CINCINNATI – Giants manager Bruce Bochy smiled and said yes, he did have some flashbacks to last October’s NL Division Series as he walked into Great American Ballpark here.
Bochy mentioned Buster Posey’s grand slam, Sergio Romo’s standoff against Jay Bruce … and Jeremy Affeldt getting whacked on the hand by a foul ball and tumbling down the dugout steps.
“For some reason that sticks in my head,” said Bochy, stifling a smile.
He also could’ve added Ryan Vogelsong’s tremendous start in Game 3. The Giants get swept out of the postseason if Vogelsong didn’t match Homer Bailey – a pitcher who struck out 10 and allowed one hit.
Fitting, then, that Vogelsong began throwing a baseball again here on the banks of the Ohio River. He played catch for the first time since surgery to repair a crushed pinky on his right hand. It was just 15 throws from 40 feet, and 15 more from 60 to 70 feet.
Cutters, curveballs, sliders, right?
“I wish,” Vogelsong said. “But I’m really happy with the way it went. It’s always good to hit a goal when you’re doing rehab. Now, start a new one.”
Vogelsong still has swelling in the last two fingers of his hand and it’ll take almost as long as a typical spring training for him to rebuild arm strength and get his pitch count up, Bochy said. The manager doesn’t expect Vogelsong back for a month, at least.
For now, Vogelsong said he had no pain – and he did more than just lobbing tosses to head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner.
“It felt like I was getting out in front and it was coming off my fingertips,” Vogelsong said. “My hand felt a little weak but that’s to be expected. Right now the plan is to do it again tomorrow.”
Joaquin Arias hasn’t been available to play the infield for five games now after straining his left hamstring back at Dodger Stadium. But he’s making progress and could be ready in another day or two, Bochy said. For now, he’s still available off the bench to pinch hit.
Buster Posey was named NL Player of the Week after hitting .500 with four home runs and a 1.182 slugging percentage.
He gets a wristwatch. Oh. Sorry. A “luxury Swiss timepiece.”
Pablo Sandoval isn’t getting diddly for the week he had. He’s 3 for 23 since returning from the DL.
Bochy had some interesting comments about rehabbing players. He said they often fool themselves into thinking they’re ready before they really are. For instance, Santiago Casilla said he was ready to go after facing hitters the other day in Denver. Then he went to pitch a rehab inning for Single-A San Jose, gave up a run on two hits, and remarked to Bochy how rusty he really was.
Perhaps Sandoval should’ve gotten a few more games in the minors, Bochy suggested.
Giants vice president Bobby Evans was on my flight this morning. I asked about Angel Villalona getting promoted to Double-A. Part of the thinking behind the move was to swap Villalona with first baseman Ricky Oropesa, who is really struggling against Double-A pitching. Oropesa is hitting .207 overall and struck out 30 times in 88 at-bats in June.
I saw Hunter Pence in the dugout and threatened to toss some sunflower seeds at him, as the players did in the postseason. Pence reminded me that Ryan Theriot didn’t start making it rain with seeds, gum, candy and hard-as-rocks energy bars until Game 5 in St. Louis.
“I said, `Let’s just have the parade right now,’” Pence said. “So he started throwing seeds. That’s how it started.”
Carlos Marmol to the Dodgers? Really?
Brandon League is going to be the happiest guy in Southern California.