SAN FRANCISCO -- Desperate times call for desperate measures, so the Giants did quite a bit on Thursday to try and alter the mojo. Bruce Bochy called off batting practice, allowing players to arrive at 5 p.m. Cory Gearrin cut off his flowing hair. A couple of other guys appear to have altered facial hair. The big move: Denard Span was moved from first to eighth in the order.
Span has been a leadoff hitter since his rookie year, and he was brought here to lead off. He has two hits in his last 41 at-bats.
"I just decided that today was good just to give him a break until he gets going and finds that swing," Bochy said. "I'm trying to do something to see if we can get the offense going. It hasn't been (just) Denard. There's been a few guys."
You know the numbers by now. Angel Pagan, who takes the leadoff spot, has five hits in his last 51 at-bats. Buster Posey is batting .193 over his past 14 games and he hasn't homered in 177 at-bats. Joe Panik was moved up to the two-spot, but he's just 8-for-37 over his past 11 games. Brandon Crawford has 10 hits in his past 54 at-bats.
Span was the one to take the big plunge, and it seemed to come as a bit of a surprise.
"He's the boss. He's the man. Point blank. Period," Span said of Bochy. "I told him and I told you guys during (my introductory) press conference that I'll do whatever it takes to help the team win. If that's leadoff, I'll be the best leadoff hitter I can be. If that's 20th, I'll be the best 20th hitter I can be."
All of tonight's starters were told to take BP in the cage, not on the field. Bochy said it's a move he's done before.
"We didn't hit too much yesterday," he said. "The boys looked like they were dragging."
--- Gregor Blanco was checked by team doctors on Wednesday and all went well. He said he's not sure what the next step is, but there's really only one option since minor league seasons have ended. The Giants can activate him for defense and speed, which is under consideration. Really, they probably should do it. Among all the issues here, it was clear in the ninth inning Tuesday night that this team probably should be making defensive changes in close games.
--- Speaking of the ninth, this stat from the PR notes is unreal: Over the past month, the bullpen has a 6.00 ERA in the ninth inning and extra innings, but a 1.55 ERA in all other innings.
--- The Cardinals mixed up their rotation, and rookie Alex Reyes will start Sunday. Reyes is one of the top prospects in the game, with an upper 90s fastball and very good curve.