ORACLE PARK — A single line of text appeared atop the day’s schedule and lineups in the Oracle Park home clubhouse on Friday: “4:10 meeting in clubhouse with Larry.”
President and CEO Larry Baer has been suspended without pay from the team since a physical altercation between him and his wife was caught on camera in March. He was reinstated on July 2, but was not on the road with the club as it traveled to San Diego.
Friday was Baer’s first chance to address the team and discuss with them the March 1 incident which has stained his reputation and made many Giants employees uncomfortable. The clubhouse was closed to media 20 minutes before usual, but Baer was already speaking with team personnel before the doors were closed.
“He just wanted to talk to the fellows for a little bit,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “That’s all I’m going to say. He wanted a few minutes. It was the first time he’s had a chance to address them,s o he just spent a few minutes with them.”
Baer was not the only Giants brass in the clubhouse before the series opener with the St. Louis Cardinals. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi was also in the entryway, but had left by the time Baer entered.
Baer, upon his suspension, was replaced as the designated control person (the team representative in league matters) by Robert Dean, whose wife and in-laws own a significant stake in the team (Baer owns about 5%).
Dean will continue to retain the title and responsibilities, which now include being Zaidi’s direct supervisor. In a change in practice, the club declared that Zaidi will report directly to Dean, not to Baer. Baer said a statement before his reinstatement that he would “fully embrace” the organizational changes, but did not speak with the media.
While Bruce Bochy is still going to retire at the end of the year — he joked on Friday that if he’d known they’d score 10 runs a game, as they did against the Padres this week, he’d be able to manage for a bit longer — he still is interested in the club’s future. He’ll be paying attention this Sunday when Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos — the club’s top two prospects — play in the All-Star Futures Game in Cleveland.
“Yeah, and I’ll get video,” said Bochy, who spoke recently with San Jose Giants manager Bill Hayes about the pair. “He likes them a lot. He’s excited about those two, and how good they can be, potentially, or even how good they are right now. It’s a shame Bart had a little setback, but he’s getting back in the flow of things now.”
Bart fractured the second metacarpal on his left hand when he was hit by a pitch in April. Before that, he’d been hitting .270 with two homers, two doubles, a triple and eight RBIs. He’s been a bit slow out of the gates since returning, hitting .231 with one homer in 23 games.
Ramos, San Francisco’s No. 2 prospect, is hitting .298 this season with nine homers, 29 RBIs and 11 doubles in 52 games with an .879 OPS.
Injured left-handed reliever Travis Bergen has suffered a set-back in his rehab from a left shoulder strain.
He felt tightness in his left shoulder the day after his last rehab outing — a one-inning stint in which he allowed two hits and an earned run on July 1 against Albuquerque — and returned to the Giants to have it evaluated by team doctors.
“We’re going to back him off for a week, and then re-evaluate him,” Bochy said. “He’ll be off during the All-Star Break from throwing, and then get the process going again.”
In nine minor league appearances this season, he has thrown 8 2/3 innings and posted a 6.23 ERA, with opposing batters hitting .278 against him. In 18 games with the Giants before he went down, Bergen was 2-0 with a 4.24 ERA and held opposing batters to a .222 average.
Bochy spent his first July 4 off since 1974 playing golf. He shot an 88.