MIAMI -- Left field has been somewhat of a question mark this season for the Giants and manager Bruce Bochy. Hunter Pence was thought to be the answer, when the team moved him over from right, where during 12 Major League seasons he had logged 1,395 games.The acquisition of right
MIAMI -- Left field has been somewhat of a question mark this season for the Giants and manager Bruce Bochy. Hunter Pence was thought to be the answer, when the team moved him over from right, where during 12 Major League seasons he had logged 1,395 games.
The acquisition of right fielder Andrew McCutchen shook things up in the Giants' outfield. Bochy said the ensuing juggling act in left field is simply a product of the current roster.
"I think more than anything it is the way we were set up," Bochy said. "We had Pence starting out as our guy out there in left field."
But Pence struggled at the plate more than anticipated, hitting just .146 to start the season before missing 40 games with a right thumb sprain. He has since picked it up, going 5-for-17 (.294) with a double and two RBIs in nine games (four starts) upon his return.
But in his absence presented an opportunity in left field for many of his teammates, who produced varying success. In all, eight Giants have played left field this season, including Austin Jackson, who made his debut there on Wednesday, going 1-for-3 with an RBI.
"He's been getting some work out there, and I want to mix all these guys in, giving them some playing time," Bochy said. "We'll go with the hot bat or maybe the matchup we like that night. Doesn't mean that doesn't change. But [Jackson] was swinging the bat pretty good there in Washington."
Making the most of his limited opportunites, Jackson has been on a tear lately, hitting .318 (14-for-44) with four doubles in his last 21 games. He's still seeking his first home run of the season, and of Jackson's 34 hits on the year, 27 are singles.
Early in the season, Jackson spent much of his time in center field. Now that Gorkys Hernandez is beginning to settle in at that position, Bochy said he spoke with Jackson about making the move to left field and becoming comfortable with that position.
Bochy said he has no intentions of playing Jackson in right field at the moment.
Mac Williamson, who was called up from Triple-A on April 20, got the start in left field on Thursday and could complicate things even further if he can reproduce anything close to the .446 batting average with eight homers and 23 RBIs he hit in just 16 games with Sacramento this season.
The jury is still out. Giants left fielders have combined for a .233 batting average with six homers and 24 RBIs entering the final game of a four-game set in Miami.
Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami.