LOS ANGELES — When Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig came out to catch the first pitch from second-year Los Angeles Laker Josh Hart, he was greeted by a chorus of boos.
Neither he nor Giants catcher Nick Hundley have faced any punishments stemming Tuesday night’s seventh-inning brawl, after which they were both ejected, as the league is still weighing disciplinary action.
Manager Bruce Bochy said on Tuesday night that he didn’t understand Hundley was ejected, as Puig “was the one who got physical,” and took a swing at Hundley while he had his arms pinned by Dodgers third base coach George Lombard.
“He couldn’t defend himself,” Bochy said Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Bochy said he didn’t have any questions about what happened.
“We’ll see what they come up with,” Bochy said. “Moved on.”
When presented with the home plate umpire’s explanation for Hundley’s ejection (“Just look at the tape”), Bochy as baffled.
“That’s even more confusing,” he said.
Asked about Puig’s tendency to get under the skin of more old school baseball sensibilities, Bochy said, “There’s certain players in the league, I think you look at guys players get frustrated with, a lot of drama with him in every at-bat, but you know what, the game has changed a lot. It really has. I don’t get caught up into it. We’ve got to try to get these guys out.”
It’s not the first time Puig has instigated a brouhaha with the Giants. He did so in September of 2016 when he and Madison Bumgarner got into a tiff. As far as Bochy is concerned, it’s status quo between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
“There have been probably a few more of these relationships so to speak, and I don’t think it’s ever going to stop,” Bochy said.
Brandon Crawford started at shortstop after passing one final concussion test — taking batting practice and fielding grounders before the game — and said that even last night, he could have played.
“I probably could have played yesterday, but I guess for precautionary reasons, just in case something happened yesterday,” Crawford said. “If I got hit in the head again, somehow, making a play, jar my head again, that wouldn’t have been very good. Today, I think it’s a little bit better. Hopefully, something doesn’t happen. We’re a lot safer today than we were yesterday.”
Crawford, who still had some red above his right eyelid from going face-first into Gorkys Hernandez’s thigh (his chest hit Hernandez’s knee), hadn’t had his bell rung since he was playing quarterback at Pleasanton-Foothill. Even then, he wasn’t sure that earlier hit was a concussion.
He felt woozy coming off the field — “dazed at first,” he said — after he and Hernandez collided in the fifth inning on Tuesday. He was aware enough to pick the ball up and throw out Clayton Kershaw — who hit the pop fly for a double — at third.
“I saw the ball on the ground, figured the play was still going on, l kind of saw where the runners were at,” Crawford said. “It worked out.”
He still felt good enough to hit.
After he popped out, he still felt a bit daze.
“I came back, and [trainer Dave Groeschner] asked me a few more questions about how I was feeling, and felt it would be best to get out of there.”
When he went home for the night, he didn’t have many concussion symptoms, so he was not very worried, and didn’t have any recurring symptoms.
Even before Andrew Suarez threw six shutout innings against the Dodgers on Tuesday, the San Francisco Giants had already pencilled him in as part of their weekend rotation, as they travel to Cincinnati for a three-game weekend series.
“Suarez did look good, and settled down and got better as he went,” Bochy said. “He had some big outs. Some of them were hard, but they’re outs.”
After a Thursday off day, Suarez will start on Sunday, preceded by Dereck Rodriguez on Friday, and Madison Bumgarner on Saturday as the Giants skip the fifth spot in the rotation.
“We’re just keeping them in order,” Bochy said. “We don’t do it all the time, but we do it some of the time.With our situation now, we got a couple long men down there, so we’re good to go.”
While Brandon Belt felt like he was “running underwater” as he rounded third to score what would be the winning run on Tuesday — his first day off the disabled list for a hyperextended knee — he was back in the starting lineup on Wednesday for the first time since the injury. His single in the ninth on Tuesday sparked the winning rally.
“I thought he looked fine — he got a hit, so that was good to have him back,” Bochy said. “He’s at first. We tweaked it a little bit, giving [Steven] Duggar a day, getting [Hunter] Pence a start out in left field. They’re all good to go, though.”
Duggar, the rookie outfielder and one of San Francisco’s top prospects, had played in the last eight games, and in 26 of the last 27. Since being called up in early July, he’s hitting .262, but since the start of August, he’s hit .275 and begun to stabilize at the plate.
Injured starter Jeff Samardzija (shoulder) will throw 45 pitches maximum in his next session against live hitters on Friday in Cincinnati, Bochy said. After that, if all goes well, he will begin his rehab assignment.
Closer Hunter Strickland (hand), who threw a clean inning with two strikeouts on15 pitches on Tuesday, will throw again on Wednesday, to complete the back-to-back rehab requirement before he comes back to the big leagues.
“Last night went well,” Bochy said. “Basically a clean inning. I think they made an error, but a couple strikeouts, this will help lead his rehab.”
With three straight games against left-handers, Bochy has had to sit second baseman Joe Panik, who had been the Giants’ everyday second baseman for the last two years. Beset by injury this season, he’s missed 47 games this season due to injury, but still, missing significant stretches is less than ideal.
Panik, though, is hitting .163 against lefties. He’s had just one at-bat in the last two games, and didn’t start again on Wednesday, as Alen Hanson — who drove in both Giants runs on Tuesday — got the nod at second.
“I thought about starting him today, but Hanny had a good day yesterday,” Bochy said. “Now, we’re going on this road trip, we’re going to see a lot of right-handers. He’ll get his at-bats in. He’ll get plenty of at-bats. It does allow d’Arnaud and Hanson to get some playing time, but once we get on the road here, it’ll be the other way.”
Another factor in Panik getting more playing time in Cincinnati and New York: He’s a St. John’s alum, and a Yonkers native.
“Can’t sit a New Yorker in New York,” Bochy said.
Panik has hit .290 (9-for-31) in the state of New York in his big league career.