ORACLE PARK — Manager Bruce Bochy informed left-handed pitcher Derek Holland after Saturday’s game that the club was going in a different direction. On Sunday, the Giants announced that Holland — along with infielder Ryder Jones — were designated for assignment.
“There are always very very difficult decisions during the course of the season,” Bochy said. “[DFAing Holland] is certainly one of them. We thanked him for his time here but we needed a little flexibility and roster spots. He was very professional and thanked us and now we’ll let the process play out and see what happens.”
The moves — along with optioning Ty Blach — opened roster spots for left-handed pitcher Conner Menez and corner infielder Zach Green. Bochy explained that another motivating factor behind Holland’s release was the redundancy of his role, now that left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz has moved to the bullpen for the time being.
“I think you’re looking at two guys that can do the same role,” Bochy said. “With Pom there, we didn’t quite feel the need of another guy there. If we need help we can get help from below us too.”
Indeed, the Giants have already begun the process of calling up promising minor league prospects with Menez and Green set to make their first major league starts Sunday afternoon. Bochy said that Green will not have a restrictive pitch count.
“He’s gone up to 90-plus pitches, in that area,” Bochy said. “So I think it’s fair to say he’ll be up to 100. But again the game will dictate that.”
The manager also noted that the Giants are prepared if Menez has a short outing, with Pomeranz available to be the long man.
In regards to Green’s promotion, Bochy said that besides his strong play this season for Sacramento and his power bat, he’ll also be able to provide rest for Pablo Sandoval, who has hit .219 since taking over as essentially the everyday third baseman for the injured Evan Longoria.
“He’s a good player,” Bochy said of Green. “He brings power, is very dangerous at the plate [and] does a good job at third base. You look at the playing time Pablo’s been getting, he could use a break.”
Having Green able to cover first and third also enables the Giants to give Brandon Belt a rest. He got one on Sunday, as his balky knee acted up and Tyler Austin stepped in to start.
Austin, having seen his left field reps go down as Austin Slater has come on strong as the team’s fourth outfielder, is hitting .107 in 33 plate appearances over 19 games since June 20, with 11 strikeouts. His three hits, however, have all been for extra bases — two home runs and a double.