San Francisco Giants

Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy still weighing lineup options

Giants manager Bruce Bochy says he once tried putting together a lineup by drawing names out of a hat, just to see the result.

“It didn’t come out too good,” Bochy said. “That’s why I didn’t write it down.”

Bochy, though, said he recently told his current crop of starting position players he thinks he could do just that and be happy with the outcome. The Giants feel they have an especially deep lineup this season, and with three exhibition games remaining before Opening Day, Bochy is still experimenting with how to order his hitters.

Case in point: Third baseman Matt Duffy has batted third for most of the spring, as he did toward the end of last season. But in the Giants’ lineup for Thursday night’s Bay Bridge series opener against the A’s, Duffy batted, between left-handers Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford.

The full lineup: CF Denard Span (left), 2B Joe Panik (left), C Buster Posey (right), RF Hunter Pence (right), 1B Brandon Belt (left), 3B Matt Duffy (right), SS Brandon Crawford (left), P Jeff Samardzija (right), LF Angel Pagan (switch).

“I talked to Matt about this yesterday or the day before – I may try to balance out the lineup,” Bochy said. “Instead of two lefties, three righties, two lefties, he could be a good swing guy to break up Belt and Crawford. So I’m going to take a look at it.

“That doesn’t mean it’s how it’s going to be. We still have three games here, which allow me to take a look at this.”

Bochy pointed out there are other ways to break up his righties and lefties – for example, batting Pence second and Panik third – and he said he met with his position players Thursday to explain the order could be fluid to start the season.

“They’re all for it,” Bochy said. “They’re aware that this lineup could get tweaked.”

One thing Bochy does seem serious about is batting the pitcher eighth. He said he likes the idea of having Pagan hitting ninth essentially as a “second leadoff hitter,” giving Pagan the opportunity to get on base in front of the top of the lineup and big RBI producers like Posey and Pence.

Ironically, that means Crawford, who spent several seasons as a No. 8 hitter, again finds himself hitting in front of the pitcher – at least in Thursday’s lineup. It may be an odd role for a player who won a Silver Slugger Award last year, but Crawford said he’s open to that if Bochy decides to go that way.

“We talked about it’s going to get tweaked sometimes depending on how they’re hitting, maybe particular numbers that light up against a certain pitcher,” Bochy said. “I don’t think Brandon’s a seven-hole hitter. I don’t think any of them are, to be honest. He’s got the most experience hitting in front of the pitcher and he’s done fairly well – but that shouldn’t be the reason that he’s hitting there.”

Bochy said he will keep the pitcher in the eighth spot for the rest of the series against the A’s. But he said he’ll reserve the right to change his mind from there.

“I don’t want to etch this thing in stone,” he said. “We don’t score a run here the next two days, you may see me scrambling.”

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