would never do that to the president of the United States. 

“I respect everybody. It is what it is. We laugh about it now, but there’s definitely two fingers out there.”

READ MORE AT CSNChicago.com

Giants notes: Melancon gets injection; Kontos gets an at-bat

Giants notes: Melancon gets injection; Kontos gets an at-bat

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants were annoyed by Monday’s “rubbing teammates the wrong way” report for a number of reasons, but near the top of the list was the fact that the target, Mark Melancon, has been pitching hurt to try and help a last-place team. That’s no longer the case. 

Melancon went on the DL on Wednesday morning and later had a PRP (platelet rich plasma) injection in his right arm to try and ease some of the discomfort in his pronator. He is expected to be out the rest of the first half. Melancon would be eligible to return with two games left until the break, but there’s no point in rushing him. He missed 12 games the first time this came up and he now has more than two weeks to rest before the second half kicks off. 

In the meantime, Sam Dyson is the closer, but he was unavailable Wednesday because of a heavy workload. So Bruce Bochy got creative to close out a 5-3 win over the Rockies. George Kontos came on for a sharp Ty Blach in the seventh and carried the lead to the eighth. Steven Okert got through the 26th out and Hunter Strickland came in to get Ian Desmond to fly out for his first save of the year. 

Because Bochy wanted Kontos to face Pat Valaika in the eighth, he got an at-bat 15 hours after Cory Gearrin got to take his hacks. It at first looked like Kontos had “don’t swing” orders, but he fouled a ball off. 

“The second fastball I got, if it was near the plate, I was going to swing,” he said. 

Kontos said he doesn’t have bragging rights over Gearrin because he fouled a ball off, noting that Gearrin is 1 for 2 in his career and he is 0 for 8. It turns out that they used the same bat, too. Yes, there is a Cory Gearrin model.

“It’s just been hanging out since last year,” Gearrin said, looking down at his equipment bag. “Just in case.”

--- Dan Slania woke up a 4:30, drove to Philadelphia, and boarded a flight that was went down through Nashville to fuel up. He arrived in San Francisco in time for the second inning. And then he watched, met with old teammates, showered … and prepared to fly all the way back to Pennsylvania. 

“I’m going to pass out as soon as I get on the plane,” Slania said. 

He wasn’t complaining at all. The Giants needed a potential innings-eater with Melancon on the DL, and if Slania is sent back down before Friday’s game, he’ll at least be back near Double-A Richmond and the flight back will have been taken on a chartered jet with a bunch of former teammates. Plus he gets a couple of service days. 

“I can tell you it’s well worth it,” Bochy said. 

--- The main story today is about Jae-gyun Hwang, who brought some more life to a team that got its first sweep of the year. The standings are what they are, but the Giants are playing much better, and some players started talking Wednesday about how they’re looking forward to being a spoiler for teams like the Rockies and Diamondbacks. 

More than anything, the players are just happy that they got to listen to the victory soundtrack again and walk out of this park with smiles. 

“We did a really good job of coming into this series and decided what the intent should be,” Nick Hundley said. “We weren’t going to worry about what’s been going on. You control what you can control. It’s nice when the results match up.”

There was a players-only meeting on Monday and Hundley said “everybody got on the same page again.”

Now the tricky part: Keeping it going on the road. 

--- Nolan Arenado is a freak and the Giants should give him a blank check, a ton of Facebook stock, and the rights to the Salesforce building when he’s a free agent in two and a half seasons. 

--- Ryder Jones is hitless in 16 at-bats but he was keeping his head up. He was an inch or two from a double down the line Wednesday and the Giants feel he’s having good at-bats. More than anything, he's not taking those results into the field and he talked about that at length when we sat down for a podcast the other day. If you subscribe on iTunes here, you’ll have it in the morning.