Giants notes: Infield practice becomes fixture, Arias' role, etc.

Giants notes: Infield practice becomes fixture, Arias' role, etc.
July 28, 2013, 12:15 pm
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We have met the enemy and it is us
Bruce Bochy



In 61 games this season Joaquin Arias is hitting .289 with 10 RBI. (AP)

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' underground batting cage was crowded before Sunday's series finale against the Cubs after manager Bruce Bochy elected to use the team's pregame time on the field to focus on defense, forgoing the customary batting practice.

And the infield practice isn't going away. Sunday's infield was the extensive version, complete with outfield throws to home and double plays, but pregame defense will be a mainstay for the last place Giants going forward.

"It's going to be part of their routine," Bochy said. "Not every day. Maybe a couple times a week. But the other part -- adding the infield work and outfield work -- that's going to be every day."

The manager was watching as Andres Torres' throw to the plate sailed wide to the backstop, Joaquin Arias dropped a throw down to second and Tony Abreu fumbled a ground ball. For a team that has made seven errors in its last four games and leads all of baseball with 76 mistakes this season, it wasn't a welcome sight.

"We have met the enemy and it is us," Bochy quoted.

The Giants found ways to beat themselves in each of the first two games against the Cubs, and the manager is taking drastic measures to send a message to his team that it cannot continue. A few team staff members couldn't recall the last full infield, but it could have been way back in March in spring training.

"When you get called for infield practice," Jeff Francoeur said, "you know you're in trouble."

With 59 games still remaining, the Giants are in trouble in the standings. They're looking up at everyone in the NL West, where they trail the first-place Dodgers by nine games.

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"You have to be able to handle these things up here," Bochy said. "You have no choice."

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Joaquin Arias received his second consecutive start at shortstop against a lefty on Sunday, and Bochy was asked if he envisions a platoon at shortstop.

"We'll see," Bochy said. "I'll give Crawford a few more days off the second half."

Bochy indicated he likes having Arias on his bench, as a player who can put together productive pinch hit at-bats late in games and can play capable defense at multiple positions. Don't call it a platoon, but Bochy wants Arias' bat in the lineup and benching Crawford, who's logged plenty of innings this year and struggles against left-handed pitching, made the most sense.

Crawford has played in 97 of the Giants' 103 games this year. His 11 errors rank fourth most among MLB shortstops.

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Guillermo Moscoso is here at AT&T Park with his new club. He'll be activated Sunday, but not until Bruce Bochy and his staff talk to the players involved and finalize their decision about replacing him on the 25- and 40-man roster.

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Bochy is keeping Brandon Crawford and Gregor Blanco out against Cubs lefties this series, but he's leaving Brandon Belt in.

The manager acknowledged the team considered removing Belt from Sunday's lineup as well, but noted that the first baseman is currently putting together better at-bats against left-handers than the shortstop.

Crawford is batting .207 in 111 at-bats against southpaws this season, significantly lower than Belt's .284 mark.

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