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Susan Slusser discusses how Giants are going to manage Casey Schmitt, Brandon Crawford playing time



© Darren Yamashita | 2023 Jun 3

Two seasons after he put up MVP-type numbers, Brandon Crawford is no longer a lock for the Giants’ every day lineup. Now that all the infielders are healthy and with Joc Pederson handling most of the designated hitter duties, Gabe Kapler has to chose between Thairo Estrada, J.D. Davis, Wilmer Flores, Schmitt and Crawford for the non-first base infield positions.

Estrada and Davis are hitting well enough that they’ve become hard to bench. Schmitt is in a slump but is excellent with the glove and is still hitting better than Crawford, who is slashing .188/.278/.339. Schmitt, at 24, also needs to play if he’s going be with the big-league club.

“Crawford gets it,” Giants beat writer Susan Slusser said regarding playing time. “He knows Casey Schmitt has to play. I’m not speaking for him. The times that kind of jumped out to me when Crawford was out of the lineup was when Brett Wisely was. When he was at second, because Schmitt can also play second very well. But when you’ve got Thairo Estrada, Casey Schmitt and J.D. Davis at third, those are the days that Crawford is going to be like ‘I do get it.’

“He’s showing signs of turning things around at the plate a little bit. And he needs a little time too, to do that. It’s just impossible to hit your way out of a slump from the bench. It’s really going to be interesting. It’s going to take some really good juggling, I think it’s going to take a lot of looking at opponents. Who matches up against which pitcher the best, who’s coming up on the schedule, getting enough rest. Maybe sitting Pederson a little bit more against some right-handers if you’ve got a spot. Or maybe a guy who has reverse splits or more even splits.”

Crawford isn’t in the lineup on Thursday in the day game after a night game, but played in the first two games of the series. He shared the field with Schmitt on Wednesday when the youngster played third. Schmitt was on the bench in the first game of the series, with J.D. Davis at third.

Mixing-and-matching will continue to be an every day challenge for the Giants’ coaching staff.

“The lineup every single day could be really interesting,” Slusser concluded.