SAN FRANCISCO -- Gabe Kapler and several Giants players have been kneeling for the national anthem this year to protest police brutality and systemic racism in America, issues that rose to the forefront of the national consciousness following the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer in May.
Those topics continued to weigh on Kapler’s mind in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man who was shot multiple times in the back by police officers in Kenosha, Wis., on Sunday. Blake’s father told reporters on Tuesday that his son is currently paralyzed from the waist down. The shooting, which was captured on cellphone video, ignited a new wave of protests over racial injustice in cities across the country.
“It was tough,” Kapler said Tuesday. “When George Floyd was murdered, many spoke up and said that our outrage couldn't simply be a thing of the moment but should be sustained. We should have a push for real change. What happened to Jacob Blake is just another reminder that systemic racism and racial inequality don't go away simply because we lose our focus or because we get tired. We have to keep fighting for the most equal and just society because change is not coming without us speaking up and taking action.”
Kapler, who has used his platform to voice support for the Black Lives Matter movement, said he discussed the Blake shooting during his meeting with his coaching staff prior to Tuesday’s series opener against the Dodgers.
“We continue to think that it’s as important to discuss as any other topic, including baseball,” Kapler said. “It came up today in our advanced meeting, and it’s something that we wanted to bring to the forefront.”
Giants mull outfield options
Kapler said the Giants continue to examine other possibilities at their alternate training site in Sacramento, including prospect Jaylin Davis, Joey Rickard and Daniel Robertson, who was acquired from the Rays on Sunday. Robertson, 26, has primarily played the infield in the Majors, but Kapler said he is viewed as an option in left field as well.
“I think it was 2018 that he played some left field,” Kapler said. “He's very comfortable playing the outfield. I had this conversation specifically with him. He's also very comfortable at shortstop, second base or third base, so it just gives us a number of options as we have with some of our other guys that can move around.”
• Jeff Samardzija (right shoulder inflammation) and Drew Smyly (left index finger sprain) are scheduled to throw bullpen sessions at Oracle Park on Wednesday. It will be the first for Samardzija and the second for Smyly, who will increase his intensity by throwing to a catcher behind the plate. Smyly threw to a catcher in front of the plate his first time off the mound.
• Reyes Moronta (right shoulder surgery) continues to throw bullpen sessions twice a week at Sacramento and could progress to facing hitters in live batting practice as early as next week. The Giants are optimistic that Moronta will be able to return to the Majors before the end of the season.