Giants Insider notes: Painful losses to Marlins

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Giants Insider notes: Painful losses to Marlins

May 25, 2011
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Mychael UrbanCSNBayArea.com

Our MLB Insider takes a look at the Giants 7-6 loss to the visiting Marlins on Wednesday in the second game of a three-game series at AT&T Park.Painful loss: Hard to put any sort of silver lining on the night in the wake of what the Giants might be facing if Buster Poseys injury is as bad as it looked. But what the heck: That was another absolutely hellacious throw by Nate Schierholtz. If Posey hangs on, the teams might still be playing without him.Absolved: Dont blame Scott Cousins. That was clean country hardball, and thats what Posey grew up playing. Cousins, who helped USF get on the baseball map as the 2006 West Coast Conference Player of the Year while leading the Dons to the programs first NCAA playoffs appearance, had every right to blow up Buster; it was the only option for him, actually. Part of the game.
NEWS: Giants' Posey helped off field after collision
Bedlam: Just when youre ready to start thinking everyone might need to knock it off with the magic angle that the Giants have caused to swirl around them by constructing so many different and dramatic victories, they do something like throw up a four-spot to tie in the bottom of the ninth and get a six-pitch top of the 10th from Brian Wilson. What a show these guys are putting on. What an incredible energy on that big, beautiful stage. Its officially ridiculous now.Quoth the bard: Tejada and Burrell in the 10th, thy name is buzzkill.
RECAP: Giants force extras, lose Posey and game in 12th
Temporary reversal of (late-game) fortune: The Giants surely felt that familiar feeling of invincibility that keeps them warm on chilly nights at home until Mike Stantons fourth hit of the night, a bases-loaded double with two out in the top of the ninth inning, made the feeling go away for about eight minutes and underscored the need for another lefty to step up and share some of Javier Lopezs massive burden.Lopez, whos been mostly brilliant all year but got roughed up during Floridas ninth, is a little bit like the Darren Ford of the pitching staff, although far more of a factor, in that hes best used for specific situations. Working an entire inning is not one of them.Add Stanton: If he wasnt a Stud On The Brink in big-league ball, Stanton looks like he might be a big-time Aussie Rules Football star or an NFL tight end. Heck, maybe even the lead in the next installment of the Fast and Furious franchise. Yes, hes going that good, so heres some dead-serious advice for Thursday: play hooky from work, find a way to get into the yard and watch this kid take batting practice.Or have you not heard of the BP balls that Stanton, 21, has launched to the base of the big Coke-bottle slides and the Bobs Big Boy oven mitt hey, you see what you wanna see on the left-center field concourses since he arrived in town Tuesday?Showing off: BP is among the finest entertainment one will find in professional sports, for its the very best in the world at the sports worlds most difficult single task honing their craft in the most relaxed environment their on-field experience allows.Team Taxing: Youve heard of high-stress innings, where the pitcher has to absolutely grind to get a zero on the board? The Marlins, with their balanced grab-bag of a lineup, can force opponents into high-stress games. Giants starts Madison Bumgarner, who threw a ton of great, gutsy pitches while putting up another unrewarded quality May start, was dealing with traffic all evening. Dealing well, though.

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.