Gabe Kapler takes subtle shot at Zach Littell after Giants demote pitcher
The San Francisco Giants decided to option relief pitcher Zach Littell to the club’s Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento just one day after he appeared to show up manager Gabe Kapler late in the team’s win over the Atlanta Braves. Following the roster move, Kapler spoke to reporters, explaining the team’s decision to demote Littell. In the process, Kapler took a subtle shot at the Giants reliever, per NBC Sports.
Gabe Kapler says the decision to option Zack Littell was based off performance, but "good teammate behavior is part of performance as well." pic.twitter.com/OXa312AO5l
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) September 13, 2022
Gabe Kapler said that he “assured” Zach Littell that the Giants’ decision to demote him was “performance-based.” While Kapler made it clear that performance could get Littell back in the big leagues, he went on to add that “good teammate behavior is part of performance as well.”
That’s a very clear message from Kapler. Yes, performance was part of the decision-making process when it came to Littell, whose 2.92 2021 ERA has ballooned to 5.08 this year.
However, Littell’s behavior definitely also factored into the decision. The 26-year-old reliever appeared to say something to Kapler, who was walking to the mound to remove him from Monday’s game against the Atlanta Braves.
The Giants manager then confronted Littell when they were both back in the dugout, ushering the relief pitcher to the tunnel.
Gabe Kapler made it clear. If Zach Littell wants to make it back to the big-league level with the Giants, he’ll have to pitch well enough for Triple-A Sacramento to warrant such a move.
But the unspoken part of Gabe Kapler’s message is this. Littell will have to improve his “teammate behavior” too if he wants to return to the majors.