EXTRA BAGGS: Otero has a fan in Romo


EXTRA BAGGS: Otero has a fan in Romo

PHOENIX -- Sergio Romo struck out 70 batters and walked fivelast season. One of those walks was intentional. So when it comes to throwingstrikes, youd figure he would be tough to impress.

But Romo loves everything about Dan Otero. The other day,Romo was gushing over the fact that Otero went through his first pro seasonwithout issuing a single walk.

Eh, it was short-season ball, said Otero, who pitched in22 games with zero walks for Salem-Keizer in 2007.

I dont care where you are, Romo said. Thats amazing.

No debating that, I thought. Even if you paint like Seurat,you still have to pitch around a hitter from time to time. Or youll be askedto walk someone intentionally.

So what happened in Oteros major league debut Saturday? Hewas asked to walk someone intentionally.

Figures, right? Romo said.

Oteros debut was no mop-up appearance. He entered in thefifth inning of a competitive, 4-2 game. He had to face Justin Upton, MiguelMontero and Chris Young the heart of Arizonas order.

He started out impressive enough, striking out Upton onthree pitches, the last one freezing him.

Heater, heater, heater thank you! was how Romo describedit.

But Otero was not perfect. Montero whistled a single off Oteros leg andYoung doubled him in. Otero came back to strike out Paul Goldschmidt, and afterthe intentional walk (to Jason Kubel), shortstop Brandon Crawford made a niftyplay up the middle on John McDonald.

Then Otero went back out for a scoreless sixth.

That run in the fifth ended up being Arizona's margin of victory, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy felt good about what Otero accomplished in his debut. And he had no hesitation about putting the 27-year-old Duke graduate in a big-time situation.

This spring he showed great poise out there, Bochy said. Hes got great confidence. Thats why he made the club.

Otero received a game-used ball from Ryan Vogelsong. He leftwith one other souvenir, colored black and blue.

I threw strikes and took a ball off my calf, Otero said.So hey, great.

Otero is wearing No.87. Ill have to ask Bochy if he'll bring himin as a slot receiver on third-down situations.

Turns out that Otero has to wear his spring training numberuntil the league approves a change. The Giants eventually plan to give himNo.37, which was Chris Stewarts old number.

I cant see the back of my jersey, so Im not too concernedabout it, Otero said.

The Giants must send back a pitcher in another week whenVogelsong is ready to come off the DL. Barring an injury, it figures to beOtero. But for now, hes enjoying his chance.

Dan Runzler told me he is feeling good about his progress from hisstrained lat muscle in his upper back, which he aggravated in early March.

Runzler said he is back to throwing bullpens with no issues.One or two more sessions and hell face hitters in extended spring.

Ill see how my arm bounces back from that, and hopefullyby the end of the month, I can start a rehab assignment, said Runzler, whoexpects to get an appearance or two at Single-A San Jose before graduating toTriple-A Fresno.

If it comes down to missing a month, thats not that bad,Runzler said.

Buster Poseys 14-game hitting streak is no more. Blame mefor mentioning it to him before the game, if you must.

Now Ill go find a phone number for Magglio Ordonez, who isin semi-retirement and sitting on his couch, and ask him if he knows hes gotan 18-game streak going.

In case you missed it Friday, the Giants announced that theyhave canceled Angel Villalonas option to Single-A San Jose and placed him onthe restricted list again.

Since Villalona has been unable to acquire a visa yet, weare cancelling his option to San Jose, Giants VP Bobby Evans said via textmessage. He has been placed on the major league restricted list while we awaitfurther updates on his visa status. He will continue his baseball work at ourcomplex in the (Dominican Republic).

The Giants roster is officially at 39 now, meaning theyhave a vacancy if they need to purchase infielder Joaquin Arias contract or addanother pitcher (Yusmeiro Petit, for example) who isnt on the 40-man.

Everyone has their pet peeves. One of mine is when a batterdraws a walk and an announcer says, That was a good at-bat.

Well, no. Technically, it was a plate appearance, not anat-bat.

Brandon Belt had a good plate appearance in the seventhinning, when he drew a leadoff walk. But so far, the hard contact has eludedhim and hes getting pitched to the scouting reports: fastballs in and offspeedaway.

Its up to him to make an adjustment. Toward the end of thespring, he said he wanted the opportunity to make those adjustments in the bigleagues. Hes getting that chance now.

Through two games, Belt has four strikeouts and one hit in eight at-bats.

Brandon Crawford doesnt have a hit in two games, which isnot cause for alarm. The only concern, really, is if he gets concerned andstarts pressing. You also wonder if his sprained thumb is bothering him at theplate.

Crawford did make one hard out to center field, though.

Lets see what happens in the series finale against JoshCollmenter. Thats quite a dip from the likes of Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson.

Meanwhile the Giants send Matt Cain to the mound. Under anycircumstances, theyll feel good about doing that.

Unhappy Buster Posey bashes Phillies closer after hit-by-pitch

Unhappy Buster Posey bashes Phillies closer after hit-by-pitch

In what was set up to be a pivotal matchup of the game turned into a heated exchange.

Buster Posey stepped into the batter's box in the bottom of the eighth inning Sunday against Phillies closer Hector Neris.

But Posey never got to swing the bat. On the first pitch, Neris drilled the Giants catcher in the ribs with a 95 MPH fastball.

Posey whinced in pain and as he walked to first base, he appeared to ask Neris if the pitch was on purpose.

After the game, Posey was asked about the kerfuffle.

"I'm pretty certain he hit me on purpose. And it's just a shame because I wanted to compete that at-bat and he's got good stuff. But I guess he didn't feel like he couldn't get me out," Posey told reporters after the game.

Posey was asked if he could think of any incidents in previous games against the Phillies that could have led to the hit-by-pitch. He said no and asked the reporters if they could think of anything.

Posey's comments were brought to Neris after the game.

"It's stupid because nobody who watched that said, 'Oh he hit him on purpose in that situation,'" Neris told reporters, according to the Philly Inquirer.

Posey and Neris have faced each other just one time in the past. In the ninth inning of the June 3 matchup in Philadelphia, Posey flew out to left field.

Strickland hammered by Phils, Giants officially eliminated from NL West contention

Strickland hammered by Phils, Giants officially eliminated from NL West contention


SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner pitched six innings in one of his best starts this season, took a line drive off his left shin and hit an RBI single that temporarily gave the Giants an early lead.

The reward? A heaping of praise from manager Bruce Bochy, handshakes from his teammates and another no-decision - Bumgarner's third in eight starts since coming off the disabled list.

Philadelphia rookie Rhys Hoskins homered again, Pedro Florimon contributed with his bat and arm, and the Phillies scored three runs in the eighth to beat the Giants 5-2 on Sunday.

In what has been a theme for San Francisco much of the season, Bumgarner's efforts were overshadowed by another meltdown from the Giants' bullpen.

"I thought it was a good day for Madison," Bochy said. "We had it lined up like we wanted as far as the bullpen. (Hunter Strickland) just had an off day making some mistakes."

Bumgarner allowed one run and four hits. He stayed in despite taking a sharp line drive off his left shin in the second inning by Nick Williams - earlier this month, Williams hit Mets ace Jacob deGrom in the triceps with a line drive, forcing him from the game.

"I tried to do a kick save but I wasn't very good at soccer," Bumgarner said. "It almost worked out."

Hoskins connected for a solo drive in the ninth inning, making him the first Phillies player in at least 100 years to hit five home runs in his first 11 major league games.

"I got to better counts, I think this week, and the results show," Hoskins said.

Florimon hit a two-run single off Strickland (2-3) to cap a three-run eighth inning that made it 4-2. Florimon also had an RBI double off Bumgarner in the second, then made a sparkling defensive play in left field to throw out Buster Posey at the plate in the bottom of the inning.

It was Florimon's first major league game in left field.

"I just try to catch the ball and throw the ball to home plate and see what happens," Florimon said. "I made a good throw."

Adam Morgan (2-1) retired three batters for the win, a day after throwing just one pitch and getting the victory.

Hector Neris pitched 1 1/3 innings for his 15th save. He struck out Pablo Sandoval with the bases loaded to end the eighth after hitting Posey in the back with a pitch, then fanned Denard Span with two on in the ninth to end it.

The Phillies won the season series against the Giants for the first time since 2011.

Philadelphia trailed 2-1 going into the eighth. Hoskins and Maikel Franco hit consecutive one-out singles before Jorge Alfaro tied it with an RBI single. After Williams singled to load the bases, Florimon slapped a 1-2 pitch into right field.

Posey had two hits and an RBI, extending his hitting streak against the Phillies to 22 games. Kelby Tomlinson scored a run and Ryder Jones doubled and scored for San Francisco.

Posey had a rough afternoon physically. In addition to taking a 95 mph fastball in the back, Posey also appeared to get hurt while tagging out a sliding Cameron Perkins at the plate in the second.

Afterward, the Giants' All-Star catcher voiced his displeasure about Neris.

"I'm certain that he hit me on purpose," Posey said. "It's just a shame because I wanted to compete that at-bat and he's got good stuff. But I guess he didn't feel like he could get me out."

Giants 2B Joe Panik (concussion symptoms) continues to make steady progress and could come off the disabled list in time to join San Francisco on its upcoming road trip that begins Friday in Arizona.

Phillies: The team gets an off day before hosting Miami in a doubleheader Tuesday. RHP Dan Straily (7-8, 3.80 ERA) pitches in the first game and RHP Jose Urena (11-5, 3.61 ERA) goes in the nightcap.

Giants: RHP Chris Stratton (1-2, 4.91) faces Milwaukee on Monday.