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Austin not left out when Posey moves to first

Giants newcomer starts in outfield spot he last played in 2016
@mi_guardado
April 10, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Tuesday that he had hoped to wait until next week to deploy Tyler Austin in the outfield, but he reversed course for Wednesday afternoon's series finale against the Padres. With Buster Posey manning first base and Brandon Belt out of the starting

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Tuesday that he had hoped to wait until next week to deploy Tyler Austin in the outfield, but he reversed course for Wednesday afternoon's series finale against the Padres.

With Buster Posey manning first base and Brandon Belt out of the starting lineup against San Diego left-hander Nick Margevicius, Austin made his first career start in left field and his first appearance at the position since 2016. He went 1-for-3 with a single before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning of the Giants' 3-1 loss.

"I changed my mind on that," Bochy said, "We're putting Buster at first base, so [Austin gets] some work today. We're going to take a look at it today. This allows Belt to get a day off. It keeps Austin's bat in there against a left-hander. He's played some outfield, and he's had a couple games here to have a little bit of a chance to get settled in. We're going to put him out there. Hopefully this will work out because this will allow him to get a little more playing time When Buster goes to first base, we can put him in left field."

Austin, who was acquired from the Twins on Monday, played outfield in the Minors, though the majority of his starts came in right field. He's logged a handful of appearances in the outfield since breaking into the Majors, but he was primarily used as a first baseman and designated hitter last season.

"He's got the speed to play out there," Bochy said. "He does have some experience. It's just been a while, so it's going to be a case where he's just got to get acclimated to our left field. Especially in the day games. Left field can be the toughest outfield position here [because of the sun]."

Austin, 27, reached base safely in four of his seven plate appearances in his first two games with the Giants, a major reason why the club wanted to keep his bat in the lineup against another left-hander on Wednesday. Yangervis Solarte, a switch-hitter, also started at second base over Joe Panik for the third consecutive game.

"I do like the way he's swinging the bat right-handed," Bochy said of Solarte. "I think it's fair to say we've had our struggles against left-handers, so I like the lineup that we can throw out there now against left-handers. I just think it's much better presentation."

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.