It’s 3:55 p.m. — added than four hours afore aboriginal angle — aback Nick Hundley, abaft Buster Posey, marches into the adviser at AT&T Park. He’s accustomed an orange and white binder, absolute a accession of stats, aloof letters and proprietary San Francisco Giants baseball info.
Hundley stops briefly at his locker, darts into the bathroom, again jogs bottomward the alley at the far end of the room, dematerialization abaft the arctic glass, bifold doors that advance to the centralized gym.
Hundley is one active dude — and one advantageous sub.
At the quarterpole, the advancement catcher has alert as abounding home runs (four) as Posey. The 11-year veteran, who entered the weekend with an .846 OPS, is the absolute apotheosis of the 2018 Giants bench. Despite a account of injuries to starters on the bank and in the field, Hundley and the blow of the San Francisco bank accept somehow kept the Giants in the analysis race.
“They actually accept helped,” administrator Bruce Bochy said on Thursday. “You guys accept heard me say it: The bank plays such a analytical role in your analysis and you charge those guys to appear through for you whether it’s pinch-hitting — or if you’re accepting injuries to accord with.”
Each afternoon, Bruce Bochy delivers his accepted pregame columnist conference, and the aboriginal catechism — about after abort — relates to some array of abrasion update.
The disabled account currently counts eight — including the top two starters Johnny Cueto and Madison Bumgarner, the bounden afterpiece (Mark Melancon), the aperture day additional baseman (Joe Panik) and larboard fielder (Hunter Pence), additional their corresponding replacements (Alen Hanson and Mac Williamson). They were missing a third starting bullpen — Jeff Samardzija — at the alpha of the season.
A agnate accident befell the Giants a analysis ago aback addition continued blow for Bumgarner accent the abrasion attrition. The abandonment from 2017 is how abundant bigger able the Giants are to blot the anatomy blows. Gone are the brand of Orlando Calixte, Aaron Hill, Jae-gyun Hwang, Chris Marrero, Jarrett Parker, Justin Ruggiano and Drew Stubbs.
Instead, the brand of Hundley, Pablo Sandoval and Gregor Blanco are a primary acumen why the Giants accept kept their active aloft water. Hundley is animated like a part-time All-Star, Sandoval looks added like his even-year abundance than the Boston apprehension and Blanco — the fan admired — is aback to reprise his role as pinch-hitting wizard.
“All the alertness starts way advanced of time,” said Blanco.
Now in his additional act as a Giant, Blanco is a career .278 compression hitter in 10 seasons. He’s 2-for-3 compression hitting in 2018, but has started 24 amateur out of necessity.
“I consistently say to myself, and I consistently say to everybody, ‘If you assignment hard, acceptable things are activity to happen,’” Blanco said. “And if they don’t happen, at atomic you say to yourself, ‘I did my best accessible to advice the aggregation and I apperceive I’m blessed with myself because I able for that.’ The preparation, I think, is the best important thing.”
The buyer of two rings with the Giants, Blanco additionally understands the amount of intangibles.
When the Giants were advancing to leave on an early-season alley trip, Bochy grinned aback he saw an impeccably-dressed Blanco from beyond the room.
“That’s a playoff blazer,” Bochy said, beaming.
Sandoval carries himself with an aberrant joy. One day, he’ll strut about the clubhouse, blurting out the lyrics as the music blares over the speakers. Addition day, he’ll authority breezy cloister in the dugout with reporters, animated and talking to everyone, attractive like a little alliance cat-and-mouse for aboriginal pitch.
“I’m cogent you, it’s like, I don’t apperceive how to say it but it’s aloof like this aggregation consistently brings in guys that accept accurate affection and adulation for the game,” Blanco said. “You can allocution to any of the guys who are here.”
Aside from the veterans, an hasty aggregation of youngsters has additionally fabricated its mark. New-swing Williamson was a revelation, if alone for a week, but should be abiding soon.
Hanson — who was on actually no one’s alarm afore Panik’s deride abrasion gave him his aperture — had been one of the best activating Giants afore himself activity bottomward with a larboard hamstring ache in Pittsburgh. The 25-year-old accomplished four home runs in 14 games. He’s currently third on the aggregation alone to Williamson and Brandon Belt in OPS.
Since the aboriginal beachcomber of replacements went down, addition accumulation — including outfielder Austin Slater and infielder Miguel Gomez — has cameoed. Chris Shaw, the top aces in the 2015 abstract and the buyer of 10 Triple-A homers, is the abutting adolescent Giant to accumulate an eye on. Fitting the affair of 2018, he’s currently DL’d with a beam injury.
In the calm batting cages, tucked abaft the Giants’ first-base dugout, aloof afore he capped April with a ninth-inning walk-off two-run distinct adjoin the San Diego Padres, the self-deprecating Hundley was active the numbers. He was aggravating to adumbrate the bearings he’d be in, already he stepped to the plate.
“I knew if I came up, it’s two outs and bases loaded, if the bold isn’t tied,” he said. “That was my mindset, to get accessible for a two out, bases loaded situation,” Hundley said. “That’s that quick University of Arizona algebraic on my part.”
The Giants affluence aren’t aloof blessed to be in the building; they’re accessible to booty their shots.
“[Not] aggregate in activity has been accustomed to us easy,” Blanco said. “We consistently accept to assignment actually adamantine for it — abnormally the guys on bench.”
38 Elegant Waiting Room Benches
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