SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Crawford is as stoic as it gets on the field, so he's not the player you would pick to have one of the best ejections in recent Giants memory.
But this was an all-timer, an emphatic step on first that came a few innings after the umpire had mistakenly ruled that Crawford missed the bag on a double (this was pre-replay). Legend has it he also sarcastically asked the umpire if got the bag that second time.
As it turned out, that hit kept Crawford from hitting .250. He finished the year one hit short at .248, which doesn't really mean anything, but hey, .250 looks nicer on the back of a baseball card. I thought of that moment when Crawford got hurt this month, because he's one homer away from getting to 20 for the first time and he had one pulled back from the seats by Starling Marte a few weeks back. That would have been an odd way to miss out on 20 homers, but Crawford will get his shot after all.
The shortstop is back in the lineup tonight and he's a full go. He said he might have come back a bit early the first time -- the Giants were playing the Dodgers, after all -- but the oblique and calf are healed enough that Crawford can again be an everyday player.
"It was nice to put his name in there," Bochy said.
The manager has no restrictions with Crawford's playing time, but it will be a while longer before he gets other regulars in there, if he does at all. Bochy said there's nothing new to report on the concussed Nori Aoki and Gregor Blanco, and Hunter Pence (oblique) hasn't taken any significant steps, either. The staff hoped Pence could hit off a tee today, but pulled back.
"We're going to hold him back," Bochy said. "I don't think he's quite ready to take swings off the tee. It's been slow progress. I know he's spent a lot of time in the training room and after the game the other night he came down to the cage to work on (tracking) tennis balls off the machine. He's trying to get ready."
This will really all come down to the standings. If the Giants can inch close enough to make that last homestand interesting, you might see Pence and maybe even Aoki. You know Pence would love to run out there against the Dodgers if the Giants are still alive. But if the tragic number keeps getting smaller, the odds are good that all three outfielders will get shut down for the rest of the season.
--- Bochy has made no secret of the fact that he doesn't agree with the way MLB handles the schedule for teams out in California and on this coast. The Giants had a couple days where they played a night game in New York or Washington D.C. and then had to fly back here and play the next night, and Bochy was public with his complaints. He made a good point on Friday, noting that his team has two off days in a span of five days ... with expanded rosters.
"I've got plenty of troops," he said. "I looked at the schedule and wished I could have moved those days off."
The Giants have so many players in the clubhouse that Trevor Brown has had to take over Tim Lincecum's locker. There isn't a spare locker in the clubhouse, so Bochy has a point when he says this isn't the time for extra off days. He said he would have preferred them in July or August when the Giants often had to play a man or two short because of injuries.
--- Random pre-game conversation: Players who have converted from pitching to playing the field. When a reporter brought it up to Bochy, he joked that he thought it was a Madison Bumgarner question. It wasn't, but the followup was: Would Bochy ever consider sticking his ace in left field for a short stint?
He said he wouldn't consider the outfield, but ... "If he mentions first base, I would listen."
(I think he was joking, but it's Bumgarner so it's hard to be sure.)