SAN FRANCISCO -- Though the season remains in its infancy, Brandon Crawford has dispelled any notion that left-handed pitching overwhelms him.
The Giants shortstop has been especially proficient lately against lefties -- who, according to baseball's time-honored percentages, should give him fits since he bats left-handed.
Including his game-winning homer off Rex Brothers in Sunday's 5-4, 10-inning victory over Colorado, Crawford has delivered his last four hits off lefties. Moreover, all went for extra bases. He doubled off Arizona's Joe Thatcher on Thursday, tripled off Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa on Friday and doubled against Brothers on Saturday.
If anything, Crawford has overcompensated. His .308 batting average included a .500 showing (7-for-14) off lefties, compared with .200 (5-for-25) against right-handers.
Crawford said he simply has continued to try to stay closed -- to avoid turning his front (right) shoulder away from the pitch when he swings.
"I'm trying to focus on that," Crawford said. "And if they pitch inside, react."
That's easier said than done against lefties.
"A lot of them have that fastball that runs back inside," Crawford said.
Crawford's success against left-handers isn't entirely new. He hit .254 against them in 2012, compared with .246 off right-handers. His splits last year were more typical of a left-handed batter. Southpaws limited him to a .199 average, well below his .269 average off right-handers.
Robinson Day very special for Giants coach Dunston
SAN FRANCISCO -- With a son having embarked upon a professional baseball career, Giants coach Shawon Dunston has made him aware of Jackie Robinson's enduring impact.
"If it weren't for Jackie Robinson, I wouldn't be in this clubhouse and living the way I'm living," Dunston said Sunday. "I always [tell] that to my son, that Jackie came before us. What he did was a beautiful thing and we live well because of Jackie Robinson."
Dunston's son, Shawon Jr., is an outfielder for the Cubs' Class A Advanced Kane County affiliate.
Dunston recalled expressing his gratitude to Robinson's widow, Rachel, and daughter, Sharon, when he met them as a member of the Giants during the 2002 World Series.
The Giants will join the other 29 big league clubs Tuesday in honoring Robinson, the African-American who broke baseball's color line. All players and coaches will wear jerseys with No. 42, Robinson's number that has been retired across Major League Baseball.
Affeldt's return to force tough roster move
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants face a challenging roster decision, perhaps as early as Tuesday, when they activate left-hander Jeremy Affeldt from the disabled list.
Affeldt's injury rehabilitation performance for Class A Advanced San Jose on Saturday indicated that his sprained right knee has healed. The reliever threw two scoreless innings, allowing two hits while striking out one.
The corresponding roster move the Giants must make when Affeldt returns will require intense thought. Each of the relievers considered most vulnerable to a demotion -- right-handers Juan Gutierrez and Jean Machi and left-hander David Huff -- have no Minor League options remaining. They'd have to clear waivers before the Giants could send them to Triple-A Fresno.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged Sunday that employing a 13-man pitching staff and dropping a position player could be a possibility after Monday's scheduled off-day. Averaging slightly fewer than six innings per game from their starters, the Giants might welcome adding another reliever.
In that event, reserve outfielder Juan Perez could be susceptible to a demotion, since he has Minor League options left. But Bochy sternly cautioned against assuming that this is a likelihood.
"I don't want y'all to come to any conclusions," he said.