After going hitless for the fifth consecutive game Saturday night, Giants center fielder Angel Pagan is getting what manager Bruce Bochy called a “mental break” in Sunday’s series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Pagan is in one of the more prolonged slumps of his time with the Giants. He’s hitless in his last 19 at-bats and 7 for 55 with one extra-base hit in his past 14 games. Bochy said he considered resting Pagan a few days ago and “probably should have,” but that Pagan insisted he wanted to play through his struggles.
“That’s his mentality,” Bochy said. “But at some point you’ve got to take that away from him, which we’re doing today. He’s getting a break. This might be one of the longest little funks, I guess you could call it, that he’s been in. So hopefully a day off is going to help him.”
It has been extra-difficult for Bochy to consider taking Pagan out of the lineup recently given the absences of Hunter Pence (wrist tendinitis) and Gregor Blanco (concussion). Bochy said the last week has really underscored how valuable Blanco is to the team as a fourth outfielder – he can play all three outfield positions and play everyday if needed.
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Pagan had moved back into the third spot with Pence out, but Bochy didn’t rule out moving Pagan down a little starting Monday. A move to the seventh spot earlier this season seemed to help jump-start Pagan.
“I can tweak this lineup,” Bochy said. “I can move Angel, and he’s fine with it. I make take some pressure off him and do that.”
Bochy pointed to the fact he has Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford hitting third and fourth, respectively, Sunday, with Buster Posey also getting a scheduled day off. Asked about the possibility of Crawford remaining in the middle of the order going forward, Bochy said he likes having the shortstop in the No. 6 spot, but, “I could see him hitting a little higher up in the order.”
The full Giants’ lineup against Diamondbacks right-hander Rubby De La Rosa:
And the Diamondbacks’ lineup against Chris Heston:
P De La Rosa
▪ Bochy said Blanco tried riding a stationary bike Saturday but experienced dizziness and had to cut the workout short.
“We’re hoping a good night’s sleep last night’s going to make a difference,” Bochy said. “He’ll go through a similar workout (today) and we’ll see how he responds.”
Blanco is eligible to come off the 7-day concussion DL on Tuesday. Bochy said he and Blanco are both hoping “things turn around today” and that Blanco might be able to start swinging a bat Monday. The Giants, though, will be cautious with Blanco – especially given their experience last season with Brandon Belt and Hector Sanchez both losing significant time to concussions.
“That’s why I think we’re going to be really on the cautious side here and make sure he’s ready,” Bochy said.
▪ Matt Duffy is off so that Casey McGehee can get a start at third base. Justin Maxwell will play his first game in center for the Giants.
Bochy said he asked Crawford after Saturday’s game whether he wanted to hit third or fourth in today’s lineup, “And he went from there to leading off. I don’t know where that came up.”