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SAN FRANCISCO – Managers David Bell and Gabe Kapler both said their clubs left the Slap Heard ‘Round Baseball in the past, but San Francisco Giants fans certainly didn’t forget about it.
Tommy Pham heard a loud chorus of boos during pregame lineup introductions and louder boos when he came to the plate for the first time Friday at Oracle Park. It’s the first time Pham has played the Giants since he slapped Joc Pederson during batting practice last month, an altercation that stemmed from their fantasy football league.
Most Reds pitchers wore red “Pham!” T-shirts during pregame warmups Friday, produced by Cincy Shirts, with the name styled like the old comic book “Pow!”
Neither Pham nor any of the Reds’ position players wore the shirts, which were sprinkled around the clubhouse during the team’s last homestand. The San Francisco Giants wore T-shirts that read: “Fantasy Football 101: Stashing Players on the IR isn’t cheating” before one game earlier this month.
Pederson told reporters he hoped fans would keep things respectful with Pham throughout the three-game series.
“It’s not something – nobody around here has talked about that in a long time, so it’s behind us, for sure,” Bell said. “I’m confident in saying that.”
Said Kapler: “Our club is really moved past this. I echo Joc’s sentiments about we have some incredible, supportive fans, but we always want them to be respectful as well.”
Reds roster moves: Nick Lodolo to make one more rehab start
Nick Lodolo is scheduled to make one more rehab appearance with Triple-A Louisville before joining the Reds’ rotation.
Lodolo pitched four scoreless innings in a rehab start Thursday. He struck out five of the 15 batters he faced, allowing two hits and zero walks.
“He pitched great,” Bell said. “Sixty-seven pitches. He threw 10 more in the bullpen. Everything was good.”
The Reds are targeting Lodolo’s return around July 4 or 5 in their home series against the New York Mets. He’s expected to throw five innings in his next rehab start (85-90 pitches), so he’ll be built up for a regular workload when he returns.
The Reds have a doubleheader against the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 7, so they’ll naturally need a six-man rotation.
“We’re anxious to get him back,” Bell said. “He’s pitching well. He needs to be here pitching, but at the same time, we want to do it in a way that’s best for him.”
Reds homecoming: Donovan Solano returns to San Francisco
Donovan Solano was asked whether he expected any type of reaction from Giants fans when he came to the plate Friday, his first game against his former team, and Solano laughed.
“Not at all,” said Solano, who spent the last three years with the Giants. “I know that the organization and my teammates take care of me. I’ve got a good relationship over there, but the fans, I don’t know. I’m not expecting anything. If they say anything, I will enjoy it. I’m happy for that. It’s no big deal. I remember and can take all the good memories with me.”
Solano received some cheers when he was introduced for his first at-bat and was given a standing ovation by a few fans.
He felt gratitude toward the Giants because they gave him an opportunity in the Majors after spending the 2017 and 2018 seasons in the minor leagues. Solano won a Silver Slugger Award for second basemen in 2020 and he helped the Giants to a divisional title last year.
“Playing here means a lot for me,” Solano said. “This is the team that opened the door for the opportunity to come back to the big leagues.”
Solano hoped to return to the Giants when he reached free agency last offseason, before signing a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Reds, but he knew the writing was on the wall with Thairo Estrada prepared to step into his old role.
“I knew (Estrada) when he was with the Yankees,” Solano said. “I know his personality. I know how he is. I know he’s a hard worker. I told him last year, ‘if I’m not here, I hope you can do it like everybody expects.’ I know he can do it.”
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Reds pitchers wear Tommy Pham-style shirts before game vs. Giants