EXTRA BAGGS: Posey stays out of harm's way, etc.


EXTRA BAGGS: Posey stays out of harm's way, etc.


SAN FRANCISCO The Giants knew in spring training thatBuster Posey would station himself well in front of the dish on plays at theplate.

They knew his ultra-conservative positioning would mean afew extra runs would score in 2012.

It was a bargain they were willing to make. As left-handerMadison Bumgarner said back in March, I agree with that 100 percent. One runsnot worth him missing the whole year again.

Posey has tried to stand out of harms way and execute swipetags all season. Hes had mixed success.

In the sixth inning on Saturday, he had no chance. Poseycaught the relay throw well before Hanley Ramirez arrived at the plate. ButPosey was stationed so deep in fair territory, there was no chance he couldreach back swiftly to record the out. The long arm of the law only extends sofar.

RECAP: Baggs' Instant Replay -- Dodgers 10, Giants 0

It cost Barry Zito a fourth earned run, and the left-handerwas tight-lipped when asked whether he understood why Posey set up where hedid.

Yeah, its a tough situation, so said Zito, neverfinishing his thought.

This was just the second time that Posey and Zito havestarted together this season. The other time was in Zitos previous outing atPhiladelphia, in which he allowed three runs in seven innings and took a nodecision.

Well see if Zito works with Posey the next time. Probablynot, since Hector Sanchez is catching with no knee pain at Triple-A Fresno andcan come off the disabled list on Thursday when Zito is scheduled to face theNew York Mets.

As for Poseys positioning, we havent heard the last of thisissue. Its obviously not worth the risk when the reward is a 3-0 deficit insteadof a 4-0 deficit. Its a much different story if Ramirez represents the tyingrun, or the tiebreaking run.

And as games amplify in importance down the stretch, therewill be times when Posey will be required to be a wall at home plate.

Bruce Bochys view on how Posey handled the play in thesixth:

Its a tough play for a catcher when its coming down theright field line. Its tough to see where the runner is at. I thought we had agood shot at getting him, and he made it in there. Thats a play maybe withmore experience you know where youre at. Its a play weve been working on.

Pablo Sandoval told reporter Manolo Hernandez Douen ofBeisbolporgotas.com that he began stretching his strained left hamstring onSaturday. Until then, hed only received massage and other treatment. He plansto start taking ground balls on Wednesday. Hes not eligible to come off the DLuntil Aug. 9, and as Matt Kemp could tell you, theres no guarantee hell beready by then.

BAGGARLY: Giants lineup comes up short against archrivals

Marco Scutaro didnt need to ask for No.19, which he worewith the As, Blue Jays and Rockies. Pitching coach Dave Righetti walked up andoffered it to him.

He said, No big deal, Scutaro said. That was kind ofnice.

As you might recall, it was an emotional gesture a few yearsago when Righetti offered his number to Kevin Frandsen, whose late brother D.J.had idolized the former left-hander.

Righetti switched to 46 back then. Hes wearing 33 now. Thatseems fitting, since Righetti is the father of triplets.

'The Kid' Arroyo continues wildly impressive first week with Giants

'The Kid' Arroyo continues wildly impressive first week with Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — In a quiet moment in the dugout Friday, manager Bruce Bochy tried to figure out a nickname for his new budding star. During a week where Christian Arroyo has made the game look so easy, this has turned out to be the most difficult part. 

Bochy briefly settled on “Yo” before that was scuttled because the team’s video coordinator is Yo Miyamoto. Joe Panik said some players have tried C.A. or YoYo, but admitted that neither is all that good. The team’s Twitter account spent a few days trying to make Boss Baby a thing, but Arroyo wasn’t thrilled with that one and the experiment appears to be over. In a back room of the clubhouse, there’s a printout showing Arroyo and Buzz from “Home Alone,” but that comparison is much better made with Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman. 

Perhaps the answer is as simple as the path Arroyo’s bat takes to a fastball. As he watched Arroyo field grounders during batting practice, Dick Tidrow was asked about the 21-year-old. Tidrow, the team’s senior VP of player personnel, has seen and worked with Arroyo since he was drafted. 

“We always just called him The Kid,” Tidrow said. “He would turn around when I called him Kid.”

The Kid is growing up quickly. Arroyo’s second homer of the week was the game-winner Friday, an eighth-inning blast that put a lead in Mark Melancon’s hands. The new closer made sure the new third baseman’s homer didn’t go to waste, clinching a 4-3 win that got the Giants out of the National League West’s cellar. 

The homer might have surprised Arroyo as much as anyone. He came here with a reputation as a mature and talented hitter, but power is not his calling card. 

“I’m not trying to hit a homer there,” he said. “Get the head out, see a pitch over the plate, barrel something, just keep the line moving. I got a good pitch, elevated it, and fortunately it went out.”

Arroyo already speaks like a hitting coach, but he is not afraid to admit that there are things he doesn’t know. It’s easy to get film on opposing starters, but there’s little a rookie can do to prepare for late-inning pitching changes. Arroyo consulted Buster Posey and Conor Gillaspie before facing Ryan Buchter, who has been in the division for two years. Gillaspie told him Buchter’s fastball has some late life and gets on a hitter. 

“I wanted to see it and the first pitch was a little low so I got a good read on them,” Arroyo said. 

The second one was right at the belt and Arroyo pulled it down the line for his second big league homer. He had just three last year in Double-A, but the Giants felt the 36 doubles showed that power was on the way. 

“He’s got pop,” Bochy said. “He’s not a guy trying to hit homers. He tries to put a good swing on it. But he drives balls and you saw it tonight. We see him more as a gap guy, but he’ll get more power as he gets older. We’re not asking him to hit homers, trust me, but it’s good to see him letting it go.”

The homer secured a win on a night when a lot went right. Jeff Samardzija was sharp, paying for one pitch to Ryan Schimpf that left the park but otherwise pitching seven strong. Panik and Brandon Belt ignited the offense early and Michael Morse came through with a game-tying sacrifice fly in the fifth. Derek Law and Mark Melancon closed it out, with Melancon getting help from Panik, who made a spectacular tumbling catch on a flare to shallow right-center. It was a big first out given that Melancon was pitching for the third straight day. 

“It was going to be in no man’s land,” Panik said. “You give it everything you’ve got. Fortunately the ball stayed in the glove.”

When it was over, the youngest Giant was in for another round of interviews to cap a hectic week. On Monday he made his debut and on Tuesday he picked up his first hit. Wednesday brought the first homer and Thursday was the first multi-hit game. What will the weekend include? Maybe a real nickname? 

For now, the Giants are fine with leaning on The Kid, because many of them didn’t even know how young the star of the week was until he was a couple of days into his big league career.

“I was thinking he was 23 or 24,” Samardzija said. “This has been really impressive.”

Instant Replay: Arroyo's late-game heroics lifts Giants past Padres

Instant Replay: Arroyo's late-game heroics lifts Giants past Padres


SAN FRANCISCO — On Monday, Christian Arroyo made his MLB debut. Tuesday brought his first hit and on Wednesday it was the first homer. Thursday’s game was his first multi-hit game as a big leaguer. What was in store Friday? The best swing yet.

Arroyo hit a go-ahead shot to left while leading off the eighth, giving the Giants a 4-3 win in their series opener with the Padres. The player coaches simply call “The Kid” has two homers in his first five games, and both have come in huge spots. Friday’s sent another jolt through AT&T Park and got a lead to Mark Melancon, who closed out the Padres. 

For four innings, a long-haired right-hander was no-hitting the Padres. Jeff Samardzija was sharp early and he got a nice cushion in the first. Joe Panik and Brandon Belt led off with singles and Panik scored on Erick Aybar’s two-out error. A Conor Gillaspie knock made it 2-0. 

The first hit allowed by Samardzija was a painful one. He plunked Yangervis Solarte to open the fifth and Ryan Schimpf hit a long dinger to dead center to tie the game. Cory Spangenberg followed with a single to left that skipped under Belt’s glove. Spangenberg went to third on the play and scored on a bloop. 

Belt made up for the play in the bottom of the inning, beating the outfield shift with a double and scoring on Mike Morse’s sacrifice fly to right two batters later. Samardzija ran into trouble in the seventh, but with two in scoring position and one out, he got a strikeout and a grounder to third. The Giants put the go-ahead run on second in their half, but Hunter Pence and Morse struck out. 

Starting pitching report: Samardzija has allowed six homers. He’s tied for fourth in the NL with a handful of players, including Johnny Cueto and Matt Moore. 

Bullpen report: Melancon has five straight saves since blowing his first opportunity as a Giant. 

At the plate: Belt reached base four times. His on-base percentage is sitting at a cool .390. 

In the field: Panik made a brilliant diving catch in center for the first out of the ninth. 

Attendance: The Giants announced a sellout crowd. One of the fans looked just like Samardzija, possibly on purpose. 

Up next: Matt Cain has a 2.42 ERA but he left his last start with a tight hamstring. He’ll face Jhoulys Chacin (2-3, 5.90).