Giants manager Bruce Bochy has said it many times: There isn't a more underappreciated player in the major leagues than Randy Winn.
Bochy's devotion to Winn is about to be tested, though. Nate Schierholtz, like Winn a San Ramon Valley High product, will come off the disabled list today, and with Eugenio Velez having earned an everyday patch of grass, the outfield is suddenly a crowded place.
Bochy is not blind to the fact that Winn entered Monday with a .158 average over his past 16 games. And that he's been a .160 hitter from the right side. And that it's been 378 plate appearances since his last home run, on April 25.
Bochy wouldn't say for certain that Winn and center fielder Aaron Rowand would sit more often down the stretch. But he acknowledged that he would meet with both players before today's game.
"I'll sit down with them and talk about it," Bochy said. "We know it's going to be a challenge. We'll rotate this around, do the matchup thing. We all have one agenda, and that's to win."
Winn already knows what he plans to tell his manager.
"I want to win, bottom line," he said earnestly. "I'm not here for 'Randy Winn playing every day.' If I play, I play. If I don't, I don't."
That's not a statement every impending free agent would make. But Winn is motivated by something other than money.
"This is my 11th year in the big leagues, parts of 12 seasons, and I've never been to the postseason,"
Winn came closest in 2003, when the Seattle Mariners had a five-game lead in the AL West as late as Aug. 15. They finished with 93 victories, but the A's flew past them.
"That was a team that did everything well," Winn said. "So you just can't take anything for granted."
Bochy said he wasn't surprised to hear Winn's stance.
"Yeah, that is nice to hear, and it shows you the class Randy has," Bochy said. "He's such a pro. It doesn't surprise me at all, coming from him."
Rowand said his tweaked left hamstring was improved, but Bochy held him out of the lineup as a precaution. He grounded out as a pinch hitter. ... Dodgers ace Chad Billingsley (hamstring) will not start Wednesday. His replacement could come from outside the organization. ... Right-hander Billy Sadler, whom the Giants designated for assignment, has signed a contract with the Houston Astros.
— Andrew Baggarly