March 2010

Spring notes: Wilson, Affeldt get extensions

The San Francisco Giants have bought out two years of closer Brian Wilson’s arbitration years by agreeing to a two-year, $15 million extension, Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reported.

 Like Tim Lincecum, Wilson reached arbitration as a super-two player, meaning he’ll get four years of arbitration. Wilson’s contract for 2010 remains unchanged by this deal. Wilson and the Giants agreed to a $4.4 million deal this season.

According to the terms of the new deal, Wilson will receive $6.5 million in 2011 and $8.5 million in 2012. He’d still have one more year of arbitration in 2013.

Wilson apparently had scouts buzzing with his outing Thursday against the A’s, by snapping off a couple of 90 mph sliders and then dropping in a couple of 80 mph curveballs.

Wilson plans on using the curveball more this season.

“I’ve had it since I was 12,” Wilson told the Mercury-News. “I just back-shelved it when I became a reliever. It’s good to have an extra pitch just in case. … That’s what they’ve been telling me for a couple of years now. I thought I’d a listen.”

Sounds like good news, all the way around.

DEAL FOR AFFELDT: Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt has agreed to a two-year contraction decision that reworks his deal for 2010 and keeps him under contract for 2011, USA Today reported.

Affeldt’s original deal signed prior to the 2009 season had the pitcher making $4 million in 2010. Under the new deal, he’ll get $4.5 million in 2010 and $5 million in 2011, with a $500,000 buyout.

An official team announcement on deals for Wilson and Affeldt is expected Friday.

SURGERY FOR BURRISS: From the not-so-good-news department, infielder Emmanuel Burriss decided to get another surgery on his broken foot on Sunday and likely will be sidelined until midseason.

Burriss labored with a decision on what to do for more than a week, before opting for surgery. The procedure replaced a screw place in his foot after he broke it last July.

Burriss won’t be game-ready until mid-June, meaning he won’t be able to return to the big club until July. He’ll be on crutches for two weeks before moving into a walking boot.

Spring training: Giants 6, Athetics 3

Todd Wellemeyer continued to move toward locking down the No. 5 starting spot in the rotation and John Bowker continue to make the Giants think about where he fits in to their 2010 plans during the Giants’ 6-3 win over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday night.

Wellemeyer gave up two runs — one earned — in five innings of work. He gave up three hits and two walks, while striking out a spring-high four batters.

Bowker went 2 for 3 with two doubles, two runs scored and a walk.

Inside the box score

Aaron Rowand was 2 for 4 with two runs, a double and an RBI.

Bengie Molina was 2 for 4 with two RBI.

Juan Uribe was 2 for 3 with a walk.

Sergio Romo and Dan Runzler maintained their 0.00 spring ERA with scoreless innings.

Brian Wilson pitched a 1-2-3 ninth with two strikeouts for his second spring save.

Up next

The Giants (18-7) play the first of back-to-back games with the Angels at 1:05 p.m. Friday. Tim Lincecum will pitch his second-to-last spring outing, trying to match rotation-mates Matt Cain, Barry Zito and Jonathan Sanchez by pitching into the seventh inning.

 

Spring training: Giants (ss) 7, Royals (ss) 0

John Bowker made his claim to earn a spot on the opening day roster by belting two home runs and driving in all seven runs in the Giants 7-0 win over the Kansas City Royals.

Bowker now has four home runs this spring and 18 RBI, the most in the majors.

Yet, as opening day approaches, Bowker still finds himself as the guy without a spot on the club.

With the Giants looking like they’ll break camp with 12 pitchers, it leaves five bench spots available. One will go for the backup catcher (Buster Posey or Eli Whiteside), a backup first baseman (Travis Ishikawa), a backup infielder (Matt Downs) and two backup outfielders.

But with the Giants leaning toward speedy Andres Torres and Eugenio Velez, there appears to be no spot left for Bowker. The most vulnerable player in the starting lineup in RF Nate Schierholtz. Torres and Velez can play RF. The Giants don’t think Bowker can do that. The ability for Torres and Velez to play all three OF positions, plus Velez’s ability to play 2B, make them more attractive options. Bowker can also play 1B, but so can Aubrey Huff, Ishikawa, Pablo Sandoval, Mark DeRosa or even Posey.

“We know Johnny can hit,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy told the San Francisco Chronicle. “That’s a great bat there. It’s a matter of what’s going to fit best for the ball club. The ball is jumping off his bat, but there are other things to consider.”

Not encouraging words for Bowker. It’s curious, though, that a team with such offensive deficiencies as the Giants have can’t find a place on the roster of a good bat.

On Wednesday, Bowker had a two-run double in the second, a solo home run in the fourth and a grand slam in the sixth.

Inside the box score

Travis Ishikawa was 2 for 4 with two runs scored.

Buster Posey was 2 for 3 with two runs scored

Up next

Todd Wellemeyer looks to further lock down the No. 5 starter job when he gets the start at 7:05 p.m. Thursday against the Oakland A’s. The game will be carried live on MLB Network.

Spring training: Reds 10, Giants 3

Jonathan Sanchez pitched 6 1/3 innings, but the bullpen blew up in the eighth, giving up seven runs to the Cincinnati Reds as the Reds beat the Giants 10-3.

Sanchez gave up three runs (only one earned) on four hits and two walks. He also struck out two.

In the eighth, Jeremy Affeldt gave up three runs (one earned), then Brandon Medders gave up four earned runs on three hits and a walk.

Inside the box score

Aaron Rowand was 1 for 3 with a run scored.

Edgar Renteria hit his second spring home run.

Pablo Sandoval was 1 for 3

Aubrey Huff was 1 for 3 with an RBI

Mark DeRosa was 1for 3 with a run scored

Odds ‘n ends: Baumgarner sent down

The Giants’ 2010 roster began to take better shape on Tuesday, when the team optioned pitchers Madison Baumgarner and Joe Martinez to Triple-A Fresno.

The Giants made the decision Tuesday to take pressure off their young left-hander after became clear that he was not ready to take over the No. 5 spot in the rotation. Now he can go to Fresno and focus on getting ready to pitch for the season.

Bumgarner lost control and some velocity this spring. And his struggles this spring were in part due to him trying to work on his mechanics.

The Giants, and Bumgarner, hope his velocity returns in Fresno.

Martinez also was sent down to Triple-A camp. Elbow inflammation had kept Martinez off the mound most of this month. And although he reported no problems in recent bullpen sessions, the time lost clearly put him behind others in his preparation for the season. And with other pitchers doing so well, it was an easy decision to send Martinez down

FRANDSEN, LEWIS OUT? Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday that the Giants have been shopping infielder Kevin Frandsen and outfielder Fred Lewis this spring.

The indication is that neither player fits in the Giants’ regular-season plans, as the Giants appear to prefer Matt Downs as their backup infielder and Andres Torres and Eugenio Velez in the outfield.

Frandsen still has a minor-league option. But the Giants might look for a fresh start for him.

Lewis, on the other hand, is out of options. And if they can’t find a trade partner, the Giants also may be out of options with Lewis.

 

Spring training: Giants 6, White Sox 1

Matt Cain had a dominating outing, limited the White Sox to one unearned run over 6 2/3 innings as the San Francisco Giants beat the White Sox 6-1 on Tuesday.

Cain gave up three hits and one walk, while striking out two.

Four relievers combined for 2 1/3 innings of scoreless work, allowing only one hit. Alex Hinshaw, Sergio Romo and Dan Runzler continued to be unscored upon in spring training.

The Giants scored six runs in the first four innings.

Inside the box score

Andres Torres went 2 for 4 with a double, triple, two runs scored and an RBI.

Pablo Sandoval was 2 for 4 with two doubles, one run and one RBI.

Bengie Molina was 2 for 4 with two doubles, one run and one RBI.

Aubrey Huff was 1 for 3 with a double, one run and one RBI. He also committed an error at first base.

Edgar Renteria was 1 for 3 with an RBI.

Kevin Frandsen was 1 for 2 with a run and RBI.

Up next

Split-squad games are largely over for most teams. But because the Giants (16-6) are making up a rained-out game against the Royals from earlier this month, they will split today. Jonathan Sanchez gets the start in a 1:05 p.m. game against the Reds. Then come the make-up game with the Royals at 6:05 p.m. Henry Sosa will start that game.

Spring training: Giants 5, Rangers 4

Barry Zito pitched into the seventh inning and Kevin Frandsen drove home Darren Ford with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth to send the San Francisco Giants to 5-4 win over the Texas Rangers on Monday.

Zito gave up four runs on 10 hits with no walks and four strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings of work. The no walks indicate that Zito was working on throwing strikes. That resulted in the 10 hits. But again, the most important thing is Zito stayed in the game into the seventh inning. If he’s able to do that during the regular season, that’s good news for the Giants.

Inside the box score

Aaron Rowand was 0 for 2 with a run scored. He also stole his first base of the spring, an indication that his sore quad is fully healed.

Aubrey Huff was 1 for 3 with a run and RBI.

Nate Schierholtz was 1 for 3 with a triple, RBI and a walk.

Bengie Molina continued to collect hits. He went 1 for 3.

Buster Posey did the same, going 1 for 2 in relief of Molina.

Juan Uribe was 1 for 1 with a double and two RBI. He left in the third inning with a sore hamstring.

Up next

The Giants take on the White Sox with Matt Cain getting the start. Pablo Sandoval is expected to return after leaving Friday’s game to get stitches in his leg.

Lincecum looks to find control

Tim Lincecum pitched 5 2/3 innings against the Giants AA players on Sunday, and it’s time to play spring training good news/bad news.

Good news: Lincecum threw 95 innings, so he’s getting pretty close to being ready to start the season from an endurance standpoint. He also did not allow a run, gave up three hits and struck out six.

Bad news: He walked five.

Lincecum threw almost exclusively fastball and changeups, noting that he had been working on his off-speed pitches (curveballs, sliders) in previous spring outings. Now, he’s focusing on his fastball location.

“I need to get my fastball back,” Lincecum told MLB.com. “I’m not getting my arm ready for throwing a lot of fastballs. That’s where all my pitches work off of, fastball location.”

Lincecum spent most of his outing working on his mechanics. And he seemed pleased, but still noted there was room for improvement.

Lincecum should make his next appearance with the Giants on Friday against the Angels. His final spring outing should come on March 31 against the Dodgers.

To read more on Lincecum’s outing, click here.

Spring training: Giants 4, Diamondbacks 3

The San Francisco Giants got on the board quickly and Kevin Pucetas led another solid pitching effort as the Giants beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-3 on Sunday in Tucson.

The Giants opened the game with a walk to Aaron Rowand, Andres Torres was hit by a pitcher and John Bowker belted a three-run home run.

Rowand delivered an RBI single in the second for the other Giant run.

Pucetas again made his case for winning the No. 5 rotation spot. He gave up one run (his first of the spring) on three hits and two walks in five innings of work.

Inside the box score

Rowand 1 for 2 with walk, run and RBI in his first game in a week

Travis Ishikawa was 1 for 4 in his first start at 1B of the spring.

Eli Whiteside was 0 for 3 … at the plate and behind it. The Diamondbacks stole three bases off Pucetas and Whiteside.

Up next

The Giants (14-6) will face the Rangers with Barry Zito on the mound.

Odds ‘n ends: Bumgarner improving

It’s looking more and more like Madison Bumgarner will open the season at Triple-A Fresno, the 20-year-old left-hander said he was encouraged by his outing Saturday against the Angels’ Triple-A players.

Bumgarner said he regained some velocity in Saturday’s outing.

“I threw a lot of low strikes and felt like the ball was jumping a lot better,” Bumgarner told the San Jose Mercury News. “It was a big difference.”

Bumgarner had been causing some Giants faithful concern with his pitches clocking in the 88 mph range. Last spring, he had been hitting up around 94 mph. There were no radar gun readings from Saturday’s outing, but catcher Steve Holm claimed Bumgarner’s pitches were clearly in the 90s Saturday.

The results from Saturday’s game were not great. Bumgarner gave up five runs (four earned) on four hits and a walk in four innings. He also notched his first two strikeouts of the spring.

But Holm must of the hits Bumgarner allowed came on his change-up, a pitch the Giants coaches have been pushing Bumgarner to throw more of this spring.

KIM CUT: The Giants granted a release to relief pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim, a long, longshot of making the club.

PANDA CUT … IN A DIFFERENT WAY: Pablo Sandoval left Friday’s game after getting spiked by Indians catcher Lou Marson when Sandoval slid at home.

Sandoval received five stitches to close the cut. He should be back in the lineup Monday or Tuesday.

30 CLUBS IN 30 DAYS: The Giants edition of “30 Clubs in 30 Days” airs at 7 p.m. PDT Sunday on the MLB Network.

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