Thanks to Darren Ford’s ankle sprain, it sounds like the Giants will soon have a roster spot open up. However, manager Bruce Bochy said Wednesday that a move involving Brandon Belt isn’t likely.
“To be honest, Belt is more of a longshot,” Bochy told the San Francisco Chronicle. “What we’re looking for is more of a bench type player and more depth, a pinch-hitter.”
Belt, who struggled as the Giants’ first baseman while Cody Ross was on the DL last month, is batting .351/.484/.546 with four homers and 21 RBI in 30 games for Triple-A Fresno. He’s dominated righties to the tune of a .394/.531/.606 line.
With the Giants struggling to score runs, bringing up Belt and using him as a platoon left fielder would make sense. However, the Giants don’t want to go that route yet. They’re certainly a far better defensive team with Nate Schierholtz in right and Ross in left, an alignment they’ve been using more frequently lately.
Besides, even though they’re dead last in the NL in runs scored, the Giants are sitting in first place in the NL West with a 27-20 record. And their road to returning to the playoffs appeared to get a little smoother with Tuesday’s news that the Rockies’ Jorge De La Rosa would need Tommy John surgery.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.
Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.
Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.
Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.