MESA, Ariz. — Part of the rebuilding of the Giants requires redecorating, too.
There was a new feature on the clubhouse wall in Scottsdale on Sunday, a day after their spring training debut: a whiteboard with circles representing the previous and upcoming games. Austin Slater’s smiling mug was slotted in for Saturday’s honor, making him the “Baserunning B.O.S.S. of the Game.” A KNBR investigation into the acronym has begun.
“Great route on 3B!” was written below Slater, who hustled his way into a gap triple.
Gabe Kapler said baserunning coach Antoan Richardson is behind the new incentive. Part of the hopeful ethos for the 2020 Giants entails outperforming other teams on the margins, outworking and outcoaching opponents. Solid baserunning is part of that vision, which does not necessarily equate to speedy baserunning.
The Giants were active on the basepaths in Sunday’s 5-3 victory over the A’s, including Jamie Westbrook and Kean Wong’s tagteammed aggression, which brought in a run.
“That’s one thing we do to keep it light and have some fun,” Kapler said of the whiteboard. “… We spend so much time in the cages and the mounds in spring training and really focus on those areas, and also defense. Baserunning is generally left behind and something we value and something we feel like will win baseball games for us during the regular season.”
Abiatal Avelino’s first swing of camp resulted in a home run. Wong, a minor league signing in major league camp, went 2-for-2 in his first game.
“Both of those guys swung the bat well today. It was nice to see Avelino drive the baseball because he’s perceived to be a defense-first shortstop,” Kapler said of the infielder, who has seen brief time in the majors the last two seasons. “To see him drive a baseball early in the game was certainly encouraging, and Wong had good at-bats as well.”
Lefty Sam Moll has shoulder inflammation and won’t throw a few weeks, Kapler said.