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SF Giants reinstate ‘professional’ dress code for travel days

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — When the Giants board their charter flight back to Bay Area following Saturday’s spring finale, the team will look a little different than the past four years under manager Gabe Kapler.
We’re not talking about the additions of Blake Snell, Matt Chapman or Jorge Soler. In addition to the $300 million-plus in free agents brought in this offseason, the Giants are reinstating a dress code for travel days that had been absent in the ultra-lax clubhouse run by Kapler.
Athleisure is out. Professionalism is in.
Suits aren’t a requirement, but sweats won’t be permitted, either.
“We’re not bankers. We don’t have to wear suits,” said manager Bob Melvin, whose look of choice has long been a dress shirt and slacks. “But when we come off the plane and check in to a nice hotel, sweatsuits I don’t think are something I’d like to see.”
The shakeup carries a similar motive to other changes implemented by Melvin this spring, such as lining up on the field for the national anthem to reflect their readiness for first pitch. But this one the manager didn’t have his hand in. Veteran players held a meeting to set the team’s sartorial standard.
“We’re a big-league team. We should look professional all the time,” said Wilmer Flores, one player who never let his fashion sense lapse. “It’s not new for me. I always dress nice.”
“I think it’s good to have some rules and some guidelines,” added outfielder Michael Conforto, who was more surprised by the lack of them regarding attire on travel days after signing with San Francisco before last season. “I have all these custom suits. I hadn’t been able to wear them.”
Coming up with the Mets, Flores said the standard was still a full suit and tie whenever they were on the road. As a new generation has replaced the old guard, the game has become more welcoming — and that includes to fashion choices, or a lack thereof.
By the time Conforto’s tenure in New York was up, the rules had been relaxed to dress shirts and jeans. But, he said, there were still rules.
“It’s pretty common around the league to have something that the team does when they travel,” said Conforto, who opted for a checkered gray sport coat. “Maybe there was just a little bit of a lack of uniformity. But at the end of the day, I think our downfalls last year were on the field. Whether or not you can draw lines from certain things that we weren’t doing off the field, I think it really just goes back to preparation and a lack of execution.”
Just ask Flores, whose work ethic draws as much attention from his peers as his high style. His clothing of choice for the flight home from Arizona was a custom-made, hooded gray blazer, paired with skinny black jeans and black boots.
“To play good, it starts off the field,” he said. “How you behave yourself off the field, what you do when you’re not playing. I mean, we get paid, we should have a professional look.”
The fashionable Flores is happy for any excuse to dig through his closet.
“I don’t go to weddings anymore,” he said. “I have a lot of clothes that I want to wear. During the season, if I don’t wear it, when am I going to wear it? I think it’s nice. I like it.”
Asked which of his teammates for whom it will be the biggest adjustment, Flores surveyed the room. He couldn’t name just one. “A lot of guys,” he chuckled.
This year, the message espoused by Melvin at their first team meeting of camp surrounded personal accountability.
There were three basic rules: Be on time, play hard and be accountable. Players took that to its natural next step, sprucing up their style away from the field.
“It’s pretty simple,” Conforto said. “There’s not a lot of rules, just some pretty clear rules.
“The dress code stuff, we’ll police that on our own. Being on time is across the board, for meetings, for anthems, for bus times. … The veteran guys in here, we’ll make sure everyone’s doing what they need to be doing and we’ll get on each other if the veteran guys aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”
Two more pitchers cut
Right-handers Spencer Howard and Blayne Enlow were each reassigned to the minor leagues Saturday morning, bringing the number of players the Giants will take north with them for their three exhibitions against the A’s and Triple-A River Cats to 41.
Howard and Enlow were both competing for the final spot in the starting rotation or a bulk role in the bullpen, but the moves put Mason Black, Daulton Jefferies and Landen Roupp in position to potentially seize those jobs.
Howard, 27, started four games with 1.87 ERA, eight strikeouts, five walks and a hit batter. Enlow, 25, made four appearances in relief and one start, tossing three shutout innings against a Dodgers lineup that featured Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani and Freddie Freeman. He ended spring with a 3.27 ERA, 12 strikeouts, two walks and two hit batters in 11 innings.
“Spencer’s going to be that next wave for us as far as the starters go,” Melvin said. “Enlow’s really been fantastic. When you look at the needs early in the season, really at anytime, you’re going to need guys who can pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen. He’s done that really well for us.”
Notable
— C Joey Bart (hamstring) could be back in the lineup Sunday in Sacramento after exiting Friday’s split-squad road game after one at-bat with a tight right hamstring. “I think it was more of a cramp to tell you the truth,” Melvin said. “When I spoke to him this morning, it was like he felt a little dehydrated yesterday.”
— Likewise, OF Austin Slater (elbow) is also tentatively scheduled to return to the lineup Sunday. Experiencing soreness in his surgically repaired right elbow, Slater was supposed to DH on Friday but was scratched. He has taken only 12 at-bats this spring and played only two games in the field.
— Set to make his first intrasquad start Sunday, LHP Blake Snell will have at least one more in front of him before the Giants can pencil him into their rotation, Melvin said. If it comes on regular four days’ rest, that would line up Snell to potentially make his first start April 3, the finale of their three-game series at Dodger Stadium.
— RHP Jordan Hicks will start Sunday against the River Cats. The Giants have not announced their pitching plans for their two Bay Bridge exhibitions.

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