Casilla returns to Giants with more than WBC medals

Casilla returns to Giants with more than WBC medals
March 21, 2013, 9:15 pm
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Although Sergio Romo finished last season as the Giants' closer, Santiago Casilla led the club with 25 saves in 2012. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Santiago Casilla arrived back in Giants camp on Thursday, flashing a bright smile and showing off his World Baseball Classic championship medals.

Casilla might have earned more than a medal and national pride when he helped pitch a dominant Dominican Republic team to the title.

It’s possible that Casilla’s performance under pressure will earn him a few more save opportunities, too.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he plans to sit down with his bullpen before camp breaks to go over roles and scenarios. Although Sergio Romo is still expected to get the majority of save situations, Bochy reiterated that the committee hasn’t been adjourned.

Casilla is the hardest thrower in the ‘pen, and now he’s got a medal to go along with two World Series rings. No small trinkets, indeed.

“Every playoff experience makes you better and more confident,” Bochy said. “Part of being a great player is playing under pressure. You can see it: He’s a lot more open and vocal. He was a leader on that club, too. He led them in prayer and he was very much respected by his teammates.”

Bochy said he plans for Casilla and Jeremy Affeldt to face both left-handers and right-handers alike in the late innings. Both pitchers have the stuff to handle it.

Casilla didn’t allow a run in five appearances during the WBC. In fact, the Dominican bullpen was unscored upon in its last 25 2/3 innings of the classic.

Casilla allowed just one hit during the tournament – a triple to Giants teammate Angel Pagan.

“I said, `Hey, only fastballs for you,’” Casilla told reporters in jest.

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