SAN FRANCISCO – The move may not cause shockwaves with the fan base, but the Giants got proactive Friday in trying to shake their offensive doldrums.
Cole Gillespie was promoted from Triple-A Fresno and is starting in left field in the opener of a three-game series against the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers. Outfielder Juan Perez was optioned to Fresno, and Angel Pagan was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to clear a 40-man roster spot for Gillespie.
[NEWS: Giants transfer Pagan to 60-day DL]
Gillespie, 29, was hitting .277 with nine home runs and 31 RBI in 74 games with the Grizzlies. Those aren’t eye-popping numbers, and his name doesn’t exactly move the needle like that of highly touted prospect Gary Brown. But the Giants are looking for a spark, any spark, and they considered Gillespie the best candidate to contribute right away.
“Gillespie’s got some experience up here, he’s got some pop in his bat,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’ll see if he can help provide some offense here. He’s done a pretty good job down there and we’ve been looking for some help from the right side. We’ll be seeing some lefties.”
Brown, a 2010 first-round pick, has picked things up after a slow start with Fresno and showing glimpses of the potential the Giants saw when they drafted him. But Bochy said the 24-year-old Brown wasn’t seriously considered for the call-up.
“Even though he is playing all around a lot better, swinging the bat better, and he’s getting on a pretty good role, we wanna keep him there,” Bochy said. “We don’t think he’s quite ready.”
The right-handed hitting Gillespie figures to get playing time against left-handed starters. And with Gregor Blanco in an 0 for 22 slump, it’s not out of the question Gillespie plays against right-handers if he hits.
“Their play sometimes will dictate how much they play,” Bochy said.
Gillespie has hit .236 with three homers and 16 RBI in 50 major league games with Arizona spread over the 2010 and 2011 seasons. The Giants signed him as a minor league free agent over the winter.
Gillespie was pleasantly surprised when he got word of his promotion after Fresno’s game against Sacramento last night, and he’s happy to get a start right away against Dodgers lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu.
“I couldn’t ask for a better situation,” Gillespie said. “I was leaving last night and (Brett) Pill said ‘You might be in there tomorrow night, they got a lefty going.’ I’m like, ‘I like that.’”