Closing the Book on Buck, A's

Closing the Book on Buck, A's

Feb. 4, 2010A'S PAGE

This likely sets a record for words and time spent dealing with a backup outfielder who hasnt batted higher than .230 or played in more than 40 games two years running, but heres one last blast about Travis Buck of the As.Ive gotten an avalanche of e-mails on the topic since my piece on Buck was published Monday, and some legitimate questions were raised. In closing the book on the subject -- at least untilunless it rears its head in Arizona -- Ill answer three that pull back the curtain, so to speak.Q: Why write about such a player in the first place?
A: Because its an interesting story. This is a former first-round draft pick who rocketed through the minors, essentially skipped Triple-A ball, became a fan favorite during a strong rookie year, and appeared to be a future cornerstone of the franchise. His swift fall from grace, and the various reasons and theories as to why hes fallen, is compelling. Extremely. Q: Shouldnt Buck keep his mouth shut and just play better?
A: Thats a tricky one. In theory, yeah. This would be a non-story, or at least a very different story, if Buck had lived up to the expectations that his own talent created. Thus far, he hasnt. Hes kind of been the outfield version of Bobby Crosby -- great start to the career, but oft-injured and largely unproductive thereafter.At the same time, Buck didnt interview himself for my piece. I contacted him, and because we have a good relationship and hes a cooperative kid, he opened up. He didnt exactly bash the As, but he did shed some light on his perception of the situation and vented a little. He was fine with the piece when he read it, too, and he understands that some people will think hes whining. He also understands that he needs to play better baseball, and by doing that, hell win everybody -- Bob Geren included -- over again.Q: What does Billy Beane think about all of this?
A: I spoke with Billy about it yesterday, and while he wasnt thrilled with the suggestion that anyone in his organization would mistreat a player, hes certainly not upset with Buck. Not even disappointed in him. In fact, its quite the opposite. I love Travis, Beane told me. I really do. I think hes a great kid, and I still think he has the potential to be a great hitter in the big leagues.Thats part of why Beane is in no hurry to trade Buck; he sees a 26-year-old with a ton of talent and drive who has suffered through some injuries and -- to Bucks admission -- occasional crises of confidence. Theres still a considerable upside to Buck, but his value is at an all-time low, and if you know anything about Beane, hes not one to sell low. In other words, Buck is going to get his chance to shine in green and gold. He simply needs to do what Eric Patterson did with his chance last September and October make the most of it, once and for all.-- Mychael UrbanWhat's on your mind? Email Mychael and let him know. He may use it in his weekly Mailbag.

Giants hammer Taillon, return favor with 11-3 win over Pirates

Giants hammer Taillon, return favor with 11-3 win over Pirates


SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner saw no reason to make a big deal over his first win of the year, even if it came far deeper into the season than anyone expected.

In a season that long ago spun out of control for both San Francisco and its ace, Bumgarner was happier seeing the struggling Giants have one of their best games of the year.

Bumgarner allowed one run over five innings for his first win of the season, and the Giants beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-3 on Tuesday night.

"It was nice to be on the board now individually," Bumgarner said. "But that's not what it's about. It's about us winning games, and we played really good tonight."

Eduardo Nunez drove in two runs in his final game with San Francisco as he was traded to Boston for two minor leaguers. The veteran infielder was pulled in the fifth inning and was later seen on television shaking hands with several teammates in the Giants' clubhouse. The deal was announced after a few minutes after the final out.

Bumgarner also singled and scored, Buster Posey had three hits and an RBI and Joe Panik added a bases-loaded triple as struggling San Francisco won for only the fifth time in 16 games.

Josh Harrison singled twice for the Pirates, who fell behind 9-0 and couldn't recover. Pittsburgh stranded seven runners in the first five innings, including four in scoring position.

Making his third start since coming off the disabled list after nearly three months following a dirt bike accident in Colorado on April 20, Bumgarner (1-4) was mostly sharp while quieting a potent Pittsburgh lineup and ending the Pirates' seven-game winning streak at AT&T Park.

Three years after pitching a complete game to beat Pittsburgh in the NL wild card on his way to winning the 2014 World Series MVP, Bumgarner pitched out of a pair of early jams, allowed six hits and had four strikeouts.

"He did a nice job," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "I'm sure he's glad to get that (first win) taken care of. Once he went five that was enough."

It's the first win by a Giants starting pitcher since July 5.

Jameson Taillon (6-4) took the loss, giving up 10 runs in three innings.

"I didn't make good pitches once they got runners on," Taillon said. "They didn't waste any time. They had a merry-go-round going."

Posey lined a single that hit second base umpire Ed Hickox in the foot and knocked him down in the fifth inning. Hickox slowly got to his feet and was attended to by a member of the Giants medical staff but remained in the game.

Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto may need to make a rehab start before rejoining the rotation. Cueto has been hindered by blisters on multiple fingers of his pitching hand, an issue that has lingered for much of the past month. The right-hander played catch from 105 feet before the game. Pablo Sandoval moved from Single-A San Jose to Triple-A Sacramento as he continues to try to work his way back into the big leagues. RHP Chris Stratton was recalled from Sacramento and IF Orlando Calixte was optioned down.

RHP Jeff Samardzija (4-11, 5.05 ERA) pitches the finale for the Giants seeking to beat Pittsburgh for the second time this season while RHP Trevor Williams (4-4, 4.74 ERA) takes the mound for the Pirates looking for his fourth win in the last five road starts.

Giants trade Eduardo Nunez to Red Sox

Giants trade Eduardo Nunez to Red Sox

Eduardo Nunez's time with the Giants is up as they have traded the third baseman to the Boston Red Sox.

The teams announced the trade shortly after the Giants beat the Pirates 11-3 on Tuesday night.

Fox Sports was the first to report the news.

The Giants will acquire minor league pitchers Shaun Anderson and Gregory Santos.

Anderson, Boston's third-round pick out of Florida in 2016, has a 3.42 ERA in 97.1 innings between Low-A Greenville and High-A Salem this season.

Santos, a 17-year-old right-handed pitcher, was signed by Boston out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. Pitching in the Dominican Summer League this season, Santos has allowed just three earned runs in 30 innings pitched.

Nunez was lifted for pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth inning Tuesday night and was seen hugging teammates as he left the dugout.

In 75 games with the Giants this season, Nunez hit .308/.334/.417 with 21 doubles, four home runs, 29 RBI and 17 stolen bases.

Nunez was acquired from the Twins last summer for two prospects.