February 2, 2023

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OF González makes most of back-to-back mound appearances

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SAN FRANCISCO – It’s probably not a good sign when you send a position player to the mound in two consecutive games. Such was the case for the Giants, who once again leaned on rookie outfielder Luis González to pitch the ninth inning of Monday night’s 13-3 blowout loss to the Mets at Oracle Park.

González, a former pitcher at the University of New Mexico, became the first position player to pitch in back-to-back games since the expansion era began in 1961. The 26-year-old lefty worked 3 1/3 scoreless innings in his first two pitching appearances against the Cardinals and Padres, and he continued to roll on Monday by retiring Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso on two quick groundouts to start the ninth.

Still, González subsequently fell into trouble, walking Jeff McNeil and surrendering a single to Mark Canha that set up Eduardo Escobar’s two-run double to right-center field. J.D. Davis followed with an RBI single to cap the three-run inning, causing González to walk away with a 6.23 ERA following his third pitching appearance in the last nine days.

Through 41 games this year, González is already tied for the second-most pitching appearances by a Giants position player in a single season since 1901, trailing only Charlie Hickman. Not only have his outings provided a degree of levity in lopsided losses, but they’ve also helped lessen the workload for San Francisco’s core group of relievers.

Prior to Monday’s game, manager Gabe Kapler said he was impressed by González’s ability to throw his mid-40s floater for strikes and occasionally mix in his mid-80s heater, as that combination of pitches is vastly different from the type of offerings opposing lineups normally prepare to hit on any given night.

“That stuff is really effective and incredibly valuable,” Kapler said. “It means a great deal to a team’s bullpen. We’re lucky that we have somebody who can do that for us.”

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