Giants could let Bumgarner hit in lieu of DH

Giants could let Bumgarner hit in lieu of DH

SAN FRANCISCO -- An intriguing issue was raised Monday, but not answered: Will the Giants scrap using a designated hitter when Madison Bumgarner starts Thursday at Oakland and let the adept-hitting pitcher take his cuts instead?

Giants manager Bruce Bochy skirted the issue for now.

"Too early to commit," he said.

Bumgarner is batting .175 (7-for-40) with two home runs and five RBIs. He's the leading home run hitter among active pitchers with 13. Moreover, he bats right-handed, which conceivably would enable him to take some comfortable swings against left-hander Dillon Overton, the A's scheduled starter.

Some or perhaps all of the Giants' right-handed batters whom Bochy could use at DH, such as Trevor Brown, Mac Williamson or switch-hitter Ramiro Pena, might be in that night's lineup. Thus, using Bumgarner to hit would deepen the Giants' bench.

Bay Area News Group reported that no team with the DH at its disposal has refused to use one since 1976, when the Chicago White Sox kept starter Ken Brett in their batting order.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.