Robertson's winter work intrigues Giants

September 2nd, 2020

developed a close relationship with former Giants infielder during their time together with the Rays. When Robertson learned last week he’d been traded to San Francisco, he quickly reached out to his old teammate to share the news.

“He’s a good buddy of mine,” Robertson said. “I texted him. I was like, ‘I'm going back to the House That Duffy Built.’”

Robertson was added to the Giants’ active roster on Tuesday to replace outfielder , who was placed on the 60-day injured list Monday with left elbow inflammation. A first-round Draft pick of the A’s in 2012, Robertson can play shortstop, third and second base and left field, showcasing the positional versatility the Giants have come to value under president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi.

The 26-year-old right-handed hitter debuted with the Rays in 2017 and had a .231/.340/.352 slash line with 16 home runs over 236 career games in the Majors. He has yet to make his ’20 debut.

Manager Gabe Kapler said Robertson could draw starts against left-handed pitching and give the Giants another versatile weapon off the bench. Robertson joined the taxi squad at the beginning of the road trip on Friday and impressed the coaching staff with his defensive work around the infield.

“He definitely stood out on the dirt when he was taking ground balls over the last couple of days,” Kapler said. “He’s done a nice job of moving from third base to shortstop and getting work at both positions. It definitely gives us another defensive option and a good right-handed bat against a tough lefty.”

Robertson emerged as a solid contributor for the Rays in 2018, but he was limited to 74 games last year after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in June. Following the campaign, he began working with hitting guru Doug Latta in Southern California to try to overhaul his swing and recapture the form he enjoyed in ’18.

Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner is one of Latta’s most prominent success stories, and Kapler said Robertson’s setup is reminiscent of Turner’s.

“I've been spending a lot of time kind of watching him go through his work in batting practice, and his work in the cage,” Kapler said. “Really, really interesting setup, not that dissimilar to how Justin Turner sets up in the batter's box, which I think is kind of interesting. His bat is pretty vertical, and he has a nice stable base with his feet and his lower half. The work that he's done has been really good thus far, and we're excited to see that translate to the batter's box and to the dirt.”

Robertson said the Giants’ hitting coaches are familiar with Latta’s swing philosophies, which has helped him feel comfortable with his new organization.

“The transition is easy when you don't have to come in and explain why you're doing what you're doing swing-wise and when everyone's kind of on board with the same thoughts and same mindset,” Robertson said.

Injury updates
• Pitchers (right shoulder inflammation) and (left index finger sprain) were scheduled to throw live batting practice at the Giants’ alternate training site in Sacramento on Tuesday. The veteran starters are facing a bit of a time crunch with less than a month left in the regular season, but Kapler said the club wants to be cautious and evaluate them at each step to make sure their arms are bouncing back without issue.

“I think we want to continue to build them up slowly and thoughtfully and not rush it just because we're in a position where we're running out of games,” Kapler said.

• Outfielder (left groin strain) headed to Sacramento on Monday to continue his rehab and has resumed taking batting practice and hitting in simulated games. The Giants hope he’ll be ready to return this weekend against the D-backs.