SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Giants vs. That Other Club just doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?
That will be the matchup in Gabe Kapler’s head when the orange and black host the boys in blue Saturday in the spring opener. Kapler, you might remember, was farm director of the Dodgers under Farhan Zaidi, the boss of prospects like Gavin Lux and Will Smith, the stars of tomorrow the Giants will have to compete with today.
As the exhibition season comes within reach, Kapler was asked a few questions about the team from Los Angeles and didn’t seem eager to use the “D” word. “That other club” or “those guys” or “that club” were referenced instead.
“I’m just interested in the San Francisco Giants,” the Giants manager said Thursday at Scottsdale Stadium when asked about it. “I’ve got black and orange on and I’m pretty proud of it.”
The Giants will open with two innings of Dereck Rodriguez, then a frame apiece from a host of pitchers. That Other Club will counter with righty Tony Gonsolin.
Kapler admitted it would be cool to see “a lot of those guys I’ve seen develop” and conceded it would have “some personal meaning for me,” the first real action for a manager who wasn’t sure he would be afforded another chance after being fired by Philadelphia. But he wanted to keep the spotlight on his own players.
Granted, the roster will not be decided Feb. 22, but it’s their first chance to make an in-game impression.
“Players understand there’s a lot on the line every time they perform in front of their teammates, in front of our coaching staff and our front office to some degree,” Kapler said. “There’s always decisions being made. That’s just part of being a high-level athlete: You’re always being analyzed. So for that reason, it’s an exciting day.”
Yolmer Sanchez showed off the tweaked swing he’s been working on with hitting coach Justin Viele, turning on a Wandy Peralta fastball and pulling it over the left-field fence. It was believed to be his first unofficial homer of the spring. He had two home runs the entirety of last season.
“That was kind of cool to see him square up a fastball, be on time with his swing and drive the ball in the air to the pull side,” Kapler said.