ORACLE PARK — San Francisco Giants left-hander Derek Holland is being moved to the bullpen. He’s fine with that. He’ll do anything to help the team, he said. He’s just a little confused.
“To be honest, I have no idea what they’re doing, and I don’t mean that by [manager Bruce Bochy] and them,” Holland said after Saturday’s 5-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. “It’s from the front office. We keep changing a lot of things. I did a fake injury, so I’m not happy about that. At the end of the day, I’m going to do whatever they ask me to do.”
Holland was placed on the 10-day injured list with a bone bruise in his finger (suffered during spring training) on April 29, enabling the Giants to call up reliever Ty Blach for what was expected to be a bullpen-heavy road trip to Cincinnati and Denver. Tyler Beede replaced Holland for a turn, though Holland at the time seemed irritated, and indicated that he still thought he could pitch.
“You’re never going to understand, for the most part,” Holland said Saturday. “When that time comes, just get the ball and go. I’ll just always be out there for those guys. We don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t know what’s going on. But, at the same time, when you get that ball and when you get to go out there and play, we’re going to give everything we’ve got.”
The move comes at a curious time for San Francisco, as they have an off day on Monday, and then a two-game series with Toronto on Tuesday and Wednesday, with Beede slated to start the opener.
Bochy said that Wednesday’s starter is still TBA, and Drew Pomeranz isn’t eligible to come off the injured list (lat strain) until after that game. San Francisco also just optioned starter Dereck Rodriguez, who took the loss on Friday.
The move leaves three active starters on the roster in Madison Bumgarner, Jeff Samardzija (who pitched Saturday) and Beede. Bochy said on Friday that the team had had talks about revisiting the opener as an option. That could mean that Holland would move into that role.
Giants starters have allowed 58 runs over 60 2/3 innings over their last 14 games. San Francisco has been outscored 40-3 in first innings, and allowed 16 home runs.
Holland started 30 games for San Francisco last year and had a bounceback season, with a 7-9 record in 36 appearances and a staff-high 171 1/3 innings, sporting a 3.57 ERA. As a reliever, he had a 1.86 ERA in 9 2/3 innings of work, which is what, Bochy said, sparked his move on Saturday.
“Sometimes, you break it up,” Bochy said of the timing of the move. “You’re trying to get back on track. This gives us a legitimate long guy and another left-hander in the ‘pen. He’s shown he can handle it. We feel we’re better off having him in the bullpen.”
He was re-signed by new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi in what the latter said was a priority move this offseason to fill out the rotation, and provide versatility, should San Francisco need a swing man between the bullpen and the rotation. Holland had started seven games this season, going 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA before he was told by Bochy in a pregame conversation that he would be moving to the bullpen to become a long reliever.
“I’m going to be here for my teammates, that’s what it’s all about,” Holland said. “These guys mean a lot to me, and they’ve helped me out with fixing myself last year, so I’ve got to do what’s asked, and this is one of those times.”