As Giants go down quietly, Mac Williamson gets rehab assignment off to rocking start


SAN FRANCISCO — The Colorado Rockies had three outfielders Friday night, as teams do. Those guys did not catch a single fly ball until the 27th out. The Giants, as you can tell, had quite the boring night offensively, but that doesn’t mean the organization didn’t provide intrigue. You just had to go down to Triple-A to find it. 

Mac Williamson started a rehab assignment with the River Cats and homered the first night back. Before the game, manager Bruce Bochy said the team did not plan on adding Williamson or any other hitters for a two-game set in Houston next week. Perhaps Friday’s showing in the big leagues, and Williamson’s proof that his swing remains lethal, will change some minds. You would think the Giants would want him taking aim at the short porch at Minute Maid Park. 

At some point, the team that spent the offseason preaching improved outfield defense will also have to come to terms with the situation in center. The 6-1 loss did not swing on any one play, but it stood out a bit when Austin Jackson could not chase down an RBI double with the Giants down a pair. Ian Desmond’s knock to left-center had a hit probability of just 45 percent but Jackson came up seven feet short, per Statcast. He has been worth negative-8 defensive runs saved through a quarter of the season, and if he keeps that up for a full year, he’ll surpass Denard Span’s negative-27 from a year ago.

So again, we go down to the minors, for this catch from Steven Duggar. The Giants wanted their center fielder of the future to force his way up here, but Duggar has slumped to an OPS under .700. He won't get the call until he finds his swing. In the meantime, an easier fix may be to move Gorkys Hernandez — who hit his third homer to provide the only offense — to center, with Gregor Blanco, and install Williamson back in left on a full-time basis. 

Bochy usually doesn’t hint at moves publicly, but team officials discuss the roster on a daily basis. Perhaps this series with the Rockies will inspire change before a tough three-city trip. The first two nights have not gone well for a lineup that can go into a slump at a moment’s notice. 

“We just couldn’t get much going,” Bochy said. “It started out great with the homer. You’re feeling good about how it’s going to go. Their guy settled down and kept us off balance.”

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