Affeldt, Giants able to laugh off pair of close shaves

Affeldt, Giants able to laugh off pair of close shaves
February 26, 2012, 9:52 pm
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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Jeremy Affeldt felt good about his stuffas he faced teammates in live batting practice Sunday.The sinker was sinking, the slider was sliding, said theleft-hander, and the four-seamer was riding.It rode, all right straight into Pablo Sandovals left ribcage. But the Panda dusted himself off and pronounced himself fine. So did MattCain, whose own close encounter came a few minutes earlier when Hector Sanchezhit a line drive off his left calf.At the end of the day, everyone could laugh about the mostfull-contact batting practice anyone could remember.
Affeldt said he was trying out a new slide step on his lastpitch to Sandoval.I was rolling my hip a little different than normal andthat was probably not the best time to do that, Affeldt said. We dont needto drop the No.3 hitter on the first day.Affeldt used the L-shaped screen to protect himself fromcomebackers. Cain wasn't employing the screen when Sanchez whistled his liner back tothe mound. Cain iced his calf as a precaution, but doesnt plan to shield himself the nexttime he faces hitters.I just dont like the L screen, Cain said. You feel likeyou have to throw around it. Ive never liked to use it.Asked if it would remain on the side next time, Cain smiled.That would be my preference, he said.
Its the managers preference, too. Bruce Bochy said hed never mandatethat a pitcher use the screen unless they want to work on something specificsuch as following through.If they dont use it, its fine with me, Bochy said. Youhave to field your position and defend yourself. You can get in the habit ofdropping your guard (with the screen), and you cant do that during a game.Cain said he enjoyed throwing to catcher Buster Posey again, butmostly he just appreciated the chance to make pitches and know hell getimmediate feedback in the form of swings and contact.Thats the fun part, Cain said. It can get monotonous inthe bullpen. Its nice to see a result when youre pitching. Its more thanjust throwing and guessing what wouldve happened.Even when that result is a liner off your calf.Bochy missed the two close calls on the main field becausehe was watching Barry Zito throw his live batting practice on a back field.Zito, who has been working out of an adjusted delivery designed to generatemore momentum, said he felt good. Bochy also walked away with a positive assessment.He threw some good breaking balls, Bochy said. It was agood outing for him.And I was impressed with the kids, too. They threw strikes.They didnt look nervous. Weve had camps in the past where weve been all overthe board, to be honest. Its nice to see everyone hitting the target.With the exception of Affeldts one riding fastball, ofcourse.