The Giants optioned Eugenio Velez to Fresno and called up Travis Denker Wednesday. Velez couldn't carry over the swing he had this spring into the regular season and had been struggling since the Giants left Arizona in March. He was hitting just .207 with 9 RBI and 11 runs scored. He did have 8 stolen bases which is tied for the team lead, but had only 1 hit in his last 18 at-bats and just wasn't becoming much of a factor offensively. Ray Durham has been getting the majority of the time at second base lately and playing well which has cut back on Velez's at-bats. Velez seemed to start wanting to pull the ball and try and hit it out of the ball park rather than going with pitches and putting his speed to work. The offensive struggles seemed to start affecting his defensive play as well at least one critical error that cost the Giants a game in early May, one that really contributed to the Giants most recent losing streak. I still think Velez can be a serviceable big leaguer and I think he'll be re-called as soon as he gets back on track.
Travis Denker will be an interesting player to watch as he seems destined to get a bulk of at-bats at second and third base over the next couple weeks. The Giants got Denker from the Dodgers for Mark Sweeney last August in a deal that could end up being a steal for the Giants. Denker was hitting well in Fresno (.315) and can play the infield better than Velez. He had a solid first half of spring training as well with the Giants but tailed off a bit in late. I'm expecting to see a some of offense out of Denker. Not expecting a Jon Bowker like debut, but I do think Denker will hold his own with the stick and even show a little pop. The 22 year-old had never played much above single-A until his recent promotion to Fresno so he's been fast-tracked. The Giants have been calling players up left and right and most of their call-ups have worked out so far. Jonathon Bowker, Manny Burris, Alex Hinshaw and Billy Sadler have all performed well and have earned roles on this team. It wouldn't surprise me to see Denker come in and do the same.
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