Giants

Team USA's Leyland: Crawford 'the kind of guy you want on your team'

Team USA's Leyland: Crawford 'the kind of guy you want on your team'

Jim Leyland had a front-row seat of watching slick-fielding shortstop Brandon Crawford crush his heart as the Giants swept his Tigers in the 2012 World Series. Over four years later, Leyland is now all smiles as Crawford will be on his side this time. 

Earlier in the week, Crawford confirmed to Team USA manager Leyland that he intends to play for him in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

"I talked with him on the field during the playoffs [in 2014], and I expressed to him that he is -- without question -- one of my favorite players in the big leagues today," Leyland said to MLB.com. "I love the way he plays the game. I love the way he goes about his business."

Crawford hit .250/.308/.250 in the 2012 Fall Classic against Leyland's Tigers. 

"He is in, as of now," Leyland said on Crawford. "He's fired up about it, and so am I. I'm just thrilled about it, that he's accepted the invitation."

Crawford is coming off a season in which he won his second straight Gold Glove Award in arguably his best all-around season. The 29-year-old set a multitude of career highs in 2016, including batting average (.275), on-base percentage (.342), hits (155), triples (11), RBI (84), runs scored (67), and stolen bases (7). On defense, Crawford also set a career high in fielding percentage (.983). 

For Leyland, Crawford is the definition of a pure baseball player. "He's one of those guys where, to me, you talk about athletes and you talk about baseball players," Leyland added. "He's a baseball player. He's a good athlete, obviously, but I look for baseball players."

Notably, when Crawford beat Leyland in the World Series, it was the first of two rings he's won with the Giants in his six-year career. On the biggest stage, Crawford has continued to deliver. In 11 World Series games, Crawford has slashed .286/.350/.286 with 10 hits and five RBI.

"In just about every situation I've ever seen him, he makes big plays," said Leyland. "He does it all. He knocks in runs. He makes big plays in the field. He'll run into one [and hit a home run].

"He's a big-time player on a big stage. That's one of the reasons I was so interested in him. He's come out on top quite a bit. He's the kind of guy you want on your team."

Giants lineup: Hernandez takes over at top of the order

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USATSI

Giants lineup: Hernandez takes over at top of the order

Despite the Brewers starting a right-handed pitcher, Bruce Bochy is going with Gorkys Hernandez to set the table for the Giants Wednesday.

Milwaukee Brewers (66-61)

1. Jonathan Villar (S) 2B
2. Domingo Santana (R) RF
3. Ryan Braun (R) LF
4. Travis Shaw (L) 3B
5. Jesus Aguilar (R) 1B
6. Manny Pina (R) C
7. Keon Broxton (R) CF
8. Orlando Arcia (R) SS
9. Matt Garza (R) P

San Francisco Giants (51-77)

1. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
2. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 2B
3. Jarrett Parker (L) LF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
7. Carlos Moncrief (L) RF
8. Ryder Jones (L) 1B
9. Matt Moore (L) P

Bobby Evans opens up on Giants’ concussion issues this season

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AP

Bobby Evans opens up on Giants’ concussion issues this season

The injury bug has taken one unpredictable bite out of the Giants' 2017 season. Recently, they have been hit hard by concussions, both in the big leagues and with their top draft pick. 

San Francisco is currently without the right side of its infield in Brandon Belt and Joe Panik as they sit on the 7-day concussion DL. Heliot Ramos, who the Giants took No. 19 overall in the 2017 MLB Draft, is the latest to take a hit to the head

Ramos, 17, was hit by a pitch Sunday night in the Arizona Rookie League.

Giants GM Bobby Evans was asked in an interview with The Athletic Wednesday how the recent uptick in concussions have changed how the team handles the injury. 

I think the concern continues around the game and around all of sports. We are very much aware of the risks associated with not allowing a player to fully recover from one.

We want to make sure in every form that we get guys healthy and that they aren’t playing again until they are ready to go. That takes patience on our part, but I applaud the work of baseball to protect the player and obviously appreciate the diligence of what our medical staff does to continue to monitor even the smallest sign of a concussion.

Belt has now sustained four concussions in his career between college and pro ball. His return to the team this season is still up in the air. Panik, who was also concussed last season after getting hit in the head by now-teammate Matt Moore, played in his first rehab game Tuesday night with the Sacramento River Cats.

Along with Ramos, who was hitting .348 with six home runs at the time of his injury, top picks Jacob Gonzalez and Aaron Bond have impressed Evans with their play in the Rookie League. 

It’s tough to come into a league like that and hit for average and contribute the way that they have. They’ve put themselves in a very good position to start their careers. We are proud of them and are hopeful that we can continue to see more from them as they progress through the system.

Their regular season will end here shortly and then they will go into at some point an Instructional League and then move on to an offseason before they come in next spring. I think they’ve got to be very proud of what they have accomplished this season.