Results tagged ‘ Steve Holm ’

More position-player shuffling in store

SAN FRANCISCO — Manager Bruce Bochy sounded like an editor Wednesday when he said that adding catcher Steve Holm to the club will enable the Giants to have “better coverage.”

Bochy meant better coverage at catcher, a position Bengie Molina had manned for every inning of the previous 13 games. The Giants added Holm not just to serve as Molina’s occasional backup while Pablo Sandoval continues to play third base. Holm will enable the Giants to rest Molina in the late innings, sparing the veteran some wear and tear.

And, of course, Bochy still has the option of doing what he did Wednesday: Starting Sandoval behind the plate and inserting capable utilityman Juan Uribe at third. If Bochy had to remove Sandoval for some reason or switch him to another position, Molina could continue to rest, as long as Holm’s around.

Before the Giants could recall Holm, he had to heal a bruised right elbow he sustained when he was hit by a pitch on April 13. Holm rested a few days before playing Saturday and Sunday for Triple-A Fresno.

Most observers figured that the Giants would summon Holm at some point, given their stated desire to keep a three-catcher contingent (including Sandoval). But Holm himself assumed nothing.

“I didn’t know,” Holm said. “You don’t want to get caught up in stuff like that.”

As has been reported, Holm’s arrival shrank the pitching staff to 11, since reliever Alex Hinshaw was optioned to Fresno. But with only four scheduled off-days between May 1 and the All-Star break that begins July 13, San Francisco’s pitchers could be susceptible to fatigue, meaning another move will have to be made.

“My guess is we’ll go back to 12 (pitchers) at some point,” Bochy said.

Once the Giants feel that need, Holm won’t necessarily be the position player who disappears to the Minors. Eugenio Velez or Andres Torres could be vulnerable instead.

– Chris Haft

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

Holm keeps fighting

SAN FRANCISCO — If the Giants send Steve Holm to Triple-A Fresno to start the season, at least he’ll know he did everything to stay in the big leagues — and to earn his way back even before departing.

In Friday night’s exhibition against the A’s, Holm threw out a runner trying to steal and brilliantly engineered a 10th-inning double play by faking a throw to first base, then wheeling toward third, where Rajai Davis had strayed too far down the line. Holm, who had taken Travis Ishikawa’s throw to force a runner at the plate with the bases loaded, threw to third baseman Juan Uribe for the putout on Davis.

The instinct Holm displayed was Omar Vizquel-like. That’s how impressive it was.

“Good players have that clock in them, and he showed it on that play,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Stuff that Giants fans need to know

SAN FRANCISCO — Before Friday night’s exhibition against the Oakland A’s, Giants manager Bruce Bochy reiterated that the club’s braintrust is inclined to open the regular season with a 12-man pitching staff rather than an 11-man contingent.

Reasons are varied. Starters might not be prepared to pitch deep into games this early in the season. Rookie right-hander Joe Martinez might be well-suited for long relief duty, but if he is unavailable or not even on the team, the Giants will need multiple one-inning relievers to fill the “long” role.

Bochy acknowledged that the Giants might change their minds on this subject before they announce roster cuts, which could come as early as after Saturday’s game against the A’s in Oakland.

Also subject to change is the two-catcher versus three-catcher issue. The Giants are likely to keep Pablo Sandoval as their lone extra catcher — a considerable risk, given his status as the starting third baseman — and demote Steve Holm to Triple-A Fresno.

At the very least, Bochy gave Holm his due. “Steve Holm has played very well,” Bochy said of the Sacramento native, who entered the game batting .279. If it’s any comfort to Holm and his fans, Bochy indicated that the two-catcher plan might not last much beyond April, when the team has four scheduled off-days.

Quickies: The Giants and A’s mutually agreed to use designated hitters Friday, even though they were playing in a National League park. Bochy said that he didn’t want Randy Johnson, his starting pitcher, bothering with the task of hitting. “With Randy going today, we just want him to concentrate on pitching,” Bochy said.

– Left-hander Jonathan Sanchez, whose left index finger has sufficiently healed from his cooking accident, threw in the bullpen and, in Bochy’s words, is “good to go” and will start Sunday’s exhibition finale against the Dodgers. 

– The Giants will summon six players from Minor League camp to use as substitutes for their final two exhibitions: outfielder Mike McBryde, catcher Eli Whiteside, right-handers Keiichi Yabu and Ramon Ortiz, and infielders Matt Downs and Jake Wald.

– Chris Haft

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