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.

Giants spring training Day 9: Bumgarner, Melancon face hitters

Giants spring training Day 9: Bumgarner, Melancon face hitters

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Madison Bumgarner aims to get all 27 outs every time he takes the mound, but on Tuesday the coaching staff gave the ace a nice view of the man who will help out if his nights are cut short. 

Bumgarner threw his first live batting practice session of the spring on the main field at Scottsdale Stadium. Mark Melancon, the new closer, followed him. Both players said they felt good. Both also found things to work on in advance of opening day. 

“Strength-wise I felt pretty good, really good, actually,” Bumgarner said. “My command up in the zone was right where I want it. I’m pretty happy with that. My cutter was pretty straight, but that usually comes around pretty quick.”

Melancon didn’t even throw his go-to cutter, saying he usually pockets it until later in camp. He’s getting the feel for his curveball back because he doesn’t throw it until he reports. Like Bumgarner, Melancon said he’s where he needs to be physically.

“I feel really good,” he said. “In years past there has been some slowness but I don’t feel that this year. I’m right where I want to be.”

The Giants have not finalized a Cactus League rotation, but Bumgarner will likely throw an inning in Friday’s opener. Melancon could follow him, as he’ll throw in the early innings until late March. He said he’ll talk to pitching coach Dave Righetti about closing a game or two over the final days of camp so he can start locking his routine down. It’s probably a lock that he’ll close out that first Bay Bridge Series game back at AT&T Park. 

ICYMI: Here’s actual (shaky) footage of Bumgarner throwing today. At one point, he gave Denard Span a hard time for missing a slider that he was told was coming. Span had a good reason. “I didn't understand him when he said it because of his accent,” he said. 

ICYMI, PART II: The latest podcast is a couple of interviews with Derek Law and Josh Osich. Law explained how he ordered 800 chicken nuggets for his wedding. 

CUETO UPDATE: The Giants now expect Johnny Cueto to join camp this weekend. His status for the WBC is up in the air. Speaking of the WBC, trainer Dave Groeschner will be leaving camp on Feb. 27 to work with manager Hensley Meulens and the Netherlands. Bullpen catcher Taira Uematsu is also working with the team, which opens play in Seoul. Anthony Reyes will be head trainer while Groeschner is gone.

PROSPECT WATCH: Bruce Bochy said right-hander Ray Black was a standout during early live BP sessions. “He had a hell of an outing yesterday,” Bochy said. “They said he was really good.”   Black, 26, still throws 100-plus. He still has command issues, though, with 32 walks in 31 1/3 innings last year. If he can get over that hump and stay healthy, he might rocket to the big leagues.

QUOTABLE: After just about every start last season — most of which were dominant — Bumgarner said he wasn’t happy with his mechanics. He said Tuesday that he’s still searching for the perfect feeling. “I was being a perfectionist,” he said. “If you’re being a perfectionist, I really haven’t had (my mechanics) where I wanted the last couple of years. It’s not like it’s too far off, obviously.”

Johnny Cueto hopes to join Giants camp this weekend

Johnny Cueto hopes to join Giants camp this weekend

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Giants have been watching high-quality clips of Johnny Cueto all spring, even though the co-ace has remained in the Dominican Republic. On Monday, manager Bruce Bochy finally managed to get face-to-face with Cueto. Kind of. 

Cueto spoke to Bochy, trainer Dave Groeschner and others via FaceTime, and all involved finally managed to hammer out a schedule for Cueto’s arrival. Cueto has been in the Dominican Republic tending to his ill father, Domingo, but he is expected to arrive in Scottsdale this weekend. Cueto is working to secure a visa for his father, who will travel with him.

Bochy wanted to have a long discussion with Cueto to get a sense of how ready he’ll be for the World Baseball Classic. Cueto’s participation is still up in the air, and not just because he has missed the first week of camp. There is a chance, Bochy said, that Cueto will choose to stay in Scottsdale to continue taking care of his father. The Dominican Republic opens play in Miami on March 9.

“He said he knows he’s got to make a decision real soon regarding what he does,” Bochy said. “Pitching or not pitching, he’s got to let them know as soon as possible.”

Cueto has been throwing to hitters at a facility in Boca Chica. He threw a 45-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday.