The Giants were raising their 2014 World Series banner Monday on a perfectly sunny afternoon at AT&T Park, prelude to Chris Heston becoming the second rookie pitcher ever to start a home opener for the Giants, who face the Colorado Rockies.
It’s a big stage for a 27-year-old right-hander making his third big-league start, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he doesn’t anticipate having to calm Heston’s nerves for him.
“I think this kid’s got a great way about him,” Bochy said. “I’m not worried about him. If we need to calm him down, you’ll see Rags (pitching coach Dave Righetti) go out there. But he’ll be fine.”
It’s the third time in five seasons for the Giants raising a new World Series championship flag at their home stadium, and Bochy said he would tell his players to enjoy the moment before turning their focus on the Rockies.
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“You have to keep reminding yourself you do have a game, you have to get ready for that,” Bochy said. “But there’s nothing wrong with taking that time to really realize what you accomplished and take it in. You should.”
Bochy said he’s particularly excited for the players who were part of their first title run last year. They’ll get to further savor the memory Saturday, when the Giants receive their World Series rings before playing the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Giants’ lineup for the home opener:
▪ Bochy said third baseman Casey McGehee is day-to-day with a strained left knee and could be available off the bench Monday in an emergency. Matt Duffy gets the start over Joaquin Arias at third in McGehee’s absence.
▪ Bochy also said the Giants likely will continue to carry 13 pitchers at least through this weekend, as they finish a stretch of 14 consecutive games without a day off to start the season. He pointed out when the Giants get their first off-day next Monday, the St. Louis Cardinals will have their fourth already.
“We’re going through the (bull)pen quite a bit,” Bochy said. “Until we get settled in, yeah, I think the 13 will be here for a while.”
The Giants have a couple of “tough calls” coming up, Bochy said, with Travis Ishikawa and reliever Erik Cordier on their way back from injuries.
▪ In the bullpen today, Yusmeiro Petit is off limits, and Bochy wants to stay away from Ryan Vogelsong as well.
▪ Hunter Pence is scheduled to be evaluated by a team doctor today, but Bochy said he is still likely more than a week away from swinging a bat.
▪ After the festivities, the Giants were putting an impressive record on the line: They’re 12-3 in home openers since AT&T Park opened in 2000.