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

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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.

Dusty chooses son's graduation over Nationals game against Padres

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USATSI

Dusty chooses son's graduation over Nationals game against Padres

WASHINGTON — Dusty Baker will miss the Washington Nationals weekend series against the San Diego Padres to attend his son Darren’s graduation.

Baker said he will rejoin Washington when it begins a three-game series in San Francisco on Monday, near Baker’s offseason home. Bench coach Chris Speier will assume managerial duties against the Padres.

Baker’s son Darren is graduating from Jesuit High School in Carmichael, California. He’s committed to play college baseball at Cal.

As a 3-year-old bat boy, Darren was rescued from a potential home plate collision by J.T. Snow in Game 5 of the 2002 World Series between Baker’s Giants and the Angels.

Giants notes: 'Disappointing' road trip; Nuñez hopes to return Friday

Giants notes: 'Disappointing' road trip; Nuñez hopes to return Friday

CHICAGO — As they packed up at AT&T Park eight days ago, the Giants talked of taking their momentum on the road. It sounded pie-in-the-sky given the way they had played in April and on the previous trip, but when they took the first two in St. Louis, players started to believe they had finally turned the corner. 

And then came a Sunday loss, and three of four at Wrigley Field. There was no happy flight Thursday. The Giants lost 5-1, again looking flat against a less-than-elite pitcher, and ended up with a 3-4 trip. They’ll finish the first two months of the season without a winning road trip. They're 9-19 away from AT&T Park. 

“It’s disappointing,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Once you win the first one here, you’re hoping you get greedy and take the series, but we didn’t. That’s disappointing.”

The Giants entered the road trip with a 6.62 starters’ ERA on the road, but pitching wasn’t the issue. Sure there were too many meatballs — most of the 10 Cubs homers in this series came on pitches left right over the fat part of the plate — but the starters did their job. The lineup couldn’t keep up. The Giants had just five hits Thursday and finished the trip with 24 runs in seven games. They started the trip nine games out in the West and finished 11 back of the Rockies, their largest deficit since 2013. 

“You come here and take the first game with our (top) guys throwing after that and you’re hoping for a better result,” Jeff Samardzija said. “We started out good and that St. Louis series puts you in a good spot to salvage the trip. We’ll go home now with six solid games on our home turf and they’re six big games for us.”

The Braves and Nationals come to town. The Giants will see Jaime Garcia on Friday, followed by Mike Foltynewicz and R.A. Dickey. 

--- Samardzija’s run without a walk ended at 154 batters when Ian Happ drew a free pass in the seventh. The streak was the best of Samardzija’s career. 

--- Eduardo Nuñez said he got treatment on a tight hamstring throughout the game and he’ll go in early Friday to continue treatment. He hopes to start Friday. 

--- Christian Arroyo was hitless in three at-bats, dropping his average to .191. Before the game, Bochy talked at length about Arroyo’s recent struggles and the plan with him going forward. 

--- If you missed it earlier, I took a tour of the visiting bullpen here. After going in there, I talked to some more pitchers about what they don’t like. It seems to mostly be the fact that you’re separated from the game. One said some of the relievers who pitched Monday had no idea it was raining because they had been getting loose inside for several innings. Seems like there’s a pretty easy fix here: The Cubs can just turn part of that Under Armour wall into a chain-link fence, or have some sort of window that opens up to the outside but doesn’t interfere with outfielders. Maybe next year …