Giants Insider notebook: Wilson's back drama


Giants Insider notebook: Wilson's back drama

Feb. 21, 2011

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- First things first: Giants closer Brian Wilson's back is just fine. He threw gas in the 'pen Monday for 20 minutes, pain-free. Time to stop worrying about it. But it's been a strange little mini-drama, hasn't it? And it seemed to get a little stranger by the day -- especially early on, when Wilson was ducking the media.Wilson is a talker. A great talker. So when he doesn't want to talk, it's news. And now, on top of some quiet internal suggestions that Wilson's back pain might have been caused by his macho sprint up nearby Camelback Mountain last week in a race with fellow reliever Jeremy Affeldt, some folks are assuming he partied too hard last Friday when actor Charlie Sheen flew him on a private jet into L.A. for the night. The Camelback Mountain thing might have some merit. The Sheen thing does not. The gossip-mongers at TMZ did what they do; they sensationalized the story and got about 80 percent of the facts wrong.Going to Sheen's house was essentially a business trip, Wilson said, and one he was happy to make. Hey, Ricky Vaughn is a god to men of a certain age, especially men who actually close games in the big leagues and seem to have a screw loose -- just like Sheen's Vaughn character in "Major League." No drugs or alcohol were present at the meeting, Wilson said, just a bunch of Hollywood types picking his brain in preparation for another "Major League" sequel.Thankfully, the saga seems to be over. Wilson's bullpen session was his second in three days, this time with Giants manager Bruce Bochy standing in the batter's box.Wilson threw hard, he threw with command, and he threw without discomfort. He did, however, note that seeing Bochy in the box was "intimidating."Asked why Wilson might feel that way, Bochy smiled and said, "He knows. Any pitch, I can take him deep."COMPETITION IN CENTER?
It's been widely assumed that Andres Torres entered camp as the Giants' starting center fielder. After all, the guy took the job from Aaron Rowand last year, established himself as an excellent defensive player and a quality leadoff man, and helped the team win a world title.Bochy, though, wouldn't confirm that the job is Torres' when he was pressed on the situation after Monday's workout."We'll get into all that as we go deeper into camp here," Bochy said.This, a day after Bochy reversed course on his plans to play Rowand at all three outfield positions, saying he wanted Rowand, who hasn't played on a corner since 2004, to stay where he's comfortable.Bochy bristled just a bit, though, when asked if his refusal to name Torres the starter was an indication that the Giants weren't ready to go all-in with a guy who just had his first productive year in the Majors at age 32."No," said the skipper. "It's not so much a fluke as he finally got a chance to play every day."Moments later, Bochy said something that shed some light on his thinking, suggesting his unwillingness to anoint Torres the starter this early in camp could be out of respect for Rowand."I'm not ready," Bochy said, "to designate anyone a fourth outfielder."INTENSITY TURNED UP
The rain clouds that turned the greater Phoenix area into a cold, wet and gray expanse over the weekend were gone by the time the Giants started their workout at 10 a.m., and their general overall disposition was awfully sunny as they took the field to stretch."I think they're just excited to be back on the field," Bochy said.Once the workout truly kicked in, though, things got as serious as they can possibly get on Feb. 21. No lollygaggers at Scottsdale Stadium. These guys were getting after it in a big way, and the jovial banter that often punctuates spring workouts was replaced by grunts, the popping of gloves and the crack of bats.Several players told me the increased intensity was a must. The team's Cactus League opener is Friday, and there's a lot of work to do."It's time to go," Miguel Tejada said between rounds in the cage. "Time to play ball, to play hard."MIGGY AND THE PANDA
While watching about 30 minutes of Monday's workout with Giants GM Brian Sabean, who rarely misses an opportunity to see his club on the field, I asked him how big of a factor Tejada's potential influence among Latin players was in the decision to sign him.Sabean, who has a habit of using the term "the player" instead of a player's actual name, said the player's ability and durability were at the top of the list, but the leadership issue was certainly an added bonus.The reports on Tejada as a clubhouse guy are off the charts, Sabean told me, and I shared that I'd seen the same thing while covering Tejada when he played for the A's. Sabean thinks Tejada is going to help a ton in term of replacing the leadership of departed veterans Juan Uribe and Edgar Renteria. He might even have more of an influence than those guys.If Monday is any indication, Tejada is going to be a busy mentor on this team. Pablo Sandoval, clearly enamored with Tejada, was in the veteran shortstop's ear all day, asking questions and sharing information."He's a good kid," Tejada said. "He looks good, too!"Said Bochy of Tejada, "He'll be good with Pablo -- and all our young players."

Sharks begin second day of draft by selecting a defenseman


Sharks begin second day of draft by selecting a defenseman

CHICAGO – The Sharks used their first pick on the second day of the draft to select defenseman Mario Ferraro at 49th overall.

The Sharks acquired the second round pick from New Jersey earlier in the week as part of the trade for Mirco Mueller.

Ferraro, a five-foot-11, 185-pound Toronto native, will attend the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) in the fall. The 18-year-old posted 41 points (8g, 33a) in 60 games for Des Moines of the USHL last season.

“I describe myself as an offensive defenseman that takes pride in the d-zone,” Ferraro said. “Obviously, I like to get involved offensively. I think I’m a good skater, and I transition the puck up the ice quick. I also like to be physical in the d-zone and use my body.”

Ferraro said he needs to work on "my shot, especially. Getting pucks through to the net to create scoring chances, and I also want to work on when and when not to get up in the play, and reading the play better.”

Ferraro, the 78th-ranked North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting and a left-handed shot, had about 20 friends and family in attendance at the draft.

“I’m very honored to be wearing this jersey right now. It was amazing. It’s been an amazing day so far.”

The Sharks chose center Josh Norris with their first round pick (19th overall) on Friday.

A's call up top prospect Franklin Barreto, place Pinder on DL

A's call up top prospect Franklin Barreto, place Pinder on DL

The A's called up top prospect Franklin Barreto on Saturday morning, giving the middle infielder his first major league call-up with Chad Pinder hitting the 10-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring. 

In the span of just over a week, the A's have promoted both of their highest rated position player prospects in Barreto and third baseman Matt Chapman, though Chapman himself is on the DL with a knee infection. 

Barreto, 21, is hitting .281 with eight home runs and 32 RBI for Triple-A Nashville. He ascended to the top of Oakland's prospect rankings shortly after being acquired from Toronto in the Josh Donaldson trade of November 2014. His bat is the strength of his game, and the A's believe he has the potential to be an excellent hitter near the top of the batting order. 

Pinder injured his hamstring in the A's 3-0 win over the White Sox on Friday night.