The sound of silence: No Edinson Volquez outrage yet

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Edinson Volquez headshot.jpgUnless my bookmarks have all been borked and my Google-fu has suddenly evaporated, I think it’s safe to say that there aren’t any columns this morning eviscerating Edinson Volquez or Major League Baseball over his positive PED test and suspension. The only thing close to that is Jon Paul Morosi’s thing about how the whole suspensions-while-on-the-DL thing, but that’s a pretty legit criticism.

We usually get fire-breathing and hyperbole after one of these deals. Then I come in with my overly-defensive reaction/steroids apologist shtick, most of you guys tell me to quit beating the same old drum and on and on it goes.  I’m a creature of habit and I feel lost without any of that this morning, truth be told.

Could it be that we’ve finally reached a point where people more or less trust that the testing process is doing what it is designed to do in catching the cheaters? Have we finally realized that the notion of calling every instance of a positive PED test “a stain on the game” and and affront to America is overdoing it? Or is it simply that Edinson Volquez plays in the big red part of the country so no one really cares?

I’m not sure myself, but at the moment I feel like an old warrior trying to find a place in a peaceful society. And it’s truly, truly awful.

Giants remove pitching coach Dave Righetti

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After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.

According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.

Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.

Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.