OAKLAND -- Madison Bumgarner will strike a blow, at least the Giants expect him to, for pitchers everywhere on Thursday when manager Bruce Bochy will place him in the batting order against the Oakland A's.
The Giants thus will become the first team to opt against using a designated hitter when it has one at its disposal since 1976, when the Chicago White Sox allowed starter Ken Brett, Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett's brother, to hit for himself.
Bochy explained his decision to let Bumgarner take his cuts in simple terms.
"He's a good hitter, he's dangerous and we're facing a lefty [in Oakland's Dillon Overton]," Bochy said after the Giants' 7-1 loss to the A's on Wednesday.
Bumgarner's batting .175 this year, well behind fellow starting pitchers such as Arizona's Patrick Corbin (.314), the Chicago Cubs' Jake Arrieta (.294) and Pittsburgh's Francisco Liriano (.290). But Bumgarner also leads all active pitchers with 13 career home runs and has won the last two Silver Slugger Awards for offensive excellence at his position.
By letting Bumgarner hit, the Giants forfeit their right to a designated hitter in the game. As such, if he departs the game, his spot in the lineup cannot go to a DH.
Bochy said that he wasn't certain whether he would bat Bumgarner eighth, as he often has done this year, or ninth.
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.