Home News SF Giants set date for Blake Snell to make first start

SF Giants set date for Blake Snell to make first start


SF Giants set date for Blake Snell to make first start

LOS ANGELES — Two weeks after signing the two-time Cy Young winner, the San Francisco Giants know when they can slot Blake Snell into their rotation.

Passing up the opportunity to debut at Dodger Stadium, Snell will make his first start Monday at home in the first game of the Giants’ series against the Washington Nationals. There was some belief he could start the series finale here Wednesday, but instead Snell will throw one more simulated game.

“You look at the build up you go through in spring training and it just didn’t feel like we’re there yet,” manager Bob Melvin said. “I think he’s going to feel a lot better.”

Snell threw 71 pitches over four innings at Scottsdale Stadium on Friday, racking up 11 strikeouts against Double-A competition. The Giants aim to get in the 70-80 pitch range again in his final tune-up Wednesday, the biggest difference being the setting — Dodger Stadium — and the competition, his own major-league teammates.

“It’s been pretty easy for him the first couple games,” Melvin said. “A lot of strikeouts with guys just sitting on the fastball. We can get some guys in there that will probably challenge him a little bit more. And then he’ll be ready to go after that.”

Following Keaton Winn, Logan Webb and Kyle Harrison will start the final games at Dodger Stadium. Jordan Hicks will get the nod Friday in the Giants’ home opener.

Flores shows toughness

Initially, the Giants’ lineup Monday against Dodgers lefty James Paxton didn’t include Wilmer Flores.

After Flores tumbled over the railing and into the first-base dugout at Petco Park, Melvin anticipated giving him at least a day to recover and penciled in Tyler Fitzgerald to make his first career start at first base. But shortly before the manager met with reporters before first pitch, he had a lineup change to announce: Flores was in there.

“Originally I thought there was no chance,” Melvin said. “It tells you a lot about him.”

While Flores said his right shoulder was still sore, “like when you get hit,” everything checked out when he went through hitting and throwing drills. It should come as no surprise after Flores petitioned to remain in the game Sunday after taking a nasty fall.

“Really, the reason he came out yesterday was he cut his finger pretty good and it was bleeding and we couldn’t get it stopped,” Melvin said. “He wanted to stay in the game.”

The late lineup change meant Flores’ primary first baseman’s mitt would be in use.

Had the Giants stuck with Fitzgerald, the do-it-all man had planned to employ Flores’ backup mitt. Hard to blame him for not owning one of his own, given he only picked up the position late this spring training as it became clear his path to the major-league roster was as a super-utility player.

Fitzgerald logged exactly one game at the position — during the Bay Bridge series — before being asked to start there in front of 55,000-plus at Dodger Stadium. Surely he had some experience there in high school or college? “Never,” he said. Little league? “My whole life.”

“The second time is tonight,” he said, or at least it would have been.

While he didn’t get the chance to break in Flores’ leather for him, expect to see Fitzgerald at first — and everywhere else — at some point this season.

He’s already crossed off pitching, taking down a scoreless eighth inning in Sunday’s blowout loss to the Padres.

“Fitzy’s kind of had that do-it-all role,” Melvin said.

Avila brings 15-0 record to bullpen

In need of coverage out of their bullpen, the Giants added a good luck charm with a roster move before Monday’s game.

At least that must be what Nick Avila is, after the righty won all 14 of his decisions for Triple-A Sacramento last season and, then, in his first appearance this year, earned the win again. While pitcher wins have fallen out of fashion, a 15-0 record in his past 15 decisions is almost absurd enough to matter.

“It was just like, are you serious, we’re starting off the year right where we left off last year,” Avila laughed from the visitor’s clubhouse. “I thought it was pretty funny. All the coaches were joking, ‘Gotta get the win, of course.’”

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