Bochy commends Melky Cabrera, Posey skirts question

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Bochy commends Melky Cabrera, Posey skirts question

SAN FRANCISCO Melky Cabreras ineligibility to win the NLbatting title turned the crown into a sudden, two-player race betweenPittsburghs Andrew McCutchen and Buster Posey, Cabreras former teammate.

EXCLUSIVE: Melky Cabrera ruled ineligible to win batting crown

So what did Posey think about the deal that Cabrera struckwith Major League Baseball on Friday to disqualify him?

You know what, Im just focusing on these last 12 games,said Posey, skirting the issue. Weve got a chance to do some good things.Personal achievements are always nice, but being fortunate enough to win theWorld Series in 2010, I know how much fun that was to share it with the wholecity. I know thats why I play the game. Thats how I get satisfaction.

Posey leads in many ways, including the way he carefullyconsiders his words. It was no surprise when he was named the Willie Mac Awardwinner, recognizing him as the most inspirational Giant as selected by playersand coaches. He entered the day hitting .335, just behind McCutchen at .338.

McCutchen told Pirates reporters that he appreciated Cabreramanning up and saying he was wrong. I guess he thought that was the rightthing to do and I commend him for doing that."

Giants manager Bruce Bochy also commended Cabrera.

Good for Melky, Bochy said. Its a good thing. He didntwant something hed probably feel is tarnished, so I think that shows somethingabout his character.

Posey did not offer an opinion one way or the other; thecatcher might have offered the only comment necessary on Aug. 15, the day MajorLeague Baseball announced Cabreras 50-game ban for testing positive fortestosterone.

"Ultimately, it was just a baddecision, Posey said at the time.

RATTO: Decision on Melky is dishonest

Posey could become the first NL catcher to win the awardsince 1942, when Oakland native Ernie Lombardi hit .330 for the Boston Braves.

Its really, really difficult (for a catcher to win abatting title, Bochy said. You get beat up and your hands take a beating. Ittakes a lot of focus catching the game. You cant drift mentally. So itsimpressive where he is.

Its even more impressive because Posey couldnt walk fornearly four months last season after he tore three ankle ligaments andfractured a bone in his leg in a May 25 collision at home plate with FloridaMarlins baserunner Scott Cousins.

Thats one reason the Willie Mac award was near unanimousfor Posey, Bochy said.

He inspires everybody with the way he plays and approachesthe game and the way he comes out every day and carries himself, Bochy said.Im proud of him.

Said Posey: Hopefully Im somebody guys can look at and sayI go about things the right way. Im ready to play. Hopefully Im a guy peoplecan look up to and bounce stuff off of. I try to be the best teammate I canbe.

The Giants certainly needed leadership after losing Cabrera,who was leading the majors in hits and runs on the day he was suspended.

As Posey told me earlier this month: Ivenever been on a team thats been through something like that. I didnt knowwhat to expect, to tell you the truth. So I think everybody should be happywith how they handled it. I mean, really, what choice did we have?

Posey responded by being more productive thanever in the cleanup spot. Since the All-Star break, hes hitting .392 with 13home runs, 20 doubles and 52 RBI in 60 games. He has a 1.125 OPS over thatspan.

And if Posey wins a batting title? Will it becheapened in any way because Cabrera finished with a .346 average?

No, not at all, Bochy said, making a sour face. Busterhas been here all year. Melky had to miss a lot of games. So I wouldnt look atit like that. I stay on the positive side. If he wins it, he earned it.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' skid-snapping win over Rockies

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AP

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' skid-snapping win over Rockies

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — On a day that started with controversy, Giants players called a meeting following batting practice. Perhaps they were talking about when and where to stretch. Perhaps a reminder was given to keep clubhouse complaints in the actual clubhouse. 

Or, perhaps, the players just decided that enough was enough. 

In a rare display, the Giants put a clean and complete game together. They beat the Rockies 9-2 at AT&T Park, getting just their second win since June 11 and snapping a nine-game losing streak to the Rockies. 

Jeff Samardzija continued his hot streak, the lineup was opportunistic and flashed some power, and the defense sparkled at times. Here are five things to know from the throwback night … 

—- Samardzija walked off to a standing ovation after throwing 112 pitches. He was charged with two earned in 6 1/3 innings. Ignore the record and ERA for a second — his FIP is 3.37 and his xFIP is 2.95. He really is having a very good and underrated season. 

—- Here’s another one for your Samardzija file: Over the past two months, he has 82 strikeouts and three walks. 

—- It was a good day in the race for another Brandon Crawford Gold Glove. Adeiny Hechavarria, one of the few in the National League who even approaches Crawford, was traded to the Rays. Crawford added to the reel by gunning a runner down on third and making a nifty spin-and-throw in the fourth to rob Ian Desmond of a hit. 

—- There are nights where Denard Span looks like a game-changer, and this was one of them. He had a single, walk and triple in his first three plate appearances, scoring twice as the Giants built a 5-0 lead. He was spry in center, too 

—- Nolan Arenado was 0 for 4. Apparently that’s legal now. (It was actually his ninth 0 for 4 or worse against the Giants, in 81 games.)

—- Bonus sixth fact since the Giants won a game: Sam Dyson, acquired basically for free, is the new setup man. That didn’t take long, and it probably won’t be changing anytime soon. Dyson gave up a single but struck out the other three batters he faced. 

Giants respond to Melancon report: 'It’s pole vaulting over mouse turds'

Giants respond to Melancon report: 'It’s pole vaulting over mouse turds'

SAN FRANCISCO — As reporters approached Mark Melancon’s locker Monday afternoon, the closer looked up at a clubhouse clock and smiled.

“I guess it’s 3:30,” he said softly. 

A year ago at this time, Giants relievers would have been out in left field jogging and playing catch. The routine was changed a week into the season, and players, coaches and management expressed confusion and frustration Monday about how that became the centerpiece of a FOX Sports article portraying the clubhouse as “boring” and a problem.

The piece, written by Ken Rosenthal and posted Monday morning, said Melancon “rubbed some teammates the wrong way early in the season by putting an end to the bullpen’s 3:30 p.m. stretching session before night games, a practice that the relievers began in 2012.”

Several players mocked the concept as they stretched Monday. Manager Bruce Bochy called it a non-story.

“It’s pole vaulting over mouse turds,” he said. 

Melancon defended the move, saying it was made collectively by the revamped bullpen and staff. He said the Giants decided to be better about time management, noting that it did not make sense for the relievers to run and throw an hour before going back on the field with the rest of the team. The decision was made to instead focus on lifting, eating and doing other clubhouse work in the hours leading up to the 4:30 team stretch. 

“Really it’s nothing — it’s kind of funny it’s been raised,” Melancon said. “I was brought in to be a leader here and take ownership of the bullpen. In conversations with guys and the coaching staff, we decided to change the stretch time. It was the first series of the year, and from a time management standpoint, it’s been good. I’m shocked, but if this is the reason we’re pointing out (for the team’s record), please bring it on.

“We’re talking about stretching. Stretching,” Melancon added, joking he felt like Allen Iverson. 

The story also mentioned Melancon’s routine of spending the first six or seven innings in the clubhouse preparing to pitch. Melancon said he is usually in the bullpen by the fifth or sixth, and noted that that’s been the way of all closers he has worked under, from Mariano Rivera to Jonathan Papelbon. 

“I don’t know anyone who has had a problem with (my routine),” he said. 

His manager certainly doesn’t. Bochy said every closer he has managed did the same thing because they almost never pitch until the ninth. Of course, that’s where the real problem comes. Melancon has a 4.58 ERA and has blown four saves. He said that should have been the focus of any story about the Giants’ struggles. 

“I understand if you lose this many games there’s got to be something to blame, and I’ll take this blame on,” he said. “I haven’t pitched well … There are a lot of things I can be better at with my performance on the field, and that’s first and foremost.”

The Giants expected a bit more on the mound, and Melancon knows it. He owns that part of this. But they have no complaints, sources said, about anything he has done off the field. Several teammates noted Monday that Melancon has also been pitching hurt for a team that’s hopelessly buried in the standings. Melancon also had team employees remodel a small room behind the dugout — adding new seats, a flat screen TV, and inspirational quotes — so relievers were more comfortable while waiting to pitch.

Those are small changes, with nothing to do with how the team has played. And given the way the bullpen pitched last year, any change probably should have been welcomed.