Giants to keep suspended Melky Cabrera off playoff roster
Outfielder would have been eligible for NL Championship Series if team advanced
The San Francisco Giants have informed Melky Cabrera's agent they won't bring the suspended outfielder back at any point this post-season.
Manager Bruce Bochy made the announcement before Thursday's series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks, San Francisco's final regular-season home game.
"We have decided not to send Melky on a rehab assignment because we do not intend to add him to any playoff roster," Bochy said. "We had to make this decision early because Melky would have to start rehabbing in Arizona. We have decided to develop our roster from our current group of players. They've done a terrific job during the critical part of the season. We have informed Melky's agent and they understand. I just like the way this club has played down the stretch and moved on. So we're going to move forward without Melky."
Bochy said the National League West champion Giants will go into the best-of-five divisional series with the current roster. Cabrera's suspension takes him through the first five games of the playoffs, so he would have been eligible in the NL championship series if San Francisco advanced.
"While I am disappointed that I won't have the chance to join my team in the playoffs, I wish my teammates the best in the post-season and I'll be rooting hard for them to bring another world championship to San Francisco!" Cabrera said in a statement through his representatives.
The 2012 All-Star Game MVP, batting an NL-leading .346, was suspended Aug. 15 for a positive testosterone text. Last Friday, Cabrera asked to be removed from contention for the NL batting crown, saying he had no wish to win a tainted title.
Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum appreciated that the team made a decision well in advance of the playoffs so everyone could stay focused on the next step, avoiding a potential distraction.
"I'm not saying that he's not somebody that when he's doing what he's doing that we could use," Lincecum said after a 7-3 win against Arizona. "I'm not saying we wouldn't appreciate the addition, but we've got something good right now. I'm not sure, but that would probably bring some controversy with it as well."
Hall of Famer Wade Boggs feels Cabrera made the right decision about taking himself out of the race for the batting title.
"I'm glad that he stood up and said that he didn't deserve it, number one, because he cheated to get to that point," Boggs said in a phone interview. "I would have thought Major League Baseball would have stepped in before that and sort of disqualified him on that fact. But he's a stand-up guy, and as far as [public relations] concerns, it's was pretty good for his corner, for him to do something like that."
Bochy was asked whether anything happening that could change in the team's thinking regarding Cabrera if there was a significant injury or other unforeseen circumstance.
"I can't say I can right now," Bochy said. "We've made this decision and that's where we're at right now. I'm not going to get into anything that's hypothetical. We have a number of outfielders. … We have a big roster here. They've all done a good job and stepped up when we needed them. We're going to have a 25-man roster from the guys you can see here right now."
Cabrera was batting .346 with 11 home runs and 60 RBIs in his first season with San Francisco and is five hits shy of 1,000 in his big league career. He is set to become a free agent after the season.
Bochy said he would talk to his players about the decision either later Thursday or Friday. Players weren't consulted beforehand, Bochy said of what was an organizational decision.
"Melky understands," Bochy said. "I think it's in the best interest of this club if you look how we've played and all we've been through. These guys have really done a great job. They're the reason why we're in this situation. They've earned this and we're going to go with the 25 guys we have here."
Outfielder Gregor Blanco said he spoke to Cabrera this week, but didn't talk business. He still supports Cabrera as a teammate and friend, but also understands the Giants' stance on this one.
"That's their decision. We can't do anything about it," said Blanco, who has picked up a bulk of the playing time in Cabrera's left field spot. "As a group, we've done a great job, and we have to continue to do it. We can't think about Melky."