Of Damon, Davis and Winn

Of Damon, Davis and Winn

Jan. 28, 2010

Randy Winn probably woke up this morning and wondered if he was dreaming. As a nearly direct result, Rajai Davis own dream could soon turn into a nightmare.And theyll both have Johnny Damon to thank.Dumped by a team that failed to make the 2009 playoffs after one of the worst years of his largely productive 10-year career, Winn signed Wednesday with the 2009 world champions for 2 million dollars.The Yankees are favored to win it all again in 2010, you know, so far as landings go, thats about as soft as they come. And good for Winn. He wasnt a very good player for the Giants last season, but he was a good Giant in general. He should be remembered fondly as a class act who played hard and treated fans well.That brings us to the man Winn is replacing in Gotham: Damon. Damon, too, is a class act who plays hard and treats fans well. Hes a better player than Winn, but his agent, Scott Boras, priced himself out of the Yankees range.I cant believe I just wrote those words, but its true. Damon was too expensive for the Yankees.Now Damons asking price is dropping considerably, and it could end up affecting yet another class act who plays hard and treats fans well.Rajai Davis.Davis, remember, was a revelation during the second half of last season. He almost single-handedly made the As watchable with his speed, hustle and omnipresent smile, and it was a heck of a story because hed been cut by -- full circle alert! -- the Giants in early 2008.So heading into the offseason, he seemed a safe bet to start in center field for the As in 2010. He was a safe bet to start even after the Coco Crisp signing.Rajai Davis, Opening Day starter in the big leagues. He liked the sound of that.Oh yeah, man, he told me last month, the enthusiasm, pride and joy pouring from the phone. I like the sound of that a lot!Suddenly, its starting to look like he might not get to hear it. The As have been interested enough in Damon to have some substantial conversations, and for the right price theyll pull the trigger and make him their starting left fielder, moving Davis to the bench.Damon doesnt seem like a great fit in Oakland, where he struggled in 2001. He hits a lot of foul balls, and a lot of foul balls are outs in Oakland. He has a terrible arm, and a DamonCrisp combo would make the Coliseum's left-center gap every bit as inviting to triples as right-center is at AT&T.But Damon is a better all-around player than Davis, who still has to prove that the final three months of last season werent a fluke. Damon doesnt have to prove anything. His rings and numbers speak for themselves.Sadly, in this strange three-headed saga, there cant be a win-win-win. Theres just a Winn, a proven winner (Damon), and Davis, whos but a signature away from taking a very tough loss.-- Mychael Urban

What's on your mind? Email Mychael and let him know. He may use it in his weekly Mailbag.

Giants spring training Day 39: Nuñez receives pair of cortisone shots

Giants spring training Day 39: Nuñez receives pair of cortisone shots

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford will return to camp Thursday, show off their WBC championship medals, and then head to nearby Salt River Fields to take on the Colorado Rockies. It'll be a few more days, however, before the Giants have their full infield on the field. 

Eduardo Nuñez said he actually got two cortisone shots in his right shoulder, since an MRI this week showed “something” in two separate spots. Nuñez asked for the MRI because, while he was able to play and make strong throws, he felt pain on a daily basis. He might DH this weekend, but it'll be a few more days before he's cleared to begin throwing. 

The Giants are hopeful that the shots calm all this down, and Nuñez anticipated being ready for Opening Day. Still, it certainly sounds like this will be a close call. Conor Gillaspie, who is having a huge spring, could get plenty of early time at third. Manager Bruce Bochy doesn't anticipate Nuñez missing Opening Day.

"He should be ready," Bochy said. 

The Giants need all the good injury news they can get. It is expected that Will Smith will announce Friday that he's having Tommy John surgery. 

ICYMI: From this morning, a feature on George Kontos and his rise over the last few years. 

Also, one of the bench candidates, Gordon Beckham, asked for his release. The Giants will soon have to make decisions on Hill and David Hernandez, who have similar retention bonuses due March 28.

GAME RECAP: The Giants played one of their uglier games of the spring, losing 9-2 to King Felix and the Mariners … Matt Moore lasted just 1 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on four hits, two walks, a balk and a wild pitch. It was the same old thing: Moore just all of a sudden lost his command, and because he got up past the 30-pitch mark in the second inning alone, the Giants cut it off. Moore went down to the bullpen and got up to around 80 pitches. He'll make one more start down here, Tuesday against the Cubs ... Joe Panik had a hard double, one of just four hits for the Giants … Chris Marrero hasn’t played a whole lot of left field this spring, and he didn’t show much to the coaches on a couple of opportunities to throw home. The left field situation remains a mystery. 

POSITION BATTLES: Kelby Tomlinson played six innings of left field in a minor league game, and he had to wait until the sixth to get his first and only fly ball. There seemed to be a lot of interest from decision-makers about how Tomlinson fared, and his action today opens up an intriguing possibility. There’s a roster permutation that has the Giants keeping just one reserve outfielder (Gorkys Hernandez) and three backup infielders: Conor Gillaspie, Aaron Hill and Kelby Tomlinson, with the latter two being options in left field. 

FAMILIAR FACE: Angel Pagan made it through the WBC healthy, and he apparently is drawing interest from the Phillies and Blue Jays. Giants people are confident Pagan will get a big league job somewhere over the coming week. 

Giants reliever Will Smith leaning toward season-ending Tommy John surgery

Giants reliever Will Smith leaning toward season-ending Tommy John surgery

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Left-hander Will Smith, a key piece of a revamped bullpen, is leaning toward having Tommy John surgery, manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday night. 

Bochy said surgery was the recommendation of both doctors who examined Smith's elbow this week. Smith will talk to his agent before coming to a final decision on Friday. The procedure would keep Smith out the entire 2017 season and likely would cause him to miss the start of the 2018 season.

Smith, 27, missed the first month of camp because of pain in his throwing elbow. He returned March 17, but during a March 20 outing he again felt pain and called for a trainer. A second round of diagnostics revealed a strain and a sprain in the elbow. Smith saw team orthopedist Dr. Ken Akizuki in San Francisco and flew to Los Angeles this week to get a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlen-Jobe Clinic. 

"They had the same opinion," Bochy said. "There is a tear there. You can try to rehab it and if that doesn't work you're behind a couple of months ... It's not a definite he's going to have it done, but two doctors are in agreement on what this is."

Smith was expected to serve as the late lefty for the Giants, getting setup work in the seventh and eighth innings. With Smith out, the Giants will lean on young lefties Steven Okert, Josh Osich and Ty Blach. 

"We're going to have to have someone step up and help us in the seventh and eighth," Bochy said. "That was going to be will's role. He's a guy we were leaning on."

Smith was acquired from the Brewers at the deadline last season in exchange for right-hander Phil Bickford (who is currently serving a 50-game suspension) and catcher Andrew Susac (who is currently injured). After a shaky start, he finished the regular season with 18 consecutive scoreless appearances. 

The Giants have for the most part avoided Tommy John for 40-man roster pitchers. Hunter Strickland, Derek Law and Josh Osich have all had it during their time in the organization, along with outfielder Mac Williamson. Prospect Ian Gardeck is currently recovering from Tommy John. The last Giants pitcher who was likely headed for the roster before having Tommy John was left-hander Eric Surkamp. He had surgery in 2012.

The timetable is different for every pitcher, but the general consensus is that the procedure sidelines a pitcher for at least a year, and usually closer to 16 months. Matt Moore, Thursday night’s starter, had Tommy John on April 23, 2014. He did not return to a big league mound until July 2, 2015, and even then, he was under restrictions. 

Smith is under team control for two more seasons after this one.