Gausman: 'No problem' with nebulous role

July 25th, 2020

For the second consecutive day, the Giants waited until the last minute to reveal their starting pitcher and lineup for Saturday afternoon’s game against the Dodgers.

Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts told reporters Saturday that he believed the delayed announcements, which flout the usual standards of etiquette around baseball, were a clear ploy by the Giants.

“It’s a little bit of gamesmanship, we’ll call it,” Roberts said before Saturday’s game. “To each their own."

Giants manager Gabe Kapler’s response?

"I don't really have strong feelings about that,” he said. “I certainly would want to read the comments first before having any sort of reaction to it."

The Giants will attempt to exploit every competitive edge they can to keep themselves afloat in this 60-game regular season, but their scheming hasn’t worked out well thus far. They were outscored by a 17-2 margin in their first two losses of the season to the Dodgers, revealing the significant talent gap that exists between them and their archrivals.

Kapler and his staff have tried to get the most out of their pitching staff with unconventional strategies, most notably using openers and bulk-inning pitchers, but their attempts to be disruptive have already been unsettling for their projected starters.

Right-hander signed a one-year, $9 million deal with the Giants in December, primarily because he believed San Francisco would be an ideal destination to try to rebuild his value as a starter. But Gausman ended up making his Giants debut out of the bullpen on Friday night. After a start by left-hander Tyler Anderson, Gausman entered the game in the third and gave up three runs (two earned) over four innings in the club’s 9-1 loss.

"I'm more of an old-school mentality,” Gausman said during a Zoom call with reporters on Saturday. “I think that there should be starters and there should be relievers. I think the whole opener thing kind of just gets a little tricky. It complicates things more than I think it needs to be. But I have no problem doing it."

Gausman said Kapler spoke with him at the beginning of camp and told him that he might be used in relief early in the season, especially against teams like the Dodgers, who are loaded with talented left-handed hitters like Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Joc Pederson and Corey Seager. Gausman believes the Giants will begin to ease into a more traditional starting rotation in the next couple of weeks once pitchers have more time to build up their arms, which he hopes will allow him to settle into more of a routine.

Kapler said he appreciated Gausman being forthright about his preference to start.

“I love that about Kevin,” Kapler said. “One of the things that you guys have heard us talk about in the clubhouse is we want pitchers and players to express themselves. We want them to share what's on their minds. It doesn't come as a surprise to me that Gausman would prefer to start games, and I support that. I support that ambition.

“Many times this season, Gausman will be handed the ball, and he will start games, and we will take him deep into games. I think he's going to be satisfied by that. Additionally, these are conversations that are ongoing. I think what is very clear and the most important part about this conversation is we knew where Kevin stood on the matter, and Kevin knew where we stood on the matter. We don’t have to agree on these things. At the end of the day, the job is to communicate and have people aware of expectations.”

Giants sign Herrmann
The Giants announced Saturday that they’ve signed catcher to a Minor League deal. Herrmann, 32, was added to the club’s player pool and its three-man taxi squad, which also includes outfielder Steven Duggar and left-hander Andrew Suárez.

A left-handed hitter, Herrmann has spent parts of eight Major League seasons with the Twins, D-backs, Mariners and A’s, batting .205 with a .626 OPS over 370 career games.

Worth noting
• Kapler said he expects third baseman Evan Longoria (right oblique strain) and first baseman Brandon Belt (right Achilles tendinitis) to return during the Giants’ upcoming series against the Padres at Oracle Park. The veteran corner infielders won’t be eligible to come off the injured list until Thursday, the third and final game of the series.

• Right-hander Jeff Samardzija, the Giants’ projected No. 2 starter, has not yet appeared in this opening series against the Dodgers. Kapler hasn’t shared details on when Samardzija will make his season debut.

“We have some good plans in place for Jeff,” Kapler said following Friday’s game.