Bochy eager to see Vogelsong on mound -- Burrell, too


Bochy eager to see Vogelsong on mound -- Burrell, too

DENVER -- The tarp is on the field and the Giants won't be able to take batting practice today due to a passing thunderstorm, but it's already beginning to brighten a bit at Coors Field.

The outlook is brightening for Ryan Vogelsong, too. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Vogelsong came out of his final rehab start (six innings, 93 pitches) for Triple-A Fresno with no back stiffness, and he'll start against the Pittsburgh Pirates when the club activates him on Sunday.

"He'll meet us back home, take a bullpen and he ready to go," Bochy said. "It's all gone as well as it could."

Bochy also is eager to see Pat Burrell on a mound. He reacted with surprise when told that the recently retired left fielder would throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Tuesday when the Giants take on the Phillies.

Bochy said Burrell usually approached him during blowout games and offered to serve as an emergency pitcher. He went as far to start getting loose in an indoor cage a few times.

"I'll get a chance to see what it looks like I guess," Bochy said. "He won't bounce it. There's a lot of pride there. If he bounces it, he knows he won't hear the end of it."

In other pregame news, Bochy said Brandon Belt took early hitting and was in a good frame of mind even though he's not starting for the second consecutive day. Belt was a victim of getting Nate Schierholtz in the lineup -- something Bochy said he felt it was important to do.

"I hate to get home with Nate not getting one start on the road trip," Bochy said.

Bochy said Belt could start at first base on Thursday, even with left-hander Jamie Moyer on the mound. Brett Pill will be in the lineup, either at first base or left field, Bochy said.

Bochy expects Buster Posey to be in the lineup, too. The manager said he wasn't worried about covering the catching position. Posey volunteered to play despite his case of shingles; Bochy told him to take another day and be ready for Thursday's day game.

Posey was stretching on the field with the team before the rain forced everyone indoors. He is available off the bench tonight.

Finally, Thursday's matchup of 49-year-old Jamie Moyer and 22-year-old Madison Bumgarner is not the largest age spread between two opposing starting pitchers in major league history. But it's the largest in nearly five decades.

Satchel Paige was 59 years old when he started for the Kansas City A's against the Boston Red Sox and 29-year-old Bill Monbouquette on Sept. 25, 1965. That's an age difference of 30 years and 35 days.

Moyer had wandered this earth for 26 years and 256 days when Bumgarner entered the world.

As Dodgers celebrate, Bochy turns eyes to franchise-altering talent


As Dodgers celebrate, Bochy turns eyes to franchise-altering talent

LOS ANGELES — The Giants left their dugout quickly after Friday’s loss, escaping a celebration on the mound and a fireworks show in the sky. As Dodger Stadium shook with cheers, Bruce Bochy sat in the visiting clubhouse and smiled. He nodded at his laptop, which earlier had been used to pull up highlights of Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani. 

“He’s good,” Bochy said, laughing. “I absolutely would play him every day.”

Earlier in the week, when it became known that Bobby Evans and Jeremy Shelley were headed to Japan to scout Otani, Bochy said he couldn’t imagine a player pitching and then moving to the outfield between starts. What changed? 

Perhaps it was the tape Bochy saw. Otani throws 100 mph and hits homers with ease. Or perhaps it was the game he watched Friday. The Giants lost for the 94th time, with the big blow coming from a 22-year-old Dodgers star. Cody Bellinger’s blast was the difference in a 4-2 win, and the Giants don’t have a Bellinger, or anything close. Otani, 23, is a long shot for a team that very well could finish with the worst record in baseball. Still, he’s the kind of talent that could help pull the Giants closer in a hurry. He’s the  kind of talent they haven’t developed in years, and Bochy certainly sounded a bit wistful as he talked of the power Bellinger has put on display. 

“You call up a guy and he does that — that just doesn’t happen,” he said. “It’s a rare deal.”

The ninth inning of the Dodgers’ clincher reinforced that point for the Giants. They got a homer from Pablo Sandoval, but he’s playing only because Christian Arroyo — the Giants’ best prospect bet this year — is hurt. Ryder Jones, their 23-year-old prospect, struck out to end the night, dropping his average to .180. 

That set off a celebration for Bellinger and the Dodgers. They have won five straight NL West titles, with three of the last four clinched against the Giants. 

“Congrats to them,” Bochy said. “They’ve had a tremendous year across the board, and they’ve played great baseball. They brought some guys up that really did a great job for them. It’s well deserved.”

Bochy said it was not difficult to watch this one. The division has been wrapped up for months, with only a September slide keeping the Dodgers from clinching earlier. 

“We knew what we were facing here,” Bochy said. 

The Giants have two more against the Dodgers and then six more before a long winter. The Dodgers, on the other hand, will host an NLDS series here at Dodger Stadium. Both Bochy and starter Jeff Samardzija made the same observation, that the Dodgers will have a hard time cutting their deep roster down to 25 postseason players. 

That’s a nice problem to have. It’s a foreign one right now for the Giants, who have a serious talent gap and no clear solutions internally. It’s no wonder, then, that Bochy has all of a sudden become so intrigued by a wondrous talent overseas. 

Samardzija hits two milestones, makes 200-200 club in start vs Dodgers


Samardzija hits two milestones, makes 200-200 club in start vs Dodgers

LOS ANGELES — When the Giants gathered for spring training in February, team officials thought they had put together a rotation with four 200-inning arms. The starters didn’t come close to hitting that lofty goal, but one Giant got to the 200-inning mark Friday night. 

Jeff Samardzija hit 200 innings in the third inning Friday night at Dodger Stadium, reaching the standard for the fifth consecutive season. Samardzija also became the first Giant this year to reach 200 strikeouts when he struck out Curtis Granderson to open the second inning. The right-hander will be the only member of the rotation to reach either milestone, with Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto limited by injuries and Matt Moore having a down year. 

“These guys like Jeff that are able to handle that workload that he does and log 200 innings and have durability, that’s invaluable,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “You look at what it does for the ‘pen but also the quality of innings he gives you. His record should be different with how he has thrown the ball — he can’t control that. But the workload itself is important.”

Samardzija became the first Giants right-hander to strike out 200 in a season since Tim Lincecum (220) in 2011. Samardzija joined Carlos Martinez as the only National League pitchers who have thrown 200 innings this year, and Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, Robbie Ray, Martinez and Zack Greinke in the league’s 200-strikeout club.