Clubhouse comic Theriot misses parade to handle personal matter

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Clubhouse comic Theriot misses parade to handle personal matter

SAN FRANCISCO -- It was one of the main themes that Hunter Pence touchedon during his first spirit session of the postseason.

Sure, he wanted to play one more game with his teammates,and he didnt want to go home. But he mentioned one more thing: I want to see whatJerry is going to wear tomorrow.

Jerry is second baseman Ryan Theriot -- apparently because hecalls everyone by that name in the clubhouse.

Unfortunately for Pence and his teammates, they didnt getto see Theriot at the World Series parade. He was the only member of theplayoff roster unable to attend because he was called away to deal with apersonal matter, Giants CEO Larry Baer said.

His absence was felt -- especially by teammates who werewondering how his victory parade getup would top the wild duds he wore allseason.

Heading to the park for Game 4 of the World Series, Theriotmatched a camel hair coat with a beanie.

It was beautiful, he said.

Shortstop Brandon Crawford could only shake his head.

Hell wear sort of plaid jacket that doesnt match hisshirt, Crawford said. He pulls it off somehow, though.

The Giants pulled off their second World Series in threeyears, and it was beyond fitting that Theriot scored the winning run in the 10thinning Sunday night. He was the designated hitter for the first time in hiscareer, leading to all kinds of guffaws from teammates when they saw thelineup.

As he stepped in the box in the 10th, Theriot hadno idea that Tigers left-hander Phil Coke had struck out all seven hitters hedfaced in the World Series.

Really? Wow, Theriot said. I just know I didnt want toget to the breaking ball. When I face a guy with a legitimate strikeout pitch,I think one pitch and thats what Im going with. It was a fastball up and Iput a good swing on it. I didnt want to get to the slider.

Theriot ripped the pitch into right field. It was just hissecond hit in 18 in World Series at-bats, counting last years experience withthe St. Louis Cardinals. He advanced on Crawfords sacrifice, and after Angel Paganstruck out, a vibe washed through the Giants dugout as Marco Scutaro stepped tothe plate.

Well, Theriot is always talking about how he scored thewinning run in the College World Series, Hunter Pence said. So when he got tosecond base, that lifted our spirits. When Scutaro was up to bat, we were all, 'It has to happen.' And it did.

Scutaro, the guy who took Theriots starting second base jobin August, got Cokes slider. He shot it to right field, as hes done so manytimes since joining the team from the Colorado Rockies.

A throw never came home. And Theriot became that kid from LSU adozen years ago. (Watch this if you care to compare.) He took no chances, slidinglike he was colliding with an imaginary pair of shinguards.

I didnt know it was necessary, Theriot said. But you've seen thehighlights when guys didnt slide. And I, 100 percent, was not going to letthat happen to me.

The dugout is going to erupt any time someone scores ago-ahead run in the 10th inning of a clinching World Series game.But it might have been a little more raucous because it was Theriot who scored it, roaringin a sumo wrestlers pose after flinging himself across the plate.

He was the Giants' daily comic relief -- the guy who wore muckboots to the shower, who dressed to impress and who started throwing sunflowerseeds, bubblegum and even protein bars during the pregame rally throngs.

Youve got to be careful, those bars are hard, Theriotsaid. I did think about getting a couple hundred bucks in 1s and making itrain. That was my plan. Didnt happen, though.

While were on the subject of dollars, it might be worthmentioning that Theriot is the answer to a trivia question: He was the Giantsmost expensive free-agent acquisition last winter, at 1.75 million. Thatsexactly 212.25 million less than what the Tigers gave Prince Fielder, who went1-for-14 in the World Series with no walks and four strikeouts. And its a lotless than the dead money the Dodgers absorbed to get Adrian Gonzalez from theRed Sox.

Its hard to pin a value on what Theriot provided to theseWorld Series champions Giants while winning his second ring in two seasons. Butthose who were around him every day understand what he was worth.

What Scutaro did all season is unbelievable but I dontthink people saw what Theriot did for us, Cain said. He was such an asset forus in the clubhouse. It wasnt an easy spot for him, but when we needed him, hestepped up. And now hes the DH and ends up scoring the deciding run. Thatsjust awesome.

Giants Notes: Span feeling better, hopes to return to lineup Wednesday

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Giants Notes: Span feeling better, hopes to return to lineup Wednesday

CHICAGO -- Joe Panik's leadoff homer in the series opener was a jolt, but the Giants are a much more dangerous offense when Denard Span is clicking atop the lineup, a spot ahead of Panik, and they hope to have that duo going Wednesday. Span got treatment all day Tuesday and said he could return to the lineup against Kyle Hendricks. 

"The swelling has gone down," Span said of his sprained left thumb. "The thing to do is to come in tomorrow, test it out, and if it feels good, you strap it on."

Span said an X-ray came back clean, but he didn't grab a bat Tuesday to test the thumb, focusing instead on treatment. He is batting .326 in nine games since coming off the DL. His replacement in center this week, Gorkys Hernandez, was 0-for-3 against Jon Lester, lowering his average to .160. 

--- The main story from the second game of this series: Johnny Cueto is now dealing with a second blister, and you can see the lack of movement on his pitches. The Cubs took advantage. Lester didn't need much help while throwing a 99-pitch complete game in two hours and five minutes. 

"He threw a lot more changeups than we've seen in the past," Buster Posey said. "He's shown it in the past but tonight he had good command of it. It wasn't just a show-me pitch. He used it a lot and threw it to lefties as well.

Posey twice grounded short rollers in front of the plate.

--- Posey's throw to nab Javy Baez on Monday was one of the best of the year, and on Tuesday afternoon, Bruce Bochy said, "If he's given a chance, I don't think there's anyone better in the game." That might be true, but Willson Contreras is threatening to get into the conversation. He threw an 85 mph rocket to second in the fifth to nab Eduardo Nuñez. If you're wondering how Lester -- who flat-out has the yips about throwing to first base and doesn't do it -- has allowed just six stolen bases this season, look no further than his young catcher. Long-term, Contreras is the guy I would expect to compete with Posey for Gold Gloves. 

"Nuney, with his speed, can go," Bochy said. "Their catcher made a great throw. Put it right on the money."

--- From before Tuesday's game, what do the relievers think of the new hidden bullpen at Wrigley? And if you missed the Power Rankings the other day, the records are outdated, but there are updates in here on old friends Matt Duffy, Chris Heston, Tommy Joseph, Adalberto Mejia, Yusmeiro Petit and others. Petit in particular is incredible ... just keeps doing his thing. 

--- This play was made by the shortstop. That's good for the old UZR.

Now dealing with a second blister, Cueto gives up three homers to Cubs

Now dealing with a second blister, Cueto gives up three homers to Cubs

CHICAGO — Even after losses, Johnny Cueto tends to find a way to flash a smile or two in post-game interviews. He is as competitive as it gets between the lines, but off the field he embraces a relaxed attitude. 

There was none of that Tuesday night at Wrigley. Cueto wore a dour look while describing a 4-1 loss to the Cubs, perhaps because he is a man searching for answers. Cueto was already pitching with a blister for the first time in his career. On Tuesday, he admitted he’s now trying to make the ball dance while dealing with a second blister. 

The first, on his middle finger, popped up at the end of the spring and has bothered Cueto off and on. The second, on his index finger, formed in St. Louis last week. 

“It’s not an excuse,” Cueto said several times. “I was getting hit.”

The Cubs crushed three homers, including a 470-foot bomb from Kyle Schwarber. All three pitches leaked right over the heart of the plate, and Cueto admitted that he can't get that final twist on the ball as he normally does. A tad of his movement is missing, and hitters are taking advantage. 

“It’s just those pitches I left hanging,” Cueto said through interpreter Erwin Higueros. “When you leave pitches hanging or put them right in the middle of the plate, you’re going to pay the price.”

The homers — by Schwarber, Jason Heyward and Anthony Rizzo — represented 60 percent of the hits Cueto gave up. He struck out eight in six innings.

“It’s a little unlike Johnny to make mistakes like that,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “You like to think you could make a mistake and get away with it, but he didn’t tonight. A couple of fastballs he pulled over the heart of the plate and then one cutter.”

Catcher Buster Posey said the Cubs were on Cueto’s heater, so the duo tried to adjust. You can’t pitch without your fastball, though, and Cueto’s isn’t quite as explosive as it was in his first year with the Giants. The velocity is down a couple of ticks, but it’s unclear if that too is related to the blisters. 

What is clear is that Cueto is a different pitcher in his second season in San Francisco. He has a 4.64 ERA and opposing hitters are batting .253 with 11 homers. Through 10 starts last year, Cueto had a 2.83 ERA and was holding hitters to a .229 average. He had allowed just two homers. 

“Gosh, it’s just probably a few more mistakes than he made last year,” Bochy said. “He’s still competing so well and he gives you a chance to win every game.”

Cueto made it through six despite the long-ball issues, but that wasn’t enough against Jon Lester, who would have faced Cueto in Game 5 last October. Lester needed just 99 pitches to carve up the Giants for a complete game. He threw 70 strikes. 

That’s the type of efficient performance the Giants came to expect from Cueto last year. Cueto still expects it from himself, but his fingers aren’t cooperating. Asked if he would take a short stint on the DL to get right, Cueto said he can’t. He needs to keep pitching and have callouses form. Plus, any break without throwing would be a significant blow to a team trying desperately to stay within shouting distance of a playoff spot. 

“Basically, it makes no sense whatsoever,” to take a break, Cueto said.