NEW YORK -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy couldn't say he regretted his decision to summon George Kontos with the bases loaded Friday night, pointing out that Alex Rodriguez had to lunge for an outside fastball while hitting his record-breaking grand slam.
But after the game, Bochy and GM Brian Sabean agreed that it’s time to stick rookies Heath Hembree and Jake Dunning in some hotter spots.
“We talked about that last night,” Bochy said in the hours prior to Saturday’s game at Yankee Stadium. “You’d like to get these guys in less stressful situations 'till they get their feet on the ground. But with the success (Hembree) has had, and Dunning being up here before, you could see them coming in more situations.”
Hembree has allowed just one hit in five scoreless innings since arriving from Triple-A Fresno as a September call-up. The 24-year-old even managed to dial back his fastball in his debut so he could hit locations -- a rare trait among rookies, who usually overthrow.
Hembree set a Grizzlies record for saves while knocking down 31 in 36 opportunities. His outings were much cleaner in the second half after he began throwing his slider dependably.
“The experience of closing in the minor leagues is always good to draw on,” Bochy said. “I like the way he’s handled himself. Like last night, he got behind and came back and made pitches.”
And he was able to keep his poise in an environment like Yankee Stadium.
Bochy wouldn’t rule out both Hembree and Dunning being in the mix for spots in next year’s Opening Day bullpen. Hembree appears poised to have a long career in short relief.
“And Jake, you like the fact he’s thrown quality strikes,” Bochy said.
Second baseman Joaquin Arias’ left hamstring was sore one day after he strained it while trying to break towards a ground ball to his left. Arias likely will be sidelined at least a couple days, Bochy said.