Giants’ Derek Holland calls injury ‘fake,’ rips front office
SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants weren’t pleased with Derek Holland’s results in the starting rotation, so they asked the struggling left-hander to pitch in relief.
If Holland wanted to express frustration with the decision, manager Bruce Bochy and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi have said their doors are always open. On his way to the bullpen, Holland bypassed both doors.
“To be honest, I have no idea what they’re doing,” Holland told reporters after Bochy informed the pitcher of the decision on Saturday.
Holland is the first player to openly critique the Giants’ new regime, but it’s possible he’s not the only player upset with some of the moves Zaidi and the rest of the front office have made in recent weeks. If that’s the case, Zaidi said he shoulders responsibility.
“I think every organization would like to create an environment where guys feel comfortable talking about their concerns in-house,” Zaidi said Sunday. “To the extent guys don’t feel comfortable, that’s on me. Maybe I haven’t been around as much as I should be.”
After Holland posted a 5.34 ERA through his first six starts, the Giants elected to place the veteran lefty on the 10-day injured list with a bone bruise in his left index finger. Holland had an MRI on his finger and the Giants’ medical staff had documented the issue, but he called it “a fake injury.”
Holland felt he could continue pitching, but the Giants believed rest would serve him well. The pitcher and the staff had a disagreement, but it was internal.
After Holland allowed seven earned runs in the snow in Denver on Thursday, the Giants believed the club would benefit from moving him out of the rotation. Holland’s concerns over this decision were then made public.
“We keep changing a lot of things,” Holland said. “I did a fake injury. I’m not happy about that. But at the end of the day, I’m going to do whatever they ask me to do.”
Under Bochy and Zaidi’s predecessors, Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans, the Giants have a longstanding track record of open communication in the clubhouse. Players have lauded Bochy for his approach through the years, and Holland was quick to point out his frustration was the result of decisions made by the front office, not by his manager.
However, Bochy defended the front office’s decision Sunday, pointing out the team’s performance and current last-place standing do not meet in-house expectations.
“The front office is doing everything they can to make us better,” Bochy said. “And we need to get better. We’re not where we want to be. Things have to be done in the right way, though.”
“The right way,” according to Bochy, is to keep any conflict inside the clubhouse. Every manager deals with frustrated players, but during his 13 seasons with the Giants, few of Bochy’s have voiced displeasure with decisions through the media.
Zaidi said he understands Holland’s disappointment, but like Bochy, he noted that after nearly a quarter of the season, the Giants must make changes if they want to improve upon a 16-23 record.
“If we’re 23-16, I don’t think we’d be sitting in this room right now,” Zaidi said. “I understand it. I’m as frustrated as anybody. But again, I want us to have a culture of accountability where people are looking in the mirror and asking what they can do better.”
The Giants have not announced who will fill Holland’s open slot in the rotation on Wednesday against the Blue Jays, but Zaidi indicated the club has a handful of options at Triple-A. Zaidi also said the Giants have discussed using an “opener,” but a decision to do so will only be made by Bochy.