Tuesday’s postgame move: Hinshaw out, Holm returns; etc.
SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants re-entered the mode they appeared to favor during much of Spring Training — using an 11-man pitching staff and employing three catchers — by optioning left-hander Alex Hinshaw to Triple-A Fresno and recalling Steve Holm after Tuesday’s 8-3 victory over San Diego.<p/>
To answer the question that seemed to be on everybody’s lips, Pablo Sandoval, the everyday third baseman, will still catch Wednesday afternoon’s series finale, as manager Bruce Bochy had announced before Tuesday’s game.
Asked about the timing of the move, Bochy said “it’s getting at that point” where an extra catcher is necessary. Using Sandoval to catch even occasionally is risky, since the Giants don’t want to lose their regular third baseman to one of those injuries that easily strikes catchers.
Besides, Bochy said, “I’m getting concerned about wearing Bengie down, even though it’s early (in the season).” Molina caught every inning of the Giants’ first 13 games.<p/>
Hinshaw, who had an 8.44 ERA in seven appearances, might have been demoted no matter what he did in Tuesday’s game. But he didn’t help himself by falling behind on the count 3-1 against a left-handed batter, Brian Giles, who ultimately singled. Hinshaw did retire Adrian Gonzalez, another left-handed hitter, to end the game. But Hinshaw, who walked five in 5 1/3 innings, might not return until his command does, also.
Besides, with two more scheduled off days coming up each of the next two Thursdays and the starting pitchers beginning to work deeper into games, the Giants figure that they can afford shrinking the staff from 12 to 11.
This has nothing to do with anything, but I must confess that sometimes I’m a little TOO old-school.
When Molina just missed tagging out two runners at home plate on the same play Tuesday, my first thought was, “Luke Sewell.” Luke Sewell caught for 20 years in the big leagues between 1921 and 1942 and was good enough to be an All-Star. With Washington in 1933, he also tagged out Lou Gehrig and Dixie Walker at home on the same play. I remembered this because I read about it in “This Great Game,” an early 1970s coffee-table book stuffed with outstanding photographs and historical perspective. I also read a recollection of this play rendered by my patron baseball-writing saint, Roger Angell.
But a Google search revealed a list compiled by Society of American Baseball Research members David Smith and David Vincent, who compiled a list of similar plays — although there have been only about six others remotely like it. Luke Sewell’s was the oldest, chronologically. I swear, sometimes I think I’m a living, breathing rotary phone.
– Chris Haft