SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Sergio Romo threw 26 pitches while taking the loss for Mexico on Thursday.
“Being honest, I wouldn’t have minded if he threw four more,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
That’s because relievers who throw 30 pitches are not eligible to appear on consecutive games, according to rules meant to protect players in the World Baseball Classic. And although Bochy doesn’t want to dissuade Romo from helping Mexico try to advance, he doesn’t want his closer taxing himself a week into March, either.
Bochy reminded Romo to be smart when they chatted on the phone earlier Friday.
“His pride’s been hurt a little bit,” Bochy said of Romo, one day after he blew a one-run lead to Italy due in large measure to a pair of defensive letdowns in left field. “He’s a competitor pitching for his country, so that bothered him.
“You don’t like to see it. Does it concern me? No. He was ready when he left here. He was ready to go back-to-back games.”
With Mexico almost in win-or-perish mode already, and Romo in the closer role for the green and red, the pressure will be great to pitch if another save situation presents itself.
But Romo said he felt fine and would be honest with Team Mexico officials after playing catch. He’ll also check in with Giants head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner.
Bochy said he wouldn’t hesitate to step in and call Mexico manager Rick Renteria, an old friend from their days together in the Padres organization, if he feels it’s the right thing to do.
“They’ll do all they can (to avoid going) home and they’re playing for their lives right now,” Bochy said. “But they care about these players, too. So they’re somewhat in a box.
“You remind these players that they have a responsibility here, too. You don’t know if they’ll be 100 percent honest.”
The same is true for Santiago Casilla, who pitched an inning Thursday in the Dominican Republic’s victory over Venezuela.
Tim Lincecum won’t start against the Kansas City Royals on Saturday. He’ll throw a simulated game instead so the Giants can monitor his pitches in a controlled environment.
They really can’t afford for Lincecum to get knocked out by a big first inning, since he’s thrown just 1 1/3 innings all spring. He has been set back for the last week by a gnarly blister on the middle finger of his right hand. There’s still 3 1/2 weeks until opening day, but it’s always preferable to let a starter build his pitch count gradually.
Lincecum would start Tuesday night against the Padres if all goes well in his simulated game, Bochy said.
And Yusmeiro Petit gets to start against the Royals.
Hector Sanchez has a tight calf that has kept him out of action – and this injury cropped up after a shoulder issue that limited him to DH duty earlier this spring. He’s likely to back up at catcher Saturday and return to full duties after that.
Javier Lopez was scheduled to make his spring debut Friday. I almost wish he’d gotten in the game, right before the skies opened. Just like Game 7 of the NLCS.
Even if some of their Giants teammates wanted to attend the WBC games, particularly Ryan Vogelsong’s start against Italy on Saturday night, they have other commitments. The team has evening functions planned Friday and Saturday because investors are in town.
The Giants made their first round of cuts, and Angel Villalona was among them. He was optioned to Single-A San Jose, which doesn’t necessarily mean that’s where he will begin the season. (That does remain my presumption, however.)
Pitchers Jose Valdez, Edward Concepcion, Fabio Castillo, Justin Fitzgerald and Josh Osich were reassigned to minor league camp. So was infielder Joe Panik and catcher Andrew Susac.
Panik had a hamstring issue and wasn’t healthy all spring, otherwise I think he probably would’ve stuck around longer. Also, he’s not a candidate to be on the opening-day roster, and the Giants need to audition their many options for a backup role. So they wouldn’t have had as many innings for Panik anyway.
Brandon Belt claims to be undefeated at everything, but Gary Brown ended his minigolf streak the other day. Belt blamed it on "carpet bubbles," and added that the "course wasn't really set up for a left-hander."
I'd agree. Tom Fazio really needs to rethink his approach to windmills and gingerbread houses.