Results tagged ‘ Giants ’
The Giants won another spring training game, beating the Mariners to improve to 7-3. But the real story was the progress of Buster Posey and the return of Brian Wilson.
Posey made his second spring start, catching four innings and going 0 for 2.
“I felt good today and I was happy again with how my ankle felt,” Posey said.
Posey grounded out to short in the second and grounded out to third in third, both against Mariners ace Felix Hernandez.
“I got ahead 2-0 in both at-bats,” he said. “I saw some good pitches in the first at-bat. Got a pretty good pitch 2-0, just rolled over it. I feel good at the plate … I feel like I’m seeing the ball well.”
Posey said the plan was to catch four more innings Tuesday against the Cubs, but manager Bruce Bochy would see how the catch feels Monday before finalizing Posey’s next appearance.
Wilson made his first spring appearance as the Giants take a cautious approach after The Beard’s elbow problems last season.
He was slated to throw between 20-25 pitches, but needed only nine to get through a scoreless fourth inning.
Wilson threw only fastballs and cutters, with his fastball clocked at 93-94 MPH.
“The ball was coming out really well,” Posey said. “The cutter was good. He looked great.”
Posey and Wilson finished their day with a flourish, with Wilson striking out Vinnie Catricala and Posey hosing Carlos Peguero trying to steal second in a strike-em-out-throw-em-out double play.
“It’s nice to see Buster behind the dish throwing people out,” Wilson said. “Although the ideal situation is not to have a guy on. But I’ll take it.”
Wilson is scheduled to pitch again Wednesday against the Indians.
- Another day and Melky Cabrera continues to rake. He went 2 for 3 with two RBI. He’s hitting .542.
- Another young catcher shined on Sunday. Hector Sanchez belted home runs from each side of the plate, finishing 2 for 2 with 3 RBI. He’s hitting .500.
- OF Gregor Blanco continues to give the Giants something to think about, going 2 for 3 with a stolen base. He’s hitting .474 in his push to make the club as a reserve outfielder.
- Emmanuel Burris went 2 for 3 with two runs and a stolen base. He started at 2B, but moved to 3B late in the game, where he committed a throwing error.
- C Chris Stewart, known for his defense, had rough day behind the plate, allowing a run to score on a passed ball and committing a throwing error.
- P Eric Surkamp, the first candidate to step into the rotation in case of injury, bounced back from a rough first start. He gave up a run on three hits and three strikeouts in three innings.
Tim Lincecum is slated to take the mound as the Giants take on the Royals in Surprise at 1:05 p.m.
GIANTS 13, BREWERS 3
ANGELS 9, GIANTS 5
Well, it wouldn’t be spring training if Barry Zito didn’t hit a Brewer with a pitch.
The past two springs Zito plunked Prince Fielder with pitches (one intentional, one less-than-so). But with Fielder gone to the Tigers, Zito plunked Nyger Morgan with a pitch in the second inning.
Considering that Morgan is a much smaller target than Fielder, Zito’s control is clearly getting better.
“It was a curveball, so I mean sometimes you just throw through it,” Zito said of the pitch that plunked Morgan on the helmet. Morgan stayed in the game through the end of the inning, then left as a precaution.
Besides the hit-by-pitch, Zito gave up just one hit — an infield hit at that — no walks and one strikeout in three innings of work. He might have come out and pitched some in the fourth if the Giants hadn’t batted around for an eight-run inning.
Despite the solid results, Zito was mildly critical of his outing.
“I felt like I could’ve been better being down in the zone with the fastball,” Zito said. “If you look at strike ratio and how many balls were down in the zone, today was not as good as last game. But there were other positives today.”
Zito threw 30 of his 45 pitches for strikes, compared to 28 of 35 pitches for strikes last Tuesday.
Also, the Brewers’ lineup did not include the likes of Rickie Weeks, Aramis Ramirez or Ryan Braun.
Well, it doesn’t matter whose in the lineup, we’ll take three scoreless innings from Zito any day. And the plunking of the mouthy Tony Plush was just a bonus.
That makes consecutive scoreless outings from Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Zito.
Now if we can get the Lincecum kid to come around ….
- 3B Pablo Sandoval went 2 for 4 with a double and home run in the Brewers game. He also whiffed twice.
- 2B Ryan Theriot got things going with the bat, going 2 for 2 with a double, walk and two runs.
- C Tommy Joseph continues to impress, going 2 for 3 with two home runs and 4 RBI. To read more on Joseph, click here.
- SS Brandon Crawford, who worked on shortening his swing in the offseason, continues to swing a hot bat, going 2 for 3 with a double, triple and 3 RBI.
- P Justin Fitzgerald gave up 3 runs on five hits in 2/3 of inning. The other six pitchers gave up no runs on four hits and no walks in 8 1/3 innings. They included Guillermo Mota, Sergio Romo, Steve Edlefsen and Hector Correa.
- The lineup in the split-squad at Tempe against the Angels was comprised mostly of younger players. But two veterans had nice games. 1B Aubrey Huff went 2 for 3 with a home run.
- Freddy Sanchez, playing DH vs. the Angels, went 1 for 3 with a run scored. Manager Bruce Bochy said Sanchez won’t play a game in the field until Wednesday at the earliest.
Brian Wilson will make his spring debut and pitch an inning as the Giants take on the Mariners in Scottsdale. Eric Surkamp will get the start for the Giants and Buster Posey is slated to catch four innings. He reported no soreness after catching two innings on Friday.
One week is gone in spring training, so we have a small sample of statistics to compare players competing for jobs in the lineup and on the roster.
There are still almost four weeks worth of spring training games, and right now a 3-for-4 day or an 0-for-4 day can quickly swing a slumping player into a hot player and vice-versa.
But these numbers at least provide a starting point for comparisons.
Aubrey Huff — .214 (3 for 14), 1 HR, 1 RBI, .313 OBP
Brandon Belt — .389 (7 for 18), 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2B, .389 OBP
Brett Pill — .350 (7 for 20), 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 2B, 3B, .364 OBP
Huff is guaranteed a spot on the roster, and the Giants likely will only keep either Belt or Pill. Both players have minor-league options. Pill would give the Giants another right-handed bat. All three can also play in the outfield.
Eli Whiteside — .375 (3 for 8), 0 HR, 2 RBI, .444 OBP
Chris Stewart — .273 (3 for 11) 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2 2B, .273 OBP
Hector Sanchez — .444 (4 for 9), 1 HR, 4 RBI, .400 OBP
Whiteside has the inside track so far. The Giants liked Stewart’s defensive ability last season, but Whiteside has shown that his elbow problems that slowed him last year are a thing of the past. There has been talk of the Giants keeping three catchers to take pressure off Buster Posey. But that’s doubtful, at least to open the season, leaving Sanchez a long shot to make the club.
IF-OF Emmanuel Burriss — .500 (6 for 12), 4 2B, 1 RBI, .538 OBP
IF Mike Fontenot — .500 (4 for 8), 2 2B, 1 RBI, .600 OBP
IF Ryan Theriot — .167 (2 for 12), 2 runs, 1 RBI, .231 OBP
OF Gregor Blanco — .429 (6 for 14) 5 runs, 2 RBI, 4 SBs, .500 OBP
There likely will only be room for three of these four players on the roster. More if Freddy Sanchez is unable to open the season healthy. Even though he has a non-guaranteed contract, Ryan Theriot is coveted by Giants management for his veteran presence and right-handed bat, setting up a right-left platoon with Brandon Crawford. Crawford has struggled against left-handed pitching. But if non-roster invitee Blanco keeps hitting and Theriot does not, it may force the issue for the Giants. Blanco provides speed and is a true reserve outfielder. If Blanco doesn’t make the team, the Giants’ backup outfielders are likely to be converted infielders Huff, Belt, Pill and/or Burriss.
Baseball Prospectus projects the 2012 San Francisco Giants to win the NL Western Division title with an 86-76 record.
It’s the same win-loss record the Giants posted in 2011, when they finished eight games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Baseball Prospectus projects the NL West to finish like this (these rankings are as of March 8)
San Francisco 86-76
San Diego 79-83
Los Angeles 78-84
Well, we like that fifth-place finish for the Dodgers. But BP is basically saying that the spread between first and second in 2011 will be the same between first and fifth in 2012. In other words, they project a very competitive 2012 season.
NL West Division champions have won at least 92 games in each of the past three seasons. But the Dodgers won the 2008 title with 84 wins. And the Padres won the title in 2005 and 2006 with fewer than 90 wins.
The low projected win totals can be attributed to BP’s prediction that the NL East will be solid with the Phillies, Braves, Marlins and Nationals having solid seasons. So that’s where they believe the wins will go.
But More Splash Hits believes it will take at least 90 win to win the West.
Don’t worry, Matt Cain. We still love you.
When Cain left the bullpen Friday and walked onto the field at Scottsdale Stadium, he was greeted by huge roar from the Giants fans.
“I thought everybody really loved me,” Cain quipped. “And then I looked behind me and saw Buster.”
Buster Posey returned to live action for the first time since May 25 of last year, catching Cain two innings and flying out to right in his lone at-bat in the Giants’ win over the Reds.
“It was fun,” Posey said. “I’ve put in a lot of work. Even though it was only two innings, it was nice to be out there.”
Posey will get Saturday off, then return Sunday to catch four inning, according to manager Bruce Bochy.
“It was good to see Buster back out there playing again,” Bochy said. “I know he was excited. It was great to see the ovation he got when he walked out to the bullpen. … Everyone was happy to see Buster playing again.”
Well, that’s for sure. And it was also good to see Freddy Sanchez, too.
Sanchez went 1 for 4 as the Giants designated hitter Friday in his first game since a shoulder injury ended his season last June. But the big test will come Monday, when he plays his first game at second base.
“Playing defense will be a big stepping stone for me,” said Sanchez, who will DH again on Saturday and Sunday. “I feel like I’m getting a little stronger each day.”
- Matt Cain pitched three scoreless innings, giving up three hits, no walks and striking out four. He has not allowed a run in five innings this spring.
- OF Melky Cabrera continues to rake. He went 2 for 3 with a two-run homer in the third inning. He’s hitting .588.
- Aubrey Huff made his first spring start in left field. He went 0 for 3 and is hitting .214 this spring.
- Meanwhile, Brandon Belt came off the bench and replaced Nate Schierholtz in right field. He went 2 for 2 with a double and an eighth-inning home run. He’s hitting .389.
The Giants play split-squad games on Saturday. Barry Zito will start at Scottsdale against the Brewers, where he won’t have Prince Fielder to throw at anymore. Right-hander Shane Loux gets the start in Tempe against the Angels.
The Giants’ 30 clubs in 30 days preview on the MLB Network will make its debut at 7 p.m. Saturday.
There are other opportunities to watch the Giants this season. Any game broadcast for TV, whether it’s MLB Network or otherwise, is available on MLB.TV live. Other games will be on MLB.TV only.
Here are the March games you can watch.
Thu., March 15, 7 p.m. at Mariners, MLB Network
Sat. , March 17, 1 p.m. vs. Athletics, CSN Bay Area
Sat., March 17, 7 p.m. at Dodgers, MLB Network
Wed., March 21, 1 p.m. at Indians, MLB Network
Fr., March 23, 7 p.m. vs. Rangers, NBC Bay Area, MLB Network
Sun., March 25, 1 p.m. at White Sox, MLB Network (delayed)
Tue., March 27, 1 p.m. vs. Angels, ESPN2
Thu., March 29, 6 p.m. at Rangers, MLB Network (delayed)
Fri., March 30, 7 p.m. at Padres, MLB.TV
Sat., March 31, 3 p.m., NBC Bay Area, MLB Network (delayed)
With all the talk about Madison Bumgarner throwing in the No. 2 spot in the rotation in spring — and the possibility of him doing the same during the season — Bumgarner has gone out this spring and show that he’s capable of filling the role.
Bumgarner pitched three scoreless innings, giving up two hits and a walk while striking out five as the Giants improved their spring record to 4-2 with a 5-2 win over the Padres.
“My command feels pretty good,” Bumgarner said. “Everything seems to be on schedule. It’s better than usual. I’m just trying to focus as if it’s the regular season.”
At least for MadBum, too bad it isn’t. He’s been great.
- OF Gregor Blanco, a non-roster invitee, is giving the Giants reason to consider keeping him on the roster, going 2 for 3 with a walk, two runs scored and a stolen base. After a slow start, he’s hitting .429 this spring.
- RP Clay Hensley pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning with one strikeout in his first spring outing. Hensley is the leading candidate to lock down the final spot in the bullpen. He’s been limited this spring by a strained hamstring.
- The Padres scored both of their runs on a pair of solo home runs in the fourth inning off reliever Andrew Kown.
- Four relievers (Jeremy Affeldt, Clay Hensley, Sergio Romo and Dan Otero) set down the final 12 Padres in order. Only one ball left the infield, and four batters struck out.
Matt Cain makes his second spring start as the Giants face the Reds in Scottsdale at 12:05 p.m. PST. Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez are expected to make their spring debuts.
Giants fans got the confirmation Thursday morning that they’ve been waiting for since last May.
Buster Posey will play in a Giants uniform on Friday against the Reds.
“The plan is to catch a couple innings tomorrow,” Posey told the San Jose Mercury News on Thursday morning. “I’m excited.”
He’s not the only one.
Posey ran the basepaths and noticed significant improvement.
When asked by a reporter to give a percentage of how hard he was running, Posey replied with a question of his own.
“How hard do you think I was running?” he asked with a smile.
When Chronicle reporter Henry Schulman said about 80 percent, Posey replied: “I guess Henry doesn’t think I have much left in the tank.”
All joking aside, Posey said he was running at about 60-70 percent effort after running on the outfield cut of the grass on Monday. He’s expected to run bases again Thursday.
“I’m happy I’ve been able to do baseball activities,” Posey said. “We knew from the time I was injured (last May) that bases would be the last thing to come. We’ve been lucky everything has gone smoothly as it has.”
Freddy Sanchez also is expected to make his spring debut Friday, as the designated hitter.
Sanchez, who had shoulder surgery last August, practiced throwing across his body from second base for the first time Wednesday. But the Giants will continue to take a conservative approach with him.
Both Posey and Sanchez hit live batting practice against Brian Wilson on Wednesday.
Wilson, who is coming off elbow troubles last year, declared himself ready to go.
“I’m totally ready ready, and now I have three days to prepare myself.”
Wilson will make his spring debut Sunday or Monday.
Good news for Giants reliever Runzler
The last thing Dan Runzler wanted to do this spring was take a flight to Florida to see Dr. James Andrews.
But the report from the doctor was good, and the left-hander could be back pitching in games by mid-to-late April.
Runzler took his lat muscle in the regular-season finale. He had been healthy this spring until he felt something grab in his shoulder during a bullpen session late last week.
But Andrews said that Runzler only aggravated the injury and would not require surgery.
“It definitely put my head at ease,” Runzler told CSNBayArea.com. “He compared the MRIs before and after and said it was just a small aggravation. It’s not like I re-did it. He was very optimistic.”
Runzler said he should be game ready in four to six weeks.
That will take him out of the running for the final bullpen spot, expected to go to Clay Hensley.
Runzler expects to open the season in extended spring training. Then, he’ll likely head to Fresno
GIANTS 8, ROCKIES 6
The Giants rallied to beat the Rockies on Wednesday, after five relievers held Colorado to one run over the final seven innings.
That’s the good news.
And then there’s Tim Lincecum.
The Giants ace got battered by the Rockies for five runs on seven hits in two innings of work. He walked one and did not strike out a batter.
He struggled with his control, throwing only 26 of his 46 pitches for strikes.
His velocity topped out at 91 mph, a bit below the 93 mph he normally throws at. But Lincecum and the Giants were unconcerned.
“I feel like the ball is coming out fine,” Lincecum said. “If anything was a real problem, I’m sure (catcher Chris Stewart) would come out and tell me. I feel fine. Outside of the results, everything was good.”
OK, then. What exactly did Chris Stewart say?
“Nothing to worry about,” said Stewart, adding that Lincecum was just fighting to keep his fastballs down. “When the season starts, he’ll be the Timmy that we’re all used to.”
Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle pointed out that the Freak’s spring ERAs the past four years were 4.50, 4.03, 6.94 and 4.37. Last season, Lincecum opened the spring with an outing in which he gave up three runs on five hits in 1 2/3 innings.
It is just March 7. There are four weeks before the season opens. Lincecum will get five more spring starts.
No time to worry.
OK, let’s focus on happy thoughts.
- The Giants rallied with three runs in the seventh and three in the eight to beat the Rockies. The runs in the seventh were aided by four walks by Esmil Rogers, a young pitcher who has a career ERA of 6.57. The Giants pound Stephen Dodson, a career minor league who has pitched about Double-A, for three runs on four hits in the eight.
- Tommy Joseph, a 20-year-old catcher, came in late and had two RBI singles to fuel the rally. “Here’s a 20-year-old that’s really done a great job of making strides behind the plate,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “And he can hit.”
- Melky Cabrera continues to swing a hot bat, going 3 for 3 with a double, run and RBI. He’s hitting .571.
- Nate Schierholtz went 1 for 2 and stole yet another base.
- Erik Surkamp, who figures to be first in line if the Giants need another starter, struck out four in three innings of work, giving up one run on three hits.
- OF Gregor Blanco also came off the bench and went 2-for-2. A speedster, Blanco is trying to the Giants that he can hit. He’s coming being named the MVP of the Venezuela Winter League. To read more about Gregor, see this story on the Giants website.
Madison Bumgarner gets the start as the Giants face the Padres in Peoria at 12:05 p.m. PST.
Tuesday was a good day in the desert. It doesn’t matter that it’s just spring training. Any day the Giants beat the Dodgers is a good day.
And it was a good day for Barry Zito, despite what many skeptical Giants fans might think.
Fans may frown at Zito’s line on Tuesday: two runs on four hits in two-plus innings. But the bigger numbers are 28 strikes in 35 pitches.
“He was right around the (strike) zone, and that’s what he has to do — be aggressive early in the count,” catcher Eli Whiteside said.
The Dodgers did not hit the ball out of the infield in the first inning, which included an infield single and two strikeouts to end the inning. Andre Ethier hit a home run to open the second. There was also a walk, single, sacrifice and run-scoring groundout in the second.
Zito was clocked at pitching 81-83 mph, which surprised both Zito and Whiteside. Zito has been working with a new windup design to give his fastball more life. The pitcher told reporters he had been clocked throwing in the upper 80s in January.
However, the scouts’ radar guns were subject to question. They clocked hard-throwing Heath Hembree at 91-93 in the ninth, when Hembree has been clocked at near triple digits this spring.
As Giants fans are aware, bad starts usually develop in two ways for Zito. One comes when he can’t find the strike zone and big innings are fueled by walks. The other comes when he’s too much in the strike zone and gets lit up.
So for Zito to be in the strike zone and to get people out is a good early sign.
“I thought Barry looked great; Terrific job,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He should feel good about that outing.”
- Melky Cabrera went 2 for 4 with two solo home runs, one from the right side and one from the left side. “I don’t care if it’s Spring Training. That’s impressive,” Bochy said. Cabrera is hitting .455
- Brett Pill, fighting for a job at first base, kept swinging a hot bat, going 2 for 4 with a two-run home run. He’s hitting. 462.
- A couple of player who need to show they can hit in the bigs continue to hit well. Emmanuel Burris went 2 for 4 with two runs. He’s hitting .444. And SS Brandon Crawford went 1 for 2 with a walk. He’s hitting .571.
- Nate Schierholtz went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a stolen base, a part of his game he’s looking to improve upon this spring.
- Two key prospects got into the game. OF Gary Brown went 1 for 2, but was erased trying to steal second. 2B Joe Panik went 2 for 2 with a triple.
Tim Lincecum will make his second spring start when the Giants face the Rockies in Scottsdale at 12:05 p.m. PDT.