Giants notes: Red-hot Ramos continues contributions with bat, glove

Giants notes: Red-hot Ramos continues contributions with bat, glove originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

The center field wall at Chase Field is 25 feet high, and in right-center, where the wall gives way to a famous pool deck, you need to hit it at least 413 feet to get a homer. It's not generally an area where right-handed hitters have success, but Heliot Ramos didn't hesitate when he made contact with a slider in the seventh inning Monday night.

Ramos' right hand came off the bat and he immediately went into his home run trot. He had crushed a pitch from Ryne Nelson 420 feet, and the ball bounced off an elevated deck before landing back on the field.

Diamondbacks center fielder Corbin Carroll seemed stunned that he never had a shot to make a play, but right now, that's the way it's going for Ramos. His natural strength, one of the main reasons the Giants drafted him in the first round seven years ago, is on full display.

The homer was Ramos' second in as many days and fourth in 24 games since being recalled from Triple-A. He has a .838 OPS, and even as the Giants are getting regulars back, he isn't going anywhere.

"From the minute he got here, he has played with a lot of confidence," manager Bob Melvin told reporters in Phoenix. "He's playing left, playing right, we've hit him everywhere in the lineup from the middle to leadoff. He continues to play with a lot of energy. He's playing great."

Ramos shifted over to right with Michael Conforto back in the lineup and made a pair of athletic grabs. He ran down a Joc Pederson liner that left the bat at 111 mph and also robbed Lourdes Gurriel Jr. of extra bases on a liner that had a catch probability of 20 percent, per Statcast.

After the Giants' 4-2 loss to the Diamondbacks on Monday at Chase Field, Ramos said he is getting good jumps and was confident he would make both catches.

"I'm just making the right decisions," Ramos told reporters in Phoenix. "I'm being aggressive with my decisions, trusting myself, trusting my instincts.

He's also making life easy for Melvin, who spends his mornings trying to figure out how to jumpstart an offense that has scored 14 runs in the last six games, losing five of them. The manager moved Mike Yastrzemski to center to keep Ramos in the lineup along with Conforto, and that seems likely to happen often given Luis Matos' struggles recently.

It'll be at least a few more days before any other changes are made in the outfield. Austin Slater's rehab assignment will hit a second week when he plays for Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday night.

Mixing And matching

Spencer Howard wasn't quite as sharp the second time out, but he walked off having allowed just two runs in 4 2/3 innings. Given how he has pitched in two "bulk innings" appearances, he certainly could be in line to get a start soon.

The Giants already were going with just four starters before Blake Snell got hurt, and Snell will miss at least a couple of turns -- and likely more -- after being placed on the IL Monday with a left groin strain. Snell will get an MRI on Tuesday to determine the severity of the strain, but he missed 25 games previously with the same injury.

Melvin said after Monday's loss that he'll see how the bullpen is doing before making any decisions. Keaton Winn will make a rehab start Tuesday, so he'll be back in the mix soon, too.

It'll be a while before the Giants have other options. Robbie Ray will start his rehab assignment Tuesday in Arizona, but he's still at least a month away from returning. Alex Cobb and Tristan Beck are both in the playing-catch phase as they return from their own injuries.

Wrong direction

The five-game losing streak is the longest of the season for the Giants, who haven't lost six straight since the first week of September last season. It was a tough way to kick off what later might be viewed as a pivotal stretch in the NL Wild Card race.

After a week against baseball's two best teams, the Giants won't face a team above .500 until they host the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 28. But that might be a bit misleading. Following this series, they visit Arlington to take on the Texas Rangers, the other team from last year's World Series. Then they'll host the Houston Astros, who are 26-34 but still the Astros, followed by the Los Angeles Angels, Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals.

The Diamondbacks, Cubs and Cardinals all figure to be vying for Wild Card spots this season. All three National League division leaders -- the Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers -- have opened up seven-game leads.

Trainer's room

Nick Ahmed's rehab assignment has been halted after he felt discomfort in his left wrist during a Triple-A game Saturday. That was Ahmed's first rehab appearance and the Giants said he'll be limited for the next two to three days. Thairo Estrada is also dealing with a jammed thumb, so San Francisco went young Monday with Brett Wisely and Casey Schmitt in the middle of the field. Wisely had two hits and Schmitt had a single.

Marco Luciano (hamstring) will resume baseball activities this week. He has been cleared to throw, hit and start a running progression, although given how Wisely and Schmitt have swung the bat recently, his next game action likely will come in Triple-A.

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