San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy says he plans to use his slugging pitcher instead of a designated hitter Thursday night when the Giants visit the Oakland Athletics.
It will be the first time a team intentionally used a pitcher to hit instead of a DH since the Chicago White Sox allowed Ken Brett to do it in 1976. The Rays were forced to bat pitcher Andy Sonnanstine in 2009 because of a lineup card mix-up.
Bumgarner is batting .175 this season with two homers and five RBIs in 40 at-bats. He has nine homers in 183 at-bats the past three seasons, a rate that would project to about 36 home runs if he had a full season as a hitter. Bumgarner has even made a public plea to compete in the Home Run Derby.
Bochy said he made the decision because the right-handed-hitting Bumgarner is a dangerous hitter and the A's are starting lefty Dillon Overton.