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Shaw among four recalled as Giants’ roster expands

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With September roster expansions Sunday, the Giants recalled four players from Triple-A.

Among those promoted were catcher Aramís García, southpaw Conner Menez, first baseman Chris Shaw and right-handed pitcher Burch Smith.

Pablo Sandoval was also activated from the 10-day injured list (right elbow) for a final at-bat or two and perhaps a San Francisco farewell tour before undergoing Tommy John surgery Wednesday.

Shaw made his big league debut August 31 last season and spent the last month of the season in the majors, but he struggled mightily at the plate finishing with a 37.1 percent strikeout rate and a .185/.274/.278 slash line in 62 plate appearances.

He was demoted to Double-A to open the 2019 season and spent nearly three months in Richmond before earning a spot on the Triple-A roster again May 31. He said overcoming that challenge made this year’s call up even more meaningful than when he made his major league debut last year:

“When you start the year in Double-A and you look at the depth chart and how far away you are, there’s times you’re just thinking, ‘How am I gonna get out of this hole?’ But I never stopped believing, I never stopped having faith in myself and ultimately I got here, it’s just such a good feeling.” 

He said he found out after Saturday night’s game with the River Cats and called his mom right away to tell her. He said it was emotional on both ends of the phone line.

For Menez, it was his girlfriend who got the first call. The 24-year-old lefty was called up in late-July this season and made three starts for the Giants during which time he allowed four homers in 12-2/3 innings and came away with a 1.500 WHIP and a 7.01 FIP.

He said since going back to Triple-A three weeks ago he’s been working on commanding his fastball better. Asked what his goals are over the next month, he said:

“For me it’s just to come here show my dominance and pound the strike zone.”

Manager Bruce Bochy said he expects to use Menez out of the bullpen.

The River Cats clinched a spot in the Pacific Coast League playoffs Thursday for the first time since the team became a Giants affiliate in a contest with the Reno Aces in which Shaw hit three dingers.

But both he and Menez said, while they are very happy for their teammates, they definitely wouldn’t trade a cup of coffee in the big leagues this September for participating in the PCL playoffs. Menez said:

“It’s obviously probably a fun time but I’d rather honestly be up here any way I can, so I wouldn’t trade it. It was fun experiencing being able to clinch down there and celebrate with the guys I’ve been playing with for a long time. That’s always a neat experience for sure.”

Smith is a journeyman who made his major league debut with the Padres in 2013 and has since bounced around in the minors playing briefly for the Royals and the Brewers. The Giants claimed him off waivers from the Brewers August 12 and in Triple-A between the Brewers system and in Sacramento with the River Cats he’s started 17 games and posted a 2.63 ERA in 92-1/3 innings with 103 strikeouts.

Between 2018 and 2019 García has 26 games in the big leagues under his belt and will offer the Giants a third backstop off the bench for the homestretch. In Sacramento he was hitting .271 with 16 homers and a 30.7 percent strikeout rate.

Sandoval said it was emotional finding out Saturday night that he would get to make a final appearance in 2019 before embarking on a long rehab process. He said he hopes to put on a show for his manager, his teammates and the City that has given him so much:

“I got a shot to play one more time before surgery so this means a lot, especially one more time for Bochy on his farewell tour. It means a lot for me because I learned a lot of things from these guys and this organization.”

He said he hopes to try to stay focused when he goes up to the plate, but he knows it won’t be easy, particularly because he will be a free agent after this season and there’s no guarantee this isn’t his last game in a Giants uniform:

“I guess I’m just trying to calm myself down right now from thinking too much. It’s gonna be emotional, especially because my family’s gonna be here to support me, so it’s hard. It’s hard for me to forget surgery but I know it’s not gonna be the end of my career it’s gonna be a tough road for get back quickly and healthy and stronger that’s the thing that I’m gonna put in my head after this at-bat.”

Bochy, who Sandoval referred to as his second father, said the Panda’s final at-bat with him at the helm will be an emotional moment for him, too:

“All these guys have meant a lot to me and hopefully they know I care about them—I think Pablo knows that. We have a long history together, we’ve had a great relationship so when I realize this’ll be his last game here and here with me— I don’t know what’s in the  future for him but I’m sure we’ll have a hug after the game and talk a little bit.”

Notes

Bochy could not provide an update on reliever Reyes Moronta, whom he said was receiving an MRI before Sunday afternoon’s series finale with the Padres.

Moronta collapsed in the sixth inning after the third pitch of his outing in relief of Logan Webb in Saturday night’s 8-3 defeat to San Diego and the Giants announced he had sustained an acute right shoulder strain.


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