SAN FRANCISCO – Jeff Francouer was a Giant for 22 games over 43 days. In that time, he got to witness the first no-hitter of his career and shake President Obama’s hand.
He did not hit left-handed pitching, however. He batted .194 without a home run and had a .432 OPS.
But even if he had, he wouldn’t make a lot of sense on a team that is out of contention and must look at younger players. That’s what Giants manager Bruce Bochy told Francoeur after the club designated him for assignment on Tuesday.
The club made the move now because the bullpen has been overworked and they couldn’t cover innings if they needed to stretch the relievers in Tuesday’s game.
“That’s what I told him, that we’re in a box,” Bochy said. “(Angel) Pagan will be up here soon and we’ll take a look at younger players. We appreciate that he signed with us. He was great in the clubhouse, guys liked him. He brought a lot of life.”
Bochy said he wouldn't mind Francoeur returning.
"I told him, `Don’t forget about us in the future,'" the manager said. "It just got to the point we needed the extra arm. That’s never easy, a guy with his experience, to give him that news."
Pagan will continue his minor league rehab assignment on Friday with Triple-A Fresno, Bochy said. The club is expected to wait until Sept. 1 to activate him, when rosters expand. They’re likely to bring up some of those young outfielders, too. Think Francisco Peguero and Juan Perez, who are on the 40-man roster.
Gary Brown is not on the 40-man roster yet. And although Francoeur’s departure opens up a spot, the club might prefer to use it on right-hander Heath Hembree. Brown has struggled in recent weeks for Fresno but Hembree has been on point with his fastball and slider while knocking down saves for the Grizzlies.
Francoeur had been getting most of his starts against lefty pitchers. So what will the Giants do against lefties for the rest of August?
Bochy said he might just live with the lefty-lefty matchup and start Gregor Blanco or Roger Kieschnick. He also said Brett Pill will resume working in left field and could get some starts there.