Giants

Cain, Sandoval involved in scary moments during live BP

683170.jpg

Cain, Sandoval involved in scary moments during live BP

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Buster Posey faced live pitching for thefirst time since mid-May, but that joyous event was interrupted by two veryscary moments Sunday.

Matt Cain was struck in the leg and toppled to the groundafter Hector Sanchez sent a line drive screaming up the middle. Cain shook itoff and continued his session, then a trainer accompanied him to the clubhouse.A few minutes later, Jeremy Affeldt lost the handle on apitch and struck Pablo Sandoval in the ribs, knocking the Kung Fu Panda to the dirt.He stayed down for a moment but dusted himself off and continued his round.

See? I dont throw hard, Affeldt said, after checking tomake sure Sandoval was OK.Sandoval smiled as he dug back into the box. Affeldt onlyhad to throw two practice pitchouts to end his session.Now, dont be swinging, Affeldt said.Affeldt pitched with an L screen to protect him fromcomebackers. Cain didnt employ the screen as he faced Sandoval, Melky Cabrera,Nate Schierholtz and Aubrey Huff. Sanchez, who nearly won a batting title inthe Venezuelan League, hit the only ball hard off Cain.Cain didnt appear injured as he finished his session withpractice pitchouts. He also saw fit to give Sandoval some ribbing over hishyper-aggressive tendencies.You want to hit that one, dont you? said Cain, afterthrowing one well outside.Yeah, Ill hit that, Sandoval said.That sort of banter is typical of the first day of live BP,when teammates get the rare chance to face each other. Its a day that Poseyhad circled for months while rehabbing from three torn ankle ligaments and abroken left leg. He hadnt seen live pitching since May 25, when he was injuredin a home-plate collision.Posey caught Cain and then replaced Sanchez in the group tohit against Affeldt. He saw a total of 15 pitches from Affeldt and Sergio Romo,swung eight times and didnt miss once. Although he managed just foul balls anda couple of soft grounders in his early cuts, Posey ended the session againstRomo with an apparent ground-rule double to right-center, then a crisp linedrive to left field.Live BP is continuing with other pitchers. Barry Zito andGuillermo Mota were in the first group on the back field, where they are facingmostly minor leaguers. Tim Lincecum is not facing hitters because he threw aside session on Saturday. Pitching coach Dave Righetti said it went well andLincecum should be back on schedule soon; he had been set back because hemissed a bullpen session last week because of some minor back stiffness.One other morning note: Pat Burrell arrived in camp, thoughnot in an official coaching capacity. He said hes done playing, but hasntfiled the official retirement paperwork. Truth be told, he said he didntrealize he needed to file anything. But rest assured, the Bats baseballplaying days are over.

Madison Bumgarner, Gorkys Hernandez make statements in win over Dodgers

mad-gorkys-us.jpg
USATSI

Madison Bumgarner, Gorkys Hernandez make statements in win over Dodgers

LOS ANGELES — A 2-1 victory Saturday night at Dodger Stadium all but assured that the Giants will not lose 100 games. They still could, sure, because any sort of downslide is possible in this 2017 season, but they would really have to finish with some sort of ugly stretch. 

Still, it’s been a long season, so it was no surprise when Madison Bumgarner admitted to some sleepless nights since Opening Day. As for Saturday night …

“It’s going to be much easier to go to sleep tonight, because we won,” Bumgarner said.

The big lefty did the heavy lifting, throwing 7 2/3 dominant innings and offering one more reminder that his shoulder is 100 percent fine after a season-halting dirt bike accident. Bumgarner topped out at 93.5 mph, and even though Bruce Bochy thought Dodger Stadium might have had a hot gun on this night, the swings told the story of a good fastball. Bumgarner said this was as good as he has felt in a while. 

“He did look strong,” Bochy said. “He did have really good stuff tonight. It was really crisp.”

It was the kind of night that reminds you that, for all their issues, the Giants will start 2018 with a leg up on many others. They have Madison Bumgarner and you don’t, and that should lead to plenty of good over the course of 32 or 33 starts. 

“I think it’s good for the club to know, hey, he’s back,” Bochy said. “This is the kind of ball we can play.”

It was the brand Bochy appreciates: A strong start, a good bullpen, strong defense, and just enough offense. That’s how the Giants will win in 2018, if they are to do so, which bodes well for the man at the center of Saturday’s offense. The Giants plan to move Denard Span to left field and acquire a new center fielder, but they still lack depth in the organization, and Gorkys Hernandez has made it clear he would like to stick around. He had three hits — including two doubles — and a walk, scoring both Giants runs. 

After a slow start that almost got him released, Hernandez took off over the summer, providing a high average and sparkling defense at three spots. A left wrist tendon issue has slowed him in September, but he surprised the staff by being available for the final two weeks of games, and he said he’ll play through the end of the year before considering any rehab options 

“He certainly has made a statement,” Bochy said. “He’s one of our better athletes. He can play anywhere in the outfield, and what’s impressive is how he’s come on with the bat. A kid like this that plays defense the way he can, and shows he can do some things with the bat, he’s in the mix.”

Hernandez said he loves playing in San Francisco. He intends to spend his offseason getting healthy at his home in Scottsdale before competing for an outfield job. 

“Every time Bochy puts me in the lineup I’m trying to show everyone that I can be here and that I can be part of this team for a long time,” he said. 

Giants lineup: Span back in center, batting third vs Dodgers

span-ap.jpg
AP

Giants lineup: Span back in center, batting third vs Dodgers

Even with the Giants facing a left-handed pitcher Saturday night vs. the Dodgers, Bruce Bochy is going with Denard Span as his three-hitter.

San Francisco Giants (60-94)

1. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Denard Span (L) CF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Hunter Pence (R) RF
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 3B
8. Ryder Jones (L) 1B
9. Madison Bumgarner (R) P

Los Angeles Dodgers (98-56)

1. Chris Taylor (R) CF
2. Corey Seager (L) SS
3. Enrique Hernandez (R) LF
4. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
5. Logan Forsythe (R) 3B
6. Austin Barnes (R) C
7. Kyle Farmer (R) 1B
8. Charlie Culberson (R) 2B
9. Hyun-Jin Ryu (R) P