Giants

EXTRA BAGGS: Burriss tweaks hamstring

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EXTRA BAGGS: Burriss tweaks hamstring

GOODYEAR, Ariz. Emmanuel Burriss started in right fieldWednesday because Nate Schierholtzs strained right forearm needed one more dayto rest up.

But now its Burriss who might need some time to heal.

His terrific spring was interrupted in the fourth inningwhen he spoke up and said his right hamstring was a little tight. JustinChristian replaced him in right field.

Ive got a good thing going, said Burriss, who has a .417average. Might as well speak up if you dont feel right. Ive played a lot ofinnings. Its nothing at all serious.

Burriss was clearly not pleased to be battling an injury,however minor. Remember, this is the guy who re-broke his foot in the firstgame of the spring two years ago. It happened here at Goodyear Ballpark, too.

You couldnt blame Burriss if he never wants to step in thisballpark again.

Burriss, who has no minor league options remaining, isexpected to make the club especially if Freddy Sanchez begins the year on theDL as expected.

We dont want to take any chances, Giants manager Bruce Bochysaid. We took him out there and see how hes doing tomorrow. It wasnt worththe risk.

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The other day, Bochy said there was no separation betweenAubrey Huff, Brandon Belt and Brett Pill. Left unsaid: Pill has been thequietest among the bunch in recent days.

Not anymore.

Pill crushed a no-doubt, three-run home run off Kevin Sloweyto power the Giants to a 5-3 victory. The shot to left field came after BusterPosey singled and Belt walked.

He kind of lost it there for a couple days but he threw outa good at-bat, Bochy said. Theyre all good players. It wont be easydeciding which way well go. Its what you want to see guys doing what they need to do.

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The most undecided competition in camp is backup catcher, although Chris Stewart continues to throw well. The Indians Asdrubal Cabrera got ahuge jump on Surkamp in the fifth inning, but Stewart came up throwing, got offa rapid throw and it was on target to throw him out.

Bochy said its a total tossup between Stewart and EliWhiteside. If management came to him now and demanded a decision, he wouldntbe able to provide one.

Hector Sanchez, by the way, was 2 for 2 to boost his averageto .480. He also appeared to tweak his groin after sliding into second base,but trainers checked him and he stayed in the game.

Ive said it before, but I think Sanchez should break withthe club to give the Giants a nice switch-hitting bat off the bench, as well asa third catcher for additional coverage behind Posey at least for the firstweek of the season. When Ryan Vogelsong or Freddy Sanchez gets activated, assumingone or both begins on the DL, then you can option Hector back to be theeveryday guy and get more experience at Triple-A Fresno.

Why not just make Sanchez the backup catcher? Well, the Giants feel he still has a lot of work to do to improve behind the plate. And he won't be able to do that while sitting on the bench.

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Javier Lopez and Santiago Casilla both threw scorelessinnings. Neither pitcher has allowed a run this spring. Casilla was a littleout of sorts at times, though. Hector Sanchez had to block a number of 54-footbreaking balls.

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I was riffing with Tim Lincecum this morning about entrancemusic and hes going to stay with Electric Feel by MGMT. Its become one ofhis trademarks and he says it gets him pumped up without getting overly amped. It just seems to fit him right.

Lincecum will take on Jamie Moyer and the Rockies onThursday night. I wonder what music Moyer will pick from his era -- baroque or romantic?

Pence chases Span home in win over Phillies: 'That's Hunter being Hunter'

Pence chases Span home in win over Phillies: 'That's Hunter being Hunter'

SAN FRANCISCO — Denard Span has played enough center field at AT&T Park that he knew not to assume anything when Jarrett Parker crushed a ball to dead center. Span, standing on second, held up for a second to make sure the ball got over Nick Williams. Hunter Pence, standing on first, had a better view, and he took off with the crack of the bat. As Pence approached Span, he tried to yell over the crowd. 

“Go!” Pence yelled.

Span didn’t hear him. 

“I just felt him,” he said later, smiling. 

Span raced around third and Pence roared up on his back like the third sprinter in a 4x100 relay trying to hand off a baton. Span crossed first and Pence was inches behind him, stretching the lead to three runs. 

“It’s one of those plays that’s a little weird but it worked out,” Pence said. 

Jeff Samardzija, the pitcher of record in a 5-4 win over the Phillies, said Pence “was on a mission.” Span said simply, “That’s Hunter being Hunter.”

“I knew he was right on my heels,” he said. “I was trying to run as fast as I could. In my defense, he had a running start. It was fun, though, it was fun. I’ve never had anyone chasing me like that on the bases.”

The moment brought some levity to a season that’s been lacking it. Span laughed as he crossed the plate and the dugout was full of smiles and jokes as the two returned. But on a grander scale, it was a reminder of what Pence has been and what the Giants need him to be if they are to recover from this season. Pence is signed for 2018 at a hefty price. The odds are good that he'll be in right field, so it’s been a relief for coaches and team officials to see Pence pick it up in recent weeks. 

Pence had a hit and two walks on Thursday, scoring two runs and driving in another. He is batting .346 in August. 

“He has just been making more consistent contact and staying in the strike zone more,” manager Bruce Bochy said. 

That has led to better results at the plate, and Pence has provided reminders that the physical skills are still there. After going 0-for-AT&T Park in the first half he hit a couple of homers on the last homestand. Statcast’s Sprint Speed shows that Pence is actually running faster at his top speed than in the past couple of years, when he battled injuries. Pence is at 28.2 feet per second this year, a tick up from 28.1 each of the past two seasons. 

“Baseball goes in waves,” he said. “I’ve had some tough stretches, but right now I’m in a stretch where I’m going better and I’m still trying to improve.”

On Thursday, he pushed a teammate to run just a little faster. But perhaps Pence’s good friend deserves some credit for Span’s speed, too. After stealing his fifth base a few days back, Buster Posey started needling Span. The leadoff hitter has three stolen bases in seven games since that point, getting to eight for the year. 

“He was just talking too much trash,” Span said of Posey. 

Span said Posey mentioned their equal stolen base totals two or three times. He didn’t respond because he couldn’t. Now, he has bragging rights again, and he’s enjoying it. 

“Check the tapes,” Span said as reporters started to walk away from his locker. “I think I’ve got a stolen base off of him.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants fight off Phillies for victory

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants fight off Phillies for victory

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — In a battle of the National League’s two worst teams, the Giants struck first. 

The lineup jumped out to an early lead and the new-look bullpen took it home in a 5-4 win over the visiting Phillies. The Giants scored five runs off budding ace Aaron Nola, and Mark Melancon, Hunter Strickland and Sam Dyson shut it down in the final three innings, in that (new) order. 

What a recipe for a victory. They should try that more often, in my opinion. Anyway, here are five things you should know … 

—- Hunter Pence and Denard Span combined for a funny moment in the three-run fifth. Span held up on Jarrett Parker’s ball off the wall and then took off from second; Pence had been on first, and he ran right up Span’s back as they approached the plate. Span heard him coming. He was laughing as he scored. 

—- With those runs, the Giants became the first team since June 16 to score more than two runs off Nola. The 2017 Giants are weird. 

—- Span stole second before scoring in the fifth. He has three stolen bases in seven games since Buster Posey’s mini run-of-speed. Posey had been talking trash to the leadoff hitter. 

—- Jeff Samardzija got the win, but this wasn’t one he’ll remember fondly. He needed a slick Tomlinson-Crawford double play to help get through the sixth. Samardzija was charged with four earned on eight hits.

—- Cameron Rupp flipped his bat when he hit a rocket off Samardzija in the fifth. It for sure looked like a premature bat-flip, but the ball kept carrying and landed in the arcade section above Triples Alley. Cameron Rupp is right-handed. That’s an absolute blast for a right-hander in a night game at AT&T Park. I don’t know where he would play but the Giants should trade for him.