Blake Snell

Snell to make highly anticipated Giants debut next Monday vs. Nats

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LOS ANGELES — The Giants finally have a target date for the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner. 

Blake Snell will make his Giants debut next Monday at home against the Washington Nationals, manager Bob Melvin said. Snell threw against Double-A hitters last week, but the Giants want to get him one more appearance before he returns to the big leagues. Snell will face Giants teammates in a simulated game this Wednesday at Dodger Stadium. 

“We’ll get some big league guys in there to challenge him,” Melvin said. 

With Snell still unavailable, the Giants will go with Keaton Winn, Logan Webb and Kyle Harrison in this three-game series at Dodger Stadium. Jordan Hicks will start Friday’s home opener. 

All He Does Is Win

Right-hander Nick Avila lasted just one appearance in Triple-A this season before Sacramento River Cats manager Dave Brundage told him to head to Dodger Stadium. Naturally, Avila got the win. 

The 26-year-old from Modesto had a fascinating 2023 MLB season, going 14-0 as a reliever after being returned from the Chicago White Sox, who had taken him in the Rule 5 Draft. As Tyler Fitzgerald, his teammate most of last season, explained it, Avila generally pitched in the middle innings, and the River Cats' lineup somehow always scored the go-ahead run while he was in the game. That often made Avila the pitcher of record.

“It was the strangest thing ever,” Fitzgerald said. 

Avila found the humor in being 1-0 as the Giants finally called him up. He’ll add a fresh arm to a bullpen that had such a long weekend that Fitzgerald had to pitch the final inning of the four-game series. Here comes Avila, who apparently is a good luck charm.

“It was like, are we serious?” Avila said of his latest win. “We’re starting out the year right where we left off.” 

Avila was added as the Giants made a flurry of moves before the opener at Dodger Stadium. Mike Yastrzemski returned from the paternity list and Luis Matos and Daulton Jefferies were sent down to Triple-A. Infielder Otto Lopez was designated for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot for Avila. 

Quick Recovery

Fitzgerald was originally in the lineup at first base and was planning to borrow a glove from Wilmer Flores, but he won’t need it. 

Flores played catch and took some swings before being inserted in the lineup late in the afternoon. He said he’s very sore after flipping over a dugout railing on Sunday but can handle everything he needs to at first base

Fitzgerald has played first base just once in his entire life. The utility man took grounders there last Tuesday and then played first in the second exhibition game against the Oakland Athletics. The Giants will continue to get him pregame work, just in case. 

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