SAN FRANCISCO Brandon Crawford wore a puzzled expressionas a reporter approached him Sunday afternoon.
I didnt play today, he said.
Well, sure he did. He pinch-ran for Aubrey Huff. Theres aspecial kind of pressure and preparation that comes with that, isnt there?
INSTANT REPLAY: Padres 6, Giants 4
I only had a minute to prepare, Crawford said. But evenif I didnt have a minute, Id still be faster. You can quote me. Im sick,unprepared and with a semi-tight hamstring, and Im still faster.
When it comes to comedy gold, Huffs balky running is24-karat. He wears a T-shirt under his batting practice jersey that says, FASTERTHAN ____.
He turned another double into a single Sunday, hitting ashot off the right field bricks in the ninth inning.
But no joke: There's little doubt Huff would be on the playoff roster if Giantsmanager Bruce Bochy had to pick his 25 guys today.
Well, you have to like his at-bats, Bochy said of Huff,who is 5 for 9 with two walks and just one strikeout as a pinch hitter since comingoff the DL on Sept. 1. Hes doing a great job with that. Its so valuable fora club to have a good left-handed pinch hitter, especially against a closerwith the game on the line.
The Giants dont have to make decisions until they knowtheir opponent in an NL Division Series, and that will have some influence. TheCincinnati Reds have a left-handed closer in Aroldis Chapman, as well as aleft-handed setup man in Sean Marshall.
Then there is the question of a pinch runner. Huff mightrequire two roster spots, since his knee which he injured June 13 when hetripped over the dugout rail in the immediate wake of Matt Cains perfect game --continues to be an issue.
There may be times I dont pinch run for him, Bochy said. Butwe have a nice quality at-bat when he goes up there, and thats something wellhave to think hard about.
The Giants know better than to give up on a gimpy veteran.If they ever happen to forget, Edgar Renteria can haul out his World Series MVPtrophy as a reminder.
Who knows? Maybe Francisco Peguero can make the postseasonroster as Huffs designated pinch runner. He certainly impressed with twostolen bases Sunday. Peguero said his right knee, which he injured two springsago, is finally feeling 100 percent and hes running better than at any timethis season.
Clay Hensley didnt have a very good outing on Sunday, butits been a darn good weekend for him. He left the club on Friday for the birthof a baby daughter, Lily, and then made it back in time to celebrate with theteam in Saturday.
Didnt have a chance to talk to Tim Lincecum all day today.I hoped to track him down after the game, but he put on rather sizableheadphones and didnt slow down when a reporter tried to call after him
We'll have to wait until after his start on Tuesday to get his thoughts on missing the clinching moment and the celebration.