Giants Insider notes: Posey fatigued? Nope.


Giants Insider notes: Posey fatigued? Nope.

May 17, 2011

Our MLB Insider takes a look at the Giants' 5-3 loss to the host Rockies on Tuesday in the finale of a two-day twinbill of a series at Coors Field.
Bust(er)ing out: Nobody would have batted an eye had Giants manager Bruce Bochy given catcher Buster Posey the day off; he was 2-for-13 (.154) against Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez, it was a day game after a night game, and backup Eli Whiteside has often guided Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez through spectacular outings. Bochy, however, stuck with the hot hand -- Posey had two hits Monday -- and decided that with Sunday's game in Chicago having been rained out, Posey was plenty rested. He even moved Posey into the No. 3 spot in the order, and his faith was rewarded with another multi-hit game from the reigning NL Rookie of the Year, who singled and scored during San Francisco's tie-breaking rally in the third inning.RECAP: Rockies take late lead, sweep Giants in short series

Well-played hunch: Bochy also raised some eyebrows by starting struggling Pat Burrell (1-for-12 funk) in left field and putting Mike Fontenot (1-for-19) into Freddy Sanchez's customary spots at second base and second in the batting order. As has happened so often since late last season, Bochy's moves paid off. Fontenot also singled in the third, and he and Posey scored when Burrell, given the green light to swing away on a 3-0 count, scored them both with a double into the left-center gap. Burrell also singled for his first multi-hit game since April 24.Cautionary tale: Word during Tuesday's presume show that it was a regularly scheduled day off for Freddy Sanchez, but it was a little more than that. Yes, Bochy wanted to get Fontenot into a game after sitting him in three of the past four; yes, he wanted Miguel Tejada back at shortstop because -- hot-hand alert! -- Tejada had two hits Monday and was 4-for-12 lifetime against Jimenez; and yes, Bochy wanted to play Mark DeRosa again in hopes that back-to-back starts for the first time this year would help DeRosa find some sense of rhythm. (It didn't; DeRosa went 0-for-4 and is 0-for-22 over his past nine games.) But it also has to be noted that Freddy Sanchez is 9-for-30 (.300) against Jimenez and batting .390 lifetime at Coors Field; so much for the hot-hand thing. Bottom line: Sanchez's left knee is bothering him again, so Bochy gave him a blow."Good" Sanchez: In his second start since a closed-door meeting with Bochy to discuss his focus, Jonathan Sanchez put together another pretty solid start, and for seven innings this one was quite a bit better than the previous. After allowing a leadoff double in the third, Sanchez allowed one hit and hit a batter while cruising into the eighth. His arm slot was consistent, which helped him do what any pitcher hoping to succeed at Coors Field has to do: keep the ball down and limit free passes. Sanchez was as efficient as he's been in a while, holding the Rockies to three hits, that one hit batter and zero walks on 81 pitches through the first seven innings."Bad" Sanchez: After allowing consecutive singles to open the bottom of the eighth, Sanchez picked up a sacrifice bunt and threw wildly past first base to bring in a run and put runners at the corners with nobody out. That was it for him, and the inning snowballed from there. Javier Lopez, one of the Giants' most reliable bullpen arms all year, came on and was greeted by a ground-rule double by Dexter Fowler that tied the game. Two batters later, Carlos Gonzalez broke the tie with the two-run single that chased Lopez and stuck Sanchez with the loss."Tulo" untracked: Previously slumping Troy Tulowitzki had a big two-run single off Tim Lincecum on Monday, and the confidence boost it provided appeared to carry over to Tuesday, when he yanked a slow-breaking, down-and-away slider from Sanchez into the left-center bleachers to tie the game at 1-1. Then again, Tulowitzki likely had plenty of confidence heading into the short series' finale, anyway. He entered the contest 7-for-20 (.350) with a double, triple and home run in his career against Sanchez.

A's spring training Day 11: Joyce, Chapman homer vs. Cubs


A's spring training Day 11: Joyce, Chapman homer vs. Cubs

MESA, Ariz. — The Chicago Cubs rolled out their World Series trophy for an adoring sellout crowd to enjoy once again Saturday afternoon.

The A’s? They didn’t have any postseason glory to re-live, but their Cactus League opener came with some highlights too.

Matt Joyce homered to right field in his second plate appearance with Oakland, and hotshot prospect Matt Chapman picked up where he left off last spring, belting a two-run homer that rounded out the scoring for the A’s in their 4-3 defeat at Sloan Park.

Blue-clad fans filled the Cubs’ spring home to capacity, so much so that it made getting to the park an adventure for the A’s, who traveled across town from their own Mesa headquarters at Hohokam Stadium.

The A’s arranged for a police escort to guide their team bus through the traffic. Joyce drove his own car, with teammate Adam Rosales riding shotgun, and found himself in an enviable position.

“We actually were right behind the escort, leading the bus,” Joyce said. “The (cop) on the bike was like, ‘Pull over!’ and we’re like, ‘No, we’re with the A’s.’ We felt cool for sure.”

Joyce, batting third and playing right field, walked in his first time at bat. In the fourth, Jose Rosario caught too much plate with a 1-2 fastball and Joyce parked it on to the grass beyond the right field wall.

Three batters later, Chapman drilled a 1-0 pitch from Rosario to right-center for a two-run shot. Most of the A’s are familiar with Chapman’s power from last spring, when he hit a team-high six homers. Joyce, who joined the A’s as a free agent this winter, was impressed with the opposite-field stroke from the young third baseman.

“Man, he’s strong. He’s really strong,” Joyce said. “He’s going to be a fun player to watch, and watch him mature. You can tell, he’s quiet and he works his butt off. He’s got a bright future ahead of him.”

CAMP BATTLE: Jesse Hahn, competing for the fifth starter’s spot, started for the A’s and was charged with three runs over 1 2/3 innings. Working on a limited pitch count, he gave up four hits and struck out two. He was victimized by poor luck in the second, when Matt Szczur hit a sharp comebacker that deflected off Hahn’s glove and leaked into left field for a two-run single. Jon Jay and Ian Happ each doubled off him that inning too, and Jason Heyward’s RBI grounder brought home another run for a 3-0 Cubs lead.

“It was pretty good,” Melvin said of Hahn’s outing. “Two balls hit down the line, little slicers, but those type of situations he’s trying to get some ground balls and they got him in the air. Certainly his first inning was better than his second inning.”

Raul Alcantara, another fifth starter candidate, tossed two scoreless innings while allowing one hit.

Catcher Bruce Maxwell said he liked Alcantara’s curve and that his splitter, a new pitch for Alcantara, kept a couple hitters off balance.

FAMILIAR FACE(S): Joyce enjoyed the chance to catch up with Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist as well as Cubs manager Joe Maddon. Joyce was with all three as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays from 2009-14.

Zobrist, of course, played with the A’s in the first half of 2015. His Cubs double-play partner, Addison Russell, was traded from Oakland in 2014 in the deal that brought pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the A’s. Neither recorded a hit Saturday.

Right-hander Aaron Brooks, who the A’s shipped to Chicago last spring for Chris Coghlan, threw a scoreless second inning against his former club.

ODDS AND ENDS: Catcher Josh Phegley, coming off season-ending right knee surgery, has been moving well early in camp. Melvin said Phegley will start Sunday’s exhibition home opener against the Los Angeles Angels, with Kendall Graveman on the mound. … New center fielder Rajai Davis showed a glimpse of what the A’s hope is in store all season — he led the game off with a walk against lefty Mike Montgomery, then stole second and third. But Davis was stranded there. … With Khris Davis not playing, Mark Canha played left field and hit cleanup. He struck out in all three of his plate appearances. … Simon Castro, a non-roster reliever, entered for Hahn with a man on third in the second inning and coaxed an inning-ending groundout from reigning NL MVP Kris Bryant.

Giants spring training Day 13: Cain goes two; Melancon has perfect debut

Giants spring training Day 13: Cain goes two; Melancon has perfect debut

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Bruce Bochy planned to give most of his pitchers one-inning stints during the first weekend of spring ball, but Matt Cain stretched it out to 40 pitches on Saturday. 

“I’ve had enough days off the past couple of years,” Cain said, smiling.

In his first start of a crucial spring, Cain threw two innings. He was charged with three hits and two runs, just one of them earned. 

“He’s in a good place right now with his arm strength,” Bochy said. “His delivery is consistent. I’m glad he got a lot of work today, to be honest. It’s something he needs as much as anybody on this staff, is work. He’s going to get it.”

Ty Blach, Cain’s biggest competition for the fifth starter spot, gave up four hits and one earned in his two innings. Neither pitcher was hit particularly hard, and both suffered a bit from iffy defense in the early innings of an 8-6 win over the Cubs. 

The inning separating Cain and Blach was notable for other reasons. Mark Melancon made his Giants debut, getting two groundouts and a fly to right in a quick inning. Melancon received a nice ovation, and he noted the opponent — a Cubs team that helped guarantee the Giants would spend big on a closer — but he didn’t put any added importance on the outing. 

“It doesn’t matter what I do out there right now,” he said. 

Melancon’s new teammates might disagree. Spring or not, the Giants certainly enjoyed watching a closer breeze through his inning. Especially against the Cubs. 

“He’s a pro,” Bochy said. “He’s going to be out there working on stuff, his command and pitches. It was good for Buster (Posey) to catch him. It was a good day for him.”

NOTABLE: On his first swing of the spring, Posey threw his bat up against the visiting dugout. It can only go uphill from there … Bryan Morris had a scoreless debut, striking out one … Josh Osich ran into some trouble in the eighth and gave up a pair of runs, but Bochy appreciated the way he fought his way out of the frame … Former Giants prospect Chris Dominguez started for the Cubs at first base. He had a couple of hits ... If you're headed to Goodyear for tomorrow's game, Joe Panik, Brandon Belt, Conor Gillaspie, Jimmy Rollins, Mac Williamson, Jarrett Parker, Gorkys Hernandez and Trevor Brown will start behind Matt Moore. Also, if you're headed to Goodyear, I'm sorry. 

TRAINER’S ROOM: Eduardo Nuñez is limited to DH duty for now because of a sore throwing shoulder. Nuñez said the tightness popped up after some work in the weight room, but he’s not concerned at all. He said he would have played third base if Saturday’s game was a regular season contest. The Giants expect him in the field sometime next week. 

Nuñez also said it took five weeks after the season ended for his hamstring to get back to 100 percent, so apparently that injury was much worse than it first looked. Nuñez was out on the field before every NLDS game, trying to get clearance to return. He never quite got there. 

Will Smith (elbow) is just a day or two from throwing off flat ground, Bochy said. 

CUETO UPDATE: The Giants had hoped to have Johnny Cueto in camp this weekend, but he remains in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic. Cueto is waiting for a visa for his ill father, Domingo, who will travel to Scottsdale with Johnny. 

LIGHTER SIDE: Brandon Crawford spent a couple of minutes learning some of Jeff Samardzija’s mound moves. The impersonation is pretty solid.