San Diego Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko, a second-round pick in the 2010 draft, made noise last season when he hit 30 home runs and drove in 100 runs between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson. MLB.com listed him as the #50 prospect overall going into the 2013 season and he just may make the Padres’ Opening Day roster if he continues hitting the way he has so far. In 18 spring at-bats, he has hit three homers and a double while driving in nine runs. The big question concerns his ability to play second base, as he was brought up as a third baseman but is, at least for now, blocked at that position by Chase Headley.
Gyorko says he feels comfortable at his new position.
”I’m having fun at second and the key is just getting better each day,” Gyorko said. ”It helps that we have an extended spring this year and I get to play a ton of games to get work in.”
25-year-old Logan Forsythe is competing with Gyorko for the job at second. In 350 trips to the plate last year, he hit .273 with six home runs and he stole eight bases as well. In a very limited showing in spring so far, though, he is hitting .231 with no extra-base hits in 13 at-bats.
Gyorko is winning, at least in the early going.
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.