Derek Holland
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Giants designate Derek Holland

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The Giants have designated left-hander Derek Holland for assignment, per an official announcement on Sunday. In a series of corresponding roster moves, lefty Ty Blach was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento, infielder Ryder Jones was designated for release, and southpaw Conner Menez and infielder Zach Green were both selected from Triple-A.

Holland, 32, struggled to find his footing in his second go-round with the Giants. He labored through seven starts at the start of the year, but after posting four losses and a 6.75 ERA, the club shifted him to the bullpen. It proved to be a difficult adjustment, however, and the lefty finished his run with a cumulative 5.90 ERA, 4.6 BB/9, 9.3 SO/9, and -0.8 fWAR across 68 2/3 innings — a far cry from the 3.57 ERA and 2.2 fWAR he delivered in 2018. The nail in the coffin may have been his performance during a blowout 11-4 loss to the Mets on Saturday, during which he allowed four runs, four walks, and two homers in one inning of relief.

Whether or not Holland finds another landing place in the majors this year remains to be seen, but given his recent performance — and a tiff with the front office this spring — it’s almost certain he’ll pass through waivers unclaimed. The Giants, meanwhile, will eat the estimated $2.67 million remaining on the one-year, $7 million deal they orchestrated in January.

Astros block Detroit Free Press from clubhouse at Justin Verlander’s request

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Last night a BBWAA-credentialed reporter from the Detroit Free Press was barred from the Houston Astros’ clubhouse by team security following the Tigers win over the Astros. The reporter — who was almost certainly Anthony Fenech, who covers the Tigers — was kept out at the request of Astros starter Justin Verlander. Here’s the scene as described by the Free Press. The article contains a photo, taken by Fenech, of the three Astros officials who blocked the door to prevent him access:

At 9:35 p.m., the Astros opened their clubhouse to credentialed media in coordination with MLB rules. As other media members entered the clubhouse, the Free Press reporter with a valid BBWAA-issued credential was blocked from entering by three Astros security officials . . . The reporter contacted Mike Teevan, MLB vice president of communications, who said he would immediately reach out to Dias regarding the issue. Dias eventually gave the reporter access to the clubhouse at 9:41 p.m., after Verlander’s media session had ended . . . Once inside, the reporter approached Verlander, who said: “I’m not answering your questions.” When asked to comment on Wednesday’s loss, Verlander walked away.

That after-the-fact access for the reporter came only after he called Major League Baseball who, in turn, called Astros officials, presumably, to tell them that they cannot bar credentialed media.

It’s unclear at the moment what the beef is between Verlander and either the Free Press or the reporter. For what it’s worth, I follow Fenech and, while he’s a bit more witty and, occasionally, cutting than your average beat reporter, he’s self-effacing and doesn’t do cheap shots. Though he talks often about former Tigers and has made a point to highlight Verlander’s post-Tigers career whenever relevant, to my knowledge he hasn’t said or done anything specific to tweak Verlander in the past.

I will note, though, that last night, about eight minutes before Fenech was barred access, the Free Press Twitter account sent this tongue-in-cheek tweet out. It’s unclear if he or someone else at the paper wrote it:

Maybe that pissed off Verlander, who is known to be active on social media and is usually pretty aware of what’s being said about him. Hard to say.

What’s easy to say, though, is that no matter what has hurt Verlander’s fragile ego, the Astros barring the reporter from the clubhouse is in blatant violation of the agreement between Major League Baseball and the Baseball Writers Association of America, which ensures access for credentialed reporters. Verlander doesn’t have to talk to the guy — he doesn’t have to talk to anyone he doesn’t want to talk to — but the team honoring Verlander’s wishes to bar access is totally unacceptable and, frankly, about as low-rent as it gets from a media relations perspective.

We’ll probably hear more about this later today.