Bumgarner experiments with new slider grip in rough start

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Bumgarner experiments with new slider grip in rough start

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Madison Bumgarner allowed three runs onseven hits in his longest outing of the spring -- four innings -- in a 5-4 Giants loss tothe Chicago Cubs Tuesday at Scottsdale Stadium.

RECAP: Giants lose to Cubs 5-4
Coming off three shutout innings in his last start Thursday in Peoria againstthe Padres, Bumgarner blamed his regression on falling behind many of the Cubshitters.I got behind and had to give in a little bit, Bumgarnersaid. They hit the balls they should hit. They hit some good pitches, too, butmostly just working behind a lot is what got me.Despite struggling with location, Bumgarner had his strikeout pitches workingas he racked up four, bringing his Cactus League total to 13 in 9.2 innings.

Im just trying to get ready for the season, Bumgarnersaid. Today I experimented on a little different slider grip and it was okay.There was some really good ones and some really bad ones, too. When asked if he would stick with the new grip on his slider, Bumgarner wasnon-committal.Im going to keep working with it, he said. I dont know well see how itgoes.Bumgarner wasnt concerned about the rough outing.Thats what spring is about, just practicing and gettingready for the season.Bumgarners regular season preparation extended to the plate, where he had hisfirst at-bat of the spring, a five-pitch strikeout in which the bat never lefthis shoulder.I dont know if it felt good, but it was nice to see somepitches, he said. A little different than the coaches throwing to us.Manager Bruce Bochy and his catcher Buster Posey agreed withBumgarners assessment that he was in the strike zone often Tuesday.He probably threw too many strikes, Bochy said. He was a little wild in thestrike zone. But his stuff wasgood, he just made a few too many mistakes today. Hes been throwing the ballwell, he just left some balls up out over the plate today. Said Posey: I thought he threw the ball pretty well, he just left a fewpitches out over the plate. But all in all I thought he looked pretty good.

Top pick Heliot Ramos visits AT&T Park, will start Giants career this weekend

Top pick Heliot Ramos visits AT&T Park, will start Giants career this weekend

SAN FRANCISCO — As he was wrapping up the first press conference of his career, Heliot Ramos was asked when he expects to be back at AT&T Park as a player. The 17-year-old smiled and said he hopes to debut in three years. 

“I know it’s hard, but that’s my dream,” Ramos continued. “I know I’ve got to work hard for that.”

A half-dozen Giants officials stood a few feet away, smiling. Three years would be incredibly impressive. It took Christian Arroyo and Ryder Jones four years after being drafted out of high school to reach the big leagues. Buster Posey got a cup of coffee a year after he was drafted, but he was already 22 years old because he had played three years at Florida State. 

Ramos doesn’t turn 18 until September. The Giants hope he is dominating A-ball in three years, and yet, he’s the the kind of prospect that allows them to dream for so much more. 

“If he grew up in Southern California (instead of Puerto Rico) we never would have had a shot at drafting him,” one team official said Tuesday.

Ramos certainly opened eyes in his second trip to AT&T Park, but then again, he put on a display the first time, too. The Giants brought him in for a pre-draft workout and someone pointed out to Ramos that the deepest part of the park was 421 feet. The right-handed hitter, making the transition to a wood bat, wasn’t bothered by the dimensions. He took aim at Triples Alley and tried to blast one out, and he nearly did. Then he started pulling the ball, peppering the left field bleachers with homers and convincing the front office that he was the right pick at No. 19 in this month’s draft. Ramos, described as a potential five-tool center fielder, said he enjoys hitting here.

“It’s a park with a lot of history, and I like that,” he said. 

The clock on his career starts this weekend. Ramos will travel back to Arizona and play in a rookie league game Friday or Saturday. It is always a slow progression for a high school draft pick, but the Giants believe Ramos is physically mature enough to jump right in with both feet. 

Ramos, who said his favorite player is Andrew McCutchen, is listed at 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds and he carries it well. One member of the front office compared his body type to Yasiel Puig as a rookie; another called him a “mini-Cespedes.” Bruce Bochy lit up when asked about the physicality of the organization’s latest top pick. 

“Any time you get a young kid like this, the ceiling is so high,” he said. “That excites you.”

Bochy spent some time with Ramos and his family after batting practice. As they posed for photos, the manager looked out at the field and then turned to a PR representative.

“Can he take BP? Put him in the last group,” Bochy said, smiling. “I’ll put him in the lineup tomorrow.”

Ramos didn’t end up taking swings, but if all goes according to his plan, it won’t be long.

Giants lineup: After nine-run outburst on Monday, Bochy makes no changes

Giants lineup: After nine-run outburst on Monday, Bochy makes no changes

Bud Black and Bruce Bochy issued their lineups for Game 2 of their series at AT&T Park:

Rockies (47-32) 
1. Charlie Blackmon (L) CF
2. DJ LeMahieu (R) 2B
3. Nolan Arenado (R) 3B
4. Mark Reynolds (R) 1B
5. Ian Desmond (R) LF
6. Alexi Amarista (L) RF
7. Trevor Story (R) SS
8. Tony Wolters (L) C
9. Jeff Hoffman (R) P

Giants (28-51)
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Hunter Pence (R) RF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Ryder Jones (L) 3B
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
9. Matt Cain (R) P (3-7, 5.54 ERA)