EXTRA BAGGS: Long drive for Bumgarner, but no contract drive (yet)

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EXTRA BAGGS: Long drive for Bumgarner, but no contract drive (yet)

Madison Bumgarner said the Giants havent approached him yet on his contract for this season.

But Im told the Giants would have interest in doing a multiyear deal with Bumgarner, which would provide some cost certainty through his arbitration years.

That cost certainty will be extremely important to determine what the Giants budget will be in the next few seasons. And that will be extremely important soon, when Tim Lincecums long-term future will become a topic again. The club will need to know how much they can afford to commit and still be able to field a team around him.

Bumgarner and Buster Posey are among the players with less than three years of service time. Players in this group can be assigned any salary above the league minimum. The deadline to complete this process is usually in early March.

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Bumgarner drove to spring training from his place in North Carolina, with his brother-in-law along for company. They did not make it a leisurely trip.

Two days, 35 hours you think its not that much fun, but we had a good time, he said.

They stopped one night in Weatherford, Okla., and the town was true to its name.

It was blowing snow the whole time, Bumgarner said. Going 35 the whole way through the panhandle

Yep, a good time was had by all.

-- Tim Lincecum threw fastballs and changeups in his bullpen session with Buster Posey. It was the third time Lincecum threw to Posey since they traveled to Arizona shortly after FanFest earlier this month.

We picked up where we left off, Lincecum said.

And thats good, since Lincecums last start with Posey was a three-hit shutout May 21 against the As.

Lincecum told a funny story about that start. He said he didnt feel he had the movement or location he wanted, but Posey kept encouraging him to trust his stuff. That faith made a difference.

I remember him after the last pitch, strike three, he gives me the ball, Lincecum said. And he said, Why arent you excited? I said I was still pissed because my stuff wasnt that good.

And pairing up together again Sunday? Its like having the old Posey back, Lincecum said.

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During Lincecums session with reporters, someone mentioned that Jamie Moyer, all of 49 years young, signed with the Colorado Rockies. That bit of news had slipped past Lincecum this offseason.

Holy moly, he said.

Moyer was among the Mariners players that Lincecum, a Seattle-area native, enjoyed watching as a kid.

Could Lincecum envision pitching in the big leagues at 49?

Ha ha ha! Lincecum said. No.

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John Bowker will forever be the answer to two trivia questions. The first: Who is the first Giant to homer in each of his first two big league games? (Bowker beat Brett Pill to it by three years.) The other: Who was the starting right fielder on opening day for the 2010 World Series champions?

OK, so Bowker didnt hold that job for long. But he absolutely made a contribution to the Giants title run. He went to Pittsburgh in what turned out to be a vitally important trade for left-hander Javier Lopez.

Bowker later ended up in Philly, and now hes back in a Giants uniform: A Tokyo Yomiuri Giants uniform, to be precise. Bowker signed with the Japanese League club earlier this month.

Giants spring training Day 9: Bumgarner, Melancon face hitters

Giants spring training Day 9: Bumgarner, Melancon face hitters

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Madison Bumgarner aims to get all 27 outs every time he takes the mound, but on Tuesday the coaching staff gave the ace a nice view of the man who will help out if his nights are cut short. 

Bumgarner threw his first live batting practice session of the spring on the main field at Scottsdale Stadium. Mark Melancon, the new closer, followed him. Both players said they felt good. Both also found things to work on in advance of opening day. 

“Strength-wise I felt pretty good, really good, actually,” Bumgarner said. “My command up in the zone was right where I want it. I’m pretty happy with that. My cutter was pretty straight, but that usually comes around pretty quick.”

Melancon didn’t even throw his go-to cutter, saying he usually pockets it until later in camp. He’s getting the feel for his curveball back because he doesn’t throw it until he reports. Like Bumgarner, Melancon said he’s where he needs to be physically.

“I feel really good,” he said. “In years past there has been some slowness but I don’t feel that this year. I’m right where I want to be.”

The Giants have not finalized a Cactus League rotation, but Bumgarner will likely throw an inning in Friday’s opener. Melancon could follow him, as he’ll throw in the early innings until late March. He said he’ll talk to pitching coach Dave Righetti about closing a game or two over the final days of camp so he can start locking his routine down. It’s probably a lock that he’ll close out that first Bay Bridge Series game back at AT&T Park. 

ICYMI: Here’s actual (shaky) footage of Bumgarner throwing today. At one point, he gave Denard Span a hard time for missing a slider that he was told was coming. Span had a good reason. “I didn't understand him when he said it because of his accent,” he said. 

ICYMI, PART II: The latest podcast is a couple of interviews with Derek Law and Josh Osich. Law explained how he ordered 800 chicken nuggets for his wedding. 

CUETO UPDATE: The Giants now expect Johnny Cueto to join camp this weekend. His status for the WBC is up in the air. Speaking of the WBC, trainer Dave Groeschner will be leaving camp on Feb. 27 to work with manager Hensley Meulens and the Netherlands. Bullpen catcher Taira Uematsu is also working with the team, which opens play in Seoul. Anthony Reyes will be head trainer while Groeschner is gone.

PROSPECT WATCH: Bruce Bochy said right-hander Ray Black was a standout during early live BP sessions. “He had a hell of an outing yesterday,” Bochy said. “They said he was really good.”   Black, 26, still throws 100-plus. He still has command issues, though, with 32 walks in 31 1/3 innings last year. If he can get over that hump and stay healthy, he might rocket to the big leagues.

QUOTABLE: After just about every start last season — most of which were dominant — Bumgarner said he wasn’t happy with his mechanics. He said Tuesday that he’s still searching for the perfect feeling. “I was being a perfectionist,” he said. “If you’re being a perfectionist, I really haven’t had (my mechanics) where I wanted the last couple of years. It’s not like it’s too far off, obviously.”

Johnny Cueto hopes to join Giants camp this weekend

Johnny Cueto hopes to join Giants camp this weekend

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Giants have been watching high-quality clips of Johnny Cueto all spring, even though the co-ace has remained in the Dominican Republic. On Monday, manager Bruce Bochy finally managed to get face-to-face with Cueto. Kind of. 

Cueto spoke to Bochy, trainer Dave Groeschner and others via FaceTime, and all involved finally managed to hammer out a schedule for Cueto’s arrival. Cueto has been in the Dominican Republic tending to his ill father, Domingo, but he is expected to arrive in Scottsdale this weekend. Cueto is working to secure a visa for his father, who will travel with him.

Bochy wanted to have a long discussion with Cueto to get a sense of how ready he’ll be for the World Baseball Classic. Cueto’s participation is still up in the air, and not just because he has missed the first week of camp. There is a chance, Bochy said, that Cueto will choose to stay in Scottsdale to continue taking care of his father. The Dominican Republic opens play in Miami on March 9.

“He said he knows he’s got to make a decision real soon regarding what he does,” Bochy said. “Pitching or not pitching, he’s got to let them know as soon as possible.”

Cueto has been throwing to hitters at a facility in Boca Chica. He threw a 45-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday.