Cabrera amazes, outhits his Giants teammates in pivotal win

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Cabrera amazes, outhits his Giants teammates in pivotal win

MIAMI Melky Cabrera keeps two special baseballs on a shelfin his locker, home and away.

They are not souvenirs from a milestone night. They arenteven game-used. Both of them bear inscriptions in black ink: SALMO 23 andSALMO 91.

You might know them better as this:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

And:

I will say of the Lord, He is myrefuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.

Youre more likely to find Cabrera reading hisBible than trying to pie a reporter in the face. Two months into his career with the Giants, Cabrerasteammates are still learning his likes and dislikes. Theyre getting littlewindows into his personality through snippets of conversations and littleflashes of body language on the field.

But by now, they understand the essence. And they certainlyunderstand his impact.

Cabrera scored all three runs and outhit the rest of histeammates 4 to 3 in the Giants 3-2 victory over the Miami Marlins on Sunday a complete effort that made the difference between a winning road trip and alosing one. His homer put them ahead. He stole two bases, too, and shook off a swollen lip after he slidface-first into Omar Infantes glove at second base.

RECAP: Baggs' Instant Replay -- Giants 3, Marlins 2

He leads baseball with 73 hits, and thats not eventhe most impressive part. He has the most hits by a Giant through May for whichday-by-day data is available, beginning in 1920.

More accurately, he has the second most hits by a Giantthrough 48 games in the clubs San Francisco era. Heres the list, courtesy ofDave Feldman:

Willie Mays, 84, 1958
Melky Cabrera, 73, 2012
Orlando Cabrera, 68, 1962
Jeffrey Leonard, 68, 1987

Yep. Its Melky, the Baby Bull, the Hac-Man and the greatestliving ballplayer. That is a good list to crack.

It almost left Cabrera speechless to hear his name linkedwith Mays.

Really happy, said Cabrera, through the translation skillsof Sergio Romo. I didnt know I was up there. Im really happy to be mentionedin the same sentence as Willie Mays.

His teammates were almost as speechless to describe what Cabrerais doing.

Ridiculous, Matt Cain said.

Unbelievable, Angel Pagan said.

Amazing, Romo said.

A joke, Gregor Blanco said. He's hitting line drive, linedrive, line drive. It's amazing."

And Bruce Bochy: Wow.

Full pause.

EXTRA BAGGS: Giants play matador, fluffy schedule ahead, etc.

Its hard to describe the job hes done for us.

What does Cabrera think of all these compliments?

We have good teammates around here, he said, through Romo.Im comfortable. Were one unit here. It makes me feel good they talk about methat way and I feel the same.

Cabrera has 46 hits while hitting .426 in May. Hes got three games remainingto collect five more, which would match Randy Winn for the most hits in any month inthe Giants San Francisco era. Of course, Winn turned that huge September of 2005 into athree-year extension worth more than 27 million. And Cabrera will be a free agentafter this season.

But there is no indication that Cabreras quietly dedicatedpush is about cashing in.

He fits. He blends. He meshes well, Romo said. Hes got afresh, young, aggressive approach. Its impressive. It really is. Hes 4 for 4 and its real! Its not just one day. Hesbeen doing it the whole year. Melky thats whats up! Hes a beast. He reallyis.

Maybe its an example of how overshadowed hes been hiswhole career. Hes just good.

Said Cain: Hes on fire and were loving it.

Injured Michael Morse will stick with Giants, work way up from Triple-A

Injured Michael Morse will stick with Giants, work way up from Triple-A

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Michael Morse isn't ready to give up on his comeback. 

Morse, sidelined by a hamstring injury, said he will continue to rehab with the organization, with the plan of eventually going to Triple-A and working his way up to the big leagues. Morse hasn't played since getting hurt March 20 in Glendale. He was initially given a two-to-three week diagnosis, but because he wants to let the strain heal completely, he anticipates missing closer to a full month. 

Morse said he's on the same page with general manager Bobby Evans. He will get healthy at the minor league facility in Scottsdale.

"I'll then go to Triple-A and play games and figure it out from there," he said. "I'm going to get healthy and play some games and if that point the team is 20-0, I know I probably won't get called up. If they need me, that'd be great."

The Giants are hopeful it works out. Before getting hurt, Morse had three spring homers and was in position to make the opening day roster. Without Morse, the Giants are light on right-handed power options for the bench.

 

Giants spring training Day 40: Belt continues domination of Rockies' home park

Giants spring training Day 40: Belt continues domination of Rockies' home park

BELT RIVER FIELDS, Ariz. — Earlier this spring, Brandon Belt moved his schedule around so he could get additional at-bats. That led to some random trips across the desert, but there was never any doubt Belt would be in Friday’s road lineup.

Belt demolishes the ball at Salt River Fields, spring home of the Rockies and Diamondbacks. After coming out of Friday’s win, he shook his head in mock disgust when talking about the day’s stats.

“One for four, you’ve gotta be kidding me,” Belt said. “That’s terrible.”

That one happened to be a homer, a three-run shot off Jon Gray, the likely opening day starter for the Rockies. Belt thought he crushed the ball but it ended up pretty high, so it simply dropped onto the berm in right. 

“It squeaked out,” Belt said. “Good mojo, I guess.”

The mojo kept his remarkable run going at Salt River. His updated career stats here: 22 for 35, with eight homers, four doubles, one triple and 18 RBI. Belt said he’s not quite sure why he turns into the flames emoji every time he steps onto this field. 

“I don’t know what it is, but I like hitting here,” he said. “Maybe it’s the batter’s eye?”

Salt River has a dark green batter’s eye with no distractions on either side, and the Giants certainly saw the ball well Friday. They had seven straight hits in the third before Gray was pulled with a sore foot. Belt hit second, and manager Bruce Bochy said that wasn’t simply because Joe Panik had the day off. Bochy will look at several different lineup permutations over the next week, and a Span/Belt/Pence/Posey/Crawford one-through-five is one option. 

“I like (that spot) a lot,” Belt said. “I feel good getting started and knowing I’ll get to bat in the first inning. It’s a good spot. I don’t think my approach changes that much: Get a pitch to hit and try to hit it hard.”

GAME RECAP: Jeff Samardzija was sharp in four innings, allowing just two hits and striking out three. He threw about 45 pitches on the field and then went down to the bullpen for 45 more. Samardzija certainly benefited from having Buster Posey back in the lineup. He said Posey noticed during warmups that Samardzija’s delivery was a little flat and his arm was dragging too low. 

“That doesn’t happen often,” Samardzija said of having a guy like Posey back there. “You have a lot of catchers who are afraid to say something.”

The rest of this one was a laugher until the ninth, when the Rockies rallied and brought the winning run to the plate. It hasn’t been a great spring for the bullpen.

STOCK WATCH: Chris Marrero hit a deep homer, his seventh of the spring. He also made a nice pick at first, where he looks much more comfortable. At this point, it appears it’s either Marrero or Kelby Tomlinson for that final bench spot.

TRAINER’S ROOM: The news on Will Smith was as expected. He will have Tommy John surgery next week. 

There is good news for Trevor Brown: The catcher, who has a sore ankle, took some swings and he’s feeling much better. Brown did not, as first reported, get hurt hiking on an off day. It happened during a game. Brown won’t be ready in time to return to Cactus League action, so he’ll likely stay here during the Bay Bridge Series and then travel home with Triple-A Sacramento. 

ICYMI: Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey and Mark Melancon are back in camp. Here’s a story on Posey’s WBC experience, with the catcher saying he’d like to play again in four years. Here’s Crawford on his month, which ended with him giving an NL West rival a slump-busting bat. 

ROSTER UPDATE: The Giants released David Hernandez, at his request. They have started to tell others that they’re not making the opening day roster, so there should be a series of minor transactions this weekend. (You know where to go.)

QUOTABLE: "I swung at a heater and a slider went right into my bat. I was happy to be able to track (pitches), and happy that the next time the bunt didn't go off my beautiful face." -- Samardzija, when asked about his double off the wall.