EXTRA BAGGS: Flashbacks for Jonathan Sanchez, etc.

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EXTRA BAGGS: Flashbacks for Jonathan Sanchez, etc.

BOX SCORE

DENVER Jonathan Sanchez walked two and threw a wild pitchin a two-run first inning, but he might have fared the best among the Rockiespitchers to take the mound in Fridays 16-4 loss to the Giants.

The only batter he faced that was a 2010 World Seriesteammate was Buster Posey, and even the two of them did not work together forvery long.

Poseys impressions?

I guess you always wonder when you catch a guy what itd belike to face him, said Posey, who walked and singled against Sanchez. And youknow, his stuffs still pretty good. Hes struggling with command a little bit,but the stuff looks pretty good.

Sanchez hasnt fared well in any of his three starts sincethe pitching-poor Rockies picked him up from the Kansas City Royals. But hesbeen a cool customer with the reporters.

Nothing was wrong, Sanchez said. I just need to be moreaggressive.

It's hard to believe, since 2010 wasn't that long ago. But the other starters in the Giants lineup were all new to Sanchez. Angel Pagan was with the Mets in 2010, Ryan Theriot was with the Cubs and Dodgers, Melky Cabrera was with the Braves, Hunter Pence was with the Astros, Marco Scutaro was with the Red Sox and Brett Pill was a non-roster guy at Triple-A Fresno. That leaves Joaquin Arias, who was in Frisco -- and I know better than to make that reference to the City by the Bay. Arias was actually in Frisco, Texas, rehabbing his elbow for the Texas Rangers' Double-A affiliate.

It never ceases to amaze me how paths diverge and intersect in this game.

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I asked Posey about swinging at a 3-0 pitch when the Giantsheld a six-run lead in the eighth inning. (He fouled it off, and stroked athree-run homer on the next offering.)

Some enforcers of baseballs unwritten rules would say thatPosey committed a faux pas. Then again, those rules dont usually apply atCoors Field.

I dont think so, Posey said. You see how they scoredfour runs quickly the previous inning.

You cant blame Posey for swinging at anything that looksgood. Hes hitting .463 with five home runs and 22 RBIs since the All-Starbreak.

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Ryan Vogelsong said his time on the bases didnt tire himout in the seventh inning, when his one-hit shutout quickly vanished amid thatfour-run outburst.

But Vogelsong was rocksteady yet again. His quality-startsstreak ended at 16 but hes now 20-for-20 completing six innings. Theres nominimizing how important that is to the Giants, particularly in the first gameof a three-game series at Coors Field.

Its a tough place to pitch, Vogelsong said. The balldoesnt always do what you want it to do. I was just trying to keep them offthe board as long as I could. Just start strong, hold strong and not make ourguys play catch-up.

Vogelsong said he adjusted for his curveball at altitude bytaking something off it and trying to throw it down in the zone. Some pitcherswould just scrap the curve. Vogelsong kept mixing as best he could.

His biggest pitch of the night was the bases-loaded,double-play grounder he got from Jordan Pacheco to end the fourth inning.

What was the pitch?

Curveball, he said.

And right there, you begin to understand why Vogelsong has found a way to compete. Every single time he's taken the mound.

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Hey, what about Vogelsongs first extra-base hit of theseason?

Every squirrel finds a nut, he said, smirking.

This squirrel was a shortstop at Kutztown University, sobelieve me, he was not happy about that .056 average he dragged into the game.

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Hunter Pence got his first hit as a Giant out of the way,which must be a relief. Its also no small relief for the team to win in anoffensive hailstorm. Its hard enough when youre on the schneid with your newteam. Its even harder when nobody else is hitting around you. So this resultshould help Pence settle in, Id imagine.

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Melky Cabrera really hit the ground hard on his slide intothird base in the seventh inning. He was replaced shortly after that. But Bochysaid Cabrera was fine, and should be ready to go Saturday.

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I am not sure if I feel sympathy or empathy for Rockiesmanager Jim Tracy. What the hell, why not go with both?

The Rockies have to find a way to play two months ofbaseball with almost no starting pitching. Theyd already gone to a four-manrotation out of desperation, holding their starters to 75-pitch limits. Thatsa recipe to destroy a bullpen if Ive ever heard one.

Now theres bad news concerning their starter for Sunday, ChristianFriedrich. He tried to throw in the bullpen on Friday and couldnt. An MRIshowed a stress fracture in his back. Hes done for the year.

The Rockies have no idea who will start on Sunday. If theyschedule an open tryout, Ill be sure to let you know.

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Congratulations to Chinas Dong Dong, who won the Gold medalin Trampoline. Its only been pointed out to me about 100 times today. Thanks.All you Dong fans are so helpful.

Former Giant Kevin Frandsen expressed outrage on Twitterthat trampoline is a medal sport while neither baseball nor softball aresanctioned any longer. Kevin, I am with you, brother.

Giants spring training Day 42: Blach still in the fifth starter mix

Giants spring training Day 42: Blach still in the fifth starter mix

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Ty Blach is the young one in the race to be the fifth starter, but on Sunday he sounded like a veteran. Asked if he has gotten a hint one way or the other about his opening day role, Blach smiled.

“I’m just taking it day-by-day and trying to get better,” Blach said. “I’m enjoying the process and having fun.”

Smooth. 

Those days are adding up to a nice spring for Blach, the left-hander trying to unseat Matt Cain. While Bruce Bochy didn’t shed any additional light on the current lean, team officials hinted Sunday that this is not as open-and-shut as it seems. Matt Cain, who will start Tuesday, looked like a lock to be the fifth starter a week ago, but the Giants are considering all options because they have an off day during the first week and two more shortly thereafter. 

“We’ve had discussions every day,” Bochy said. “We’ve got some tough calls.”

The Giants are expected to announce their official rotation when they return home for the Bay Bridge Series. Whether he’s starting, long-relieving, or pitching in a completely new role, Blach has certainly done all he can to make sure he’s in the big leagues on April 2. He gave up two runs over six innings Sunday, walking one and striking out one while giving up seven hits. Blach has allowed 10 runs in 20 1/3 innings this spring, but four of those came when he was ambushed coming out of the bullpen one day.

“Wherever I’ll be, I know I’ll be in a good spot,” Blach said. “I’m just looking forward to getting the season rolling.

After pitching out of the bullpen most of the spring, Blach got his pitch count up to 85 on Sunday. 

“We’ve gotten him stretched out,” Bochy said. “That’s a solid, solid job. We’ve got guys stretched out where you want them. We’ve got some flexibility. We’ll see as we get close here which way we’ll go.”

POSITION BATTLES: The Giants will carry a backup for Denard Span, and for about a month it looked like Gorkys Hernandez would be that guy. But Hernandez has slumped so badly this spring that he went over the minor league facility Sunday to get a ton of extra at-bats, and Justin Ruggiano has emerged, reaching base in nine of his last 16 plate appearances. The plan a few days back was for Ruggiano to go to Sacramento and get 50 or so at-bats to see where he’s at, but this is another race that could change in the coming week. 

Cory Gearrin has done his part to hold off any charging relievers, throwing two sharp innings while going back-to-back for the first time this spring. 

FAMILIAR FACES: A rough day for a couple of longtime Giants. Ehire Adrianza and Gregor Blanco both have oblique injuries, hurting their odds of breaking with the Twins and Diamondbacks, respectively. Elsewhere, David Hernandez showed that he made a smart decision asking for his release. He was signed by the Braves. 

AROUND CAMP: Hunter Pence really does do all he can to make every single teammate feel welcome in the clubhouse. He spent some time with young right-hander Roberto Gomez on Sunday morning, learning a few Spanish phrases. When the players went out to warm up, Pence threw with Jae-Gyun Hwang. These are small gestures, but for the new guys, they matter. 

BARRY’S BACK: We all knew Barry Bonds would step into the cage at some point, and on a quiet Sunday morning, there he was. Bonds, 52, took about five or six easy hacks before crushing one out to deep right. He’s still got it. The other day, reporters asked Bonds if he could suit up in the WBC if asked. He said he can absolutely still hit, but he would need to DH and he would need a day or two off before games. Being a big league hitter is not easy, even if he always made it look that way.

 

Bonds dusts off swing, cracks home run during BP in Giants' camp

Bonds dusts off swing, cracks home run during BP in Giants' camp

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants knew Barry Bonds would step back into the box at some point. It happened Sunday, with Bonds taking a few cracks at BP pitches from Gary Davenport.

Bonds warmed up with a couple of lighter swings and then blasted a homer to deep right. That was enough, as the 52-year-old walked away with a big smile on his face. 

Bonds is in camp as a special instructor, and he still picks his spots to show off his legendary swing. When he was the Marlins' hitting coach last season, he beat slugger Giancarlo Stanton in an impromptu home run derby.