OAKLAND – In the seventh inning on Friday night, 26-year-old starter Dereck Rodriguez has replaced 25-year-old Reyes Moronta. Rodriguez jogged to the shelter and sat down next to Andrew Suarez, 25, and the two rookies watched as Moronta hit a runner. A few minutes later, 24-year-old center fielder Steven Duggar slid on the plate and tied a single to the right.
There's a youth movement in San Francisco, but you might already have known that. Rodriguez, Suarez and Moronta were a big part of the first half story and Duggar made waves last week.
What you may not have noticed is that another player who is in the middle of action Friday night is actually younger than all four. Ryder Jones got 150 big league clubs last season and has not been seen since. It is often easy to write off a player if it disappears for a while. But Jones, a former runner-up, is still 24 years old. He was born seventeen months after Duggar, who was previously the youngest player on the list.
Jones still has enough time to find his step and fulfill the promise he has sometimes shown. On Friday there was another flash of this talent. Jones hit a long solo homer in the fifth and gave the Giants a lead they would never let go. With a 5-1 victory over the A & # 39; s, the Giants made their second half to a rocking start and tied this Bay Bridge Series at two games each.
Jones will likely drive back to Sacramento. The plan was that he would turn up for a day while Brandon Belt witnessed the birth of his second son, and he certainly seized the opportunity.
"I thought Heimer would be huge for him," manager Bruce Said Bochy. "It was huge for us, he did a nice job in Sacramento last month, he's doing what we wanted this year, another big year, that's all he needs is at-bat and experience the tools to be a good player in the big league. "
Jones defeated in his first at-bat but came second with a 2-0 lead next time. Edwin Jackson tried to throw a slider over the inside of the plate and Jones crushed it. Both players leaned in different directions and watched as the ball clanked high off the pole.
The Giants are heavily reliant on rookies this year, but Jones was part of a class that never got a foothold. Almost every player in this group was injured and most fought in the majors. Jones hit .173 last year and hit in a third of his at-bats. Jones did not have much time with Evan Longoria and Pablo Sandoval this spring. He played in Scottsdale in the outfield game and hoped to increase his versatility, but he was first and foremost the third baseman in Sacramento. At the time of this last promotion, Jones was. 0.299 in Triple-A, with nine homers, 15 doubles and 48 RBI.
He will return to a River Cats team that has provided ample help. Rodriguez started the season there. On Friday he allowed a run over 6 1/3 innings and lowered his ERA to 2.72.
"I trust my things, I trust my things," said Rodriguez. "I was just after them."