Sometimes the headlines are enough. In this case I promise you that it is in no way misleading.
The story comes from closer Mark Melancon over at the Players Tribune. Today he writes about how he came to sign with the San Francisco Giants. A key part of that was the lobbying of Giants outfielder Hunter Pence, who was a teammate of Melancon’s with the Astros back in the day. By means of introduction, Melancon tells a story about how he took Pence to his first yoga class. It was one of those hot yoga classes, where they turn the temperature of the room up to 100 degrees.
Intense stuff and, as Melancon reminds us, Pence is an intense dude. So intense with the yoga that it ended up being a matter for collision repair. Go read it to find out why.
The rest of the column is pretty good too. Lots of the usual Players Tribune stuff, of course — what a coincidence that the guy just signed with a team he has always respected and which plays in a stadium he loves! — but with a funny bit about how Giants fans treat opposing relief pitchers in those baseline bullpens at AT&T Park. I never knew that, and it made me smile to learn it.
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.