Giants testing one-two punch in lineup that could be popular next season

SF Giants rookies Mike Yastrzemski and Mauricio Dubón will bat in the top two spots against the Pirates on Wednesday

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – SEPTEMBER 10: San Francisco Giants’ Mauricio Dubon (19) heads to third base on a double hit by San Francisco Giants’ Brandon Belt (9) against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning at Oracle Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
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SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants have a pair of rookies at the top of their batting order for Wednesday’s matchup with the Pirates.

If left fielder Mike Yastrzemski and Mauricio Dubón build upon impressive debut seasons, the duo could see plenty of time in those two spots for the club next year.

After batting Dubón in the seventh or eighth spot in the order in each of his first eight major league starts, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he’d seen enough to bump Dubón all the way up to the leadoff slot on Tuesday night.

“I was good with it, that’s not an easy spot to hit where he was hitting and he was throwing out some good at-bats,” Bochy said.

Dubón set the table well as the Giants feasted on Pirates starter Mitch Keller in a three-run first inning rally that started with a leadoff single from the rookie second baseman. The three runs the Giants scored in the bottom of the first were their most at home in more than a calendar year as the team has struggled to gain early advantages.

“You look at his (minor league) history and where he’s hit, it’s always been at the top of the order,” Bochy said. “He’s comfortable up there.”

Dubón won’t lead off on Wednesday, but he’ll again have the chance to help the Giants near the top of the order as he’ll bat behind Yastrzemski in the No. 2 spot.

“I like that combo,” Bochy said.

Bochy said Yastrzemski was out of the lineup on Tuesday with a minor lower back injury, but the rookie outfielder will reassume his role as the leadoff hitter against Pirates starter Dario Agrazal.

Yastrzemski started batting atop the Giants’ order against right-handed pitchers in the middle of August and has handled the leadoff role well in 17 starts. The former Orioles prospect is batting .282 with a .952 OPS as a leadoff hitter and has demonstrated an ability to work deep counts.

Dubón doesn’t quite have the same patience at the plate as Yastrzemski as he’s only drawn one walk at the major league level, but the Giants are impressed with his contact skills. In 38 plate appearances with the Giants, Dubón has only struck out three times and has posted an .853 OPS.

Both players also provide an element of speed the Giants have been lacking in recent years. While neither ranks significantly above league average in sprint speed, both are among the fastest players of a group that could have starting jobs next season.

New talent acquired by president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and a new manager who will replace Bochy next year could bring drastic changes to the Giants, but it’s safe to assume both Yastrzemski and Dubón will have important roles next season.

The Giants like each player’s versatility, as Yastrzemski has started regularly in both corner outfield spots and made cameos in center field while Dubón has the ability to play both shortstop and second base.

If the duo’s early success at the plate is an indication of what’s to come, the Giants could have a solid one-two punch with Yastrzemski and Dubón near the top of the lineup in 2020.

Smith to begin throwing Thursday

Bochy said closer Will Smith, who is day-to-day with back tightness, could pitch in relief this weekend against the Miami Marlins. Smith hasn’t pitched since September 6, leaving the Giants without their closer for each of the team’s past three save opportunities.

Rookies Jandel Gustave and Shaun Anderson each earned saves this week, but Gustave also blew a save in a 6-4 loss to the Pirates on Monday.

Buster Posey sits again

Catcher Buster Posey is out of the starting lineup for the second straight day, but Bochy said he’s not dealing with an injury.

Bochy said with a day game following Wednesday’s night game, Posey was only going to start one of the team’s next two games. The Pirates haven’t announced a starter for Thursday’s game, but regardless of whether Pittsburgh tabs a left-hander or right-hander, Posey will be in the lineup.

Moronta undergoes successful surgery

Reliever Reyes Moronta underwent successful surgery in Los Angeles Tuesday to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Moronta injured his shoulder while pitching against the Padres on August 30 and was placed on the 60-day injured list last week.

Bochy said the Giants do not have a timetable for Moronta’s recovery process, but labrum injuries are among the most difficult for pitchers to return from. The Giants did receive some good news as Moronta did not need the capsule in his right shoulder repaired.

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