Melky Cabrera will be left off the Giants’ postseason roster despite being eligible to come back after the first five games of the playoffs, manager Bruce Bochy announced Thursday. The left fielder, who had a .346 batting average in 113 games this season, has been serving a 50-game suspension since Aug. 15 after testing positive for a banned substance.
Bochy said the decision was made based on how well the team has been playing in Cabrera’s absence and a plethora of options to man left field.
“We have a number of outfielders, as you see,” he said. “[Brandon] Belt’s going to be out in left field and [Xavier] Nady and [Gregor] Blanco. Knock on wood we don’t have any injuries. We have a pretty big roster and they’ve all done a good job, stepped up when we needed them.”
The team has gone 26-11 without Cabrera, who was named MVP of the All-Star Game in July. Bochy said the team’s performance had a definite influence on deciding to proceed without him.
“Melky understands and I think it’s in the best interest of this club,” Bochy said. “If you look how we’ve played and all we’ve been through, these guys have really done a great job. They’re the reason why we’re in this situation, so they’ve earned this and we’re going to go with the 25 guys we have here.”
The team notified Cabrera through his agent, after which Cabrera released a statement through the team.
“While I am disappointed that I won’t have the chance to join my team in the playoffs,” he said, “I wish my teammates the best in the postseason and I’ll be rooting hard for them to bring another World Championship to San Francisco!”
Earlier this month, Cabrera voluntarily withdrew himself from the race for the National League batting title, leaving the window open for teammate Buster Posey, who is neck-in-neck with Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen.
Softening the blow to the roster has been the presence of Hunter Pence, who came over in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies at the trade deadline just two weeks before Cabrera’s suspension began. Pence has hit just .223 since joining the Giants, but has five home runs and 39 RBIs in 52 games wearing orange and black, and Bochy said his presence in the lineup has meant a lot to the team.
“He’s gotten some big hits for us,” he said. “He’s played well. His presence in the lineup means a lot hitting in that five hole.