Madison Bumgarner wants to participate in the Home Run Derby. While he might not have that chance, the San Francisco Giants are expected to let their star pitcher swing the bat Thursday night against the Oakland A’s — despite the game being played under American League rules.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Wednesday night that he plans to eschew a designated hitter and instead have Bumgarner bat for himself as San Francisco pays its Bay Area neighbor a visit.
“He’s a good hitter, he’s dangerous, and we’re facing a lefty (in Oakland’s Dillon Overton),” Bochy told reporters, via MLB.com.
Bumgarner is the best-slugging pitcher in baseball, having smacked 11 home runs and another five doubles over the past three seasons. He hasn’t been quite as productive at the plate this season, however, hitting just .175 in 40 at-bats after posting a .247 average in 2015 and .258 mark in 2014.
The last instance of a manager intentionally ditching his DH in an AL park came way back in 1976, when the Chicago White Sox allowed starting pitcher Ken Brett to grab a bat. The Tampa Bay Rays did so with right-hander Andy Sonnastine in 2009, but that was the result of a lineup card mix-up.
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