Sep/24/12 08:49 AM Filed in: Aubrey Huff
SAN FRANCISCO – Brandon Crawford wore a puzzled expression as a reporter approached him Sunday afternoon.
“I didn’t play today,” he said.
Well, sure he did. He pinch-ran for Aubrey Huff. There’s a special kind of pressure and preparation that comes with that, isn’t there?
“I only had a minute to prepare,” Crawford said. “But even if I didn’t have a minute, I’d still be faster. You can quote me. I’m sick, unprepared and with a semi-tight hamstring, and I’m still faster.”
When it comes to comedy gold, Huff’s balky running is 24-karat. He wears a T-shirt under his batting practice jersey that says, “FASTER THAN ____.”
He turned another double into a single Sunday, hitting a shot off the right field bricks in the ninth inning.
But no joke: There's little doubt Huff would be on the playoff roster if Giants manager Bruce Bochy had to pick his 25 guys today.
“Well, you have to like his at-bats,” Bochy said of Huff, who is 5 for 9 with two walks and just one strikeout as a pinch hitter since coming off the DL on Sept. 1. “He’s doing a great job with that. It’s so valuable for a club to have a good left-handed pinch hitter, especially against a closer with the game on the line.”
The Giants don’t have to make decisions until they know their opponent in an NL Division Series, and that will have some influence. The Cincinnati Reds have a left-handed closer in Aroldis Chapman, as well as a left-handed setup man in Sean Marshall.
Then there is the question of a pinch runner. Huff might require two roster spots, since his knee – which he injured June 13 when he tripped over the dugout rail in the immediate wake of Matt Cain’s perfect game -- continues to be an issue.
“There may be times I don’t pinch run for him,” Bochy said. “But we have a nice quality at-bat when he goes up there, and that’s something we’ll have to think hard about.”
The Giants know better than to give up on a gimpy veteran. If they ever happen to forget, Edgar Renteria can haul out his World Series MVP trophy as a reminder.