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Slater providing pop for Giants in left field

Bochy impressed with No. 17 prospect's production
MLB.com

DETROIT -- Austin Slater has run into very little friction on his way up to the Majors. Since his pro debut in 2014, he's never batted lower than .290 at any of his Minor League stops for which he played at least 20 games.

That's probably why Giants manager Bruce Bochy surmised that in Slater's first few games with San Francisco, nerves factored into his performance. Since then, however, Slater has been streaking for the Giants as he continues to prove his worth in left field.

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DETROIT -- Austin Slater has run into very little friction on his way up to the Majors. Since his pro debut in 2014, he's never batted lower than .290 at any of his Minor League stops for which he played at least 20 games.

That's probably why Giants manager Bruce Bochy surmised that in Slater's first few games with San Francisco, nerves factored into his performance. Since then, however, Slater has been streaking for the Giants as he continues to prove his worth in left field.

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"You look at his history, he's moved up the ladder at a pretty good pace here," Bochy said. "And he's handled every level. ... Now he's settled in, confidence is back, and I think he realizes he can play here."

Slater, taken by the Giants in the eighth round of the 2014 Draft out of Stanford, is tied for second on the team in home runs (3) and fourth in batting average (.338) in the past 30 days. This is despite hitting 3-for-17 (.176) with four strikeouts in his first five games.

Expectations were reasonably high for Slater, 24, given both his Minor League track record and his MLBPipline.com ranking as the No. 17 prospect in the Giants' system. His production as a left fielder has been particularly helpful to San Francisco, which had lacked offensive potency at that position.

Aside from Slater, 12 other players have played left and compiled a .204 average with 28 RBIs in 64 games. He's hitting .333 (24-for-72) with 12 RBIs in 20 games at that spot entering Tuesday.

"We weren't getting much [offense] there, to be honest, and he's given us that," Bochy said. "That's a position that you're normally looking for offensive production, and we weren't getting it until he got out there."

Worth noting

Buster Posey served as the Giants' designated hitter on Tuesday for the third time this season and 21st time in his career. Bochy said it's a chance to give Posey some rest and keep fellow catcher Nick Hundley, who is batting .306 since June 8, in the lineup.

"I might DH [Posey] tomorrow, too," Bochy said. "Then he'll catch the last game. This way I can run him out, play him every game until the All-Star break."

Eduardo Nunez, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list June 23 with a hamstring strain, was taking grounders on the field before Tuesday's game. Nunez played part of one game on June 30 for Triple-A Richmond, but Bochy said Nunez "just didn't quite feel right.

"He felt some discomfort," Bochy added. "We brought him back here, he's going to continue to get treatment and we'll wait until he feels closer to 100 percent."

Jordan Horrobin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit.

San Francisco Giants, Austin Slater