EXTRA BAGGS: Zito upset he didn't shake Posey more, etc.


EXTRA BAGGS: Zito upset he didn't shake Posey more, etc.


HOUSTON Barry Zito didnt express any ire toward Giantsmanager Bruce Bochy for giving him a quick hook while the Giants led 4-3 in thethird inning Wednesday night.

But with surprising candor, Zito did acknowledge that hewasnt always on the same page with catcher Buster Posey.

After admitting that he lacked focus and consistency, Zitosaid he was hurt not so much bad pitches but bad selections. Its just amatter of throwing the pitch I want to throw.

Asked the natural follow-up question, if it was anadjustment for him to work with Posey, who didnt catch his first 18 starts ofthe season, Zito said he needed to shake more and throw his pitch.

Posey, he has a great idea for hitters, but you cant alwaysguess 100 percent of the time, said Zito, who gave up three runs on sevenhits. Im upset that I threw a couple changeups there. Thats my job to shake.Its nothing Posey is doing wrong.

Zito especially wanted back the changeups he threw in thesecond inning, when Chris Snyder doubled on one and No. 8 hitter Brandon Barnes,with two outs and a base open, hit another changeup for an RBI single.

Sometimes youre just fixed up to go, Zito said. You seea sign and go, but its on me to throw my pitch.

Snyder was safe at the plate when Posey couldnt reach backfar enough to apply the swipe tag that coaches have instructed him to execute.(Although Angel Pagans throw was off line, so Posey had no choice but to driftaway from the plate to receive it.)

Bochy had Hector Sanchez work with Zito for the first 18starts of the year as he sought to keep continuity with his batterymates whilealso getting regular rest for Posey. Bochy knew he needed to pace hiscleanup-hitting catcher, who was coming off a major ankle injury sustained in acollision at the plate last season. The Giants have reaped the benefits ofthat, as Posey has been perhaps the NLs best hitter since the All-Star break.

Posey is getting pushed harder now as the Giants enter thepennant stretch and that means catching more often on Zitos day to pitch. Hehas caught four of Zitos last five starts, and six out of 26 overall.

Asked about re-establishing a relationship with Zito, Poseysaid it wasnt a concern and labeled it as just a topic that the media likes totalk about.

Clearly, Zito didnt mind volunteering it as a topicWednesday night. And although the sample isnt the largest, its interesting tonote that Zito has a 5.93 ERA with Posey and a 4.03 ERA the rest of the time.

Yet Zito also took ownership, saying he needed to do abetter job.

I know these are must-win ballgames and I didnt have ittonight, Zito said. It was a situation where my timing was off. So I wasupset with myself. Itll be there and it wont be there. Thats on me to justbe the same guy every time. Not results-wise but focus-wise, take one pitch ata time like I talk about.

At least Bochy said Zito wasnt battling any physicalissues.

He was up. He wasnt sharp, Bochy said. Ive had him fora few years and I just thought he wasnt at the top of his game. You hatetaking starters out, especially with the lead. Hes fine. He was just off.

Its going to become tougher for Bochy to keep Joaquin Ariasout of the lineup, the way hes scalding the ball over the past several weeks.

"He's been a different player this past month," Bochy said.

One possibility that hasnt been mentioned yet: Play Marco Scutaro in leftfield and put Arias at second base.

First, Bochy wants to make sure Arias wrist is OK after hegot hit by a pitch in the eighth inning. He stayed in the game, but it wasntjust a love tap he received.

He might be pretty sore, Bochy said. Well check on himtomorrow.

It might be easy to sit down Brandon Crawford for Ariasagainst right-handers, but he just keeps bringing defensive value every night.Crawford entered on a double-switch in the eighth (with Arias moving to third)and immediately got tested on two bad-hop smashes. He handled them both with amagicians hands.

Hes so gifted there at shortstop, Bochy said. Still, fora young player to sit there and watch a game, then come in and make a play,its pretty impressive.

Compare Crawford to Houston third baseman Scott Moore, who entered on adouble-switch in the sixth and promptly made a throwing error that precededArias two-run triple.

Reports are that Andres Torres has cleared waivers, and as acouple readers pointed out, hes hitting .295 against left-handed pitching. ButIm not sure Mets GM Sandy Alderson would be so friendly as to hand him back tothe Giants. And besides, from what I understand, club officials arent in arush to bring Torres back.

Pablo Sandoval hit a pop fly that struck the roof here atMinute Maid Park, which I havent seen in this venue before. Sandoval laughedwhen I mentioned it after the game, also recalling the long foul fly heliterally hit out of Cincinnatis Great American Ball Park. As far as anyoneknew at the time, he was the first player to accomplish that feat.

(Kind of like the legendary Mike Laga, who once hit a foulball out of old Busch Stadium and became an everlasting answer to a tremendoustrivia question.)

I told Sandoval about a game I covered one time on theAngels beat in 2000 at the Metrodome, when Mo Vaughn hit a booster rocket thatwouldve been close to a 500-foot home run, but it struck the roof and droppedin left field a single, according to the ground rules.

The Angels lost 1-0.

Sandoval couldnt believe it.

Wow, he said. At least mine was just a foul ball.

D'backs release former Giants outfielder

D'backs release former Giants outfielder

Editor's Note: The above video was recorded following Matt Cain's perfect game in 2012.

Gregor Blanco's bid to make the Arizona Diamondbacks' Opening Day roster is over.

The former Giants outfielder was released on Monday, Arizona announced.

Blanco had been dealing with an oblique injury and had played since March 21.

In 14 Cactus League games, Blanco went 9-for-40 (.225) with one double and three triples.

Blanco spent five years with the Giants and was part of the World Series winning teams in 2012 and 2014. During his time in San Francisco, the 33-year-old hit .259/.338/.360 with 78 doubles, 24 triples and 157 RBI in 649 games.

The D'backs signed Blanco to a minor league deal in January.

Giants spring training Day 43: A big game for veteran trying to lock up OF job

Giants spring training Day 43: A big game for veteran trying to lock up OF job

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — For the first time, Gorkys Hernandez did not go back to Venezuela in the offseason to play winter ball. He's hoping that leads to another first. 

Hernandez has never made an opening day roster, but after breaking into the Giants’ outfield rotation last season, he entered the winter in a decent shot. To bolster his case, Hernandez stayed in Scottsdale over the offseason to work out at the minor league facility. The added strength didn’t lead to any notable results over the first month of games, but Hernandez broke through Monday with three doubles in the final home game of the spring.

“Sometimes (slumps) happen and sometimes you’re late (on pitches) and you don’t feel comfortable at the plate, but now I feel different. I feel better,” Hernandez said. “I’m recognizing pitches and trying to keep it simple and not do too much.”

The coaching staff has asked several players to head down to the minor league facility late in the spring and get additional at-bats, and Hernandez took Bruce Bochy up on the offer. He twice played in minor league games, and on Sunday he rotated into different games so he could get six at-bats. Hernandez said that helped him find his timing. 

“Without question, it helped his timing,” Bochy said. “He was off. He was getting out front, his timing was off. I think the at-bats he got paid off.”

The three-double day was perfectly timed. Hernandez entered with a .159 average and Justin Ruggiano, the other option as a backup center fielder, had started to put together better at-bats. Monday’s game was a reminder in more ways than one. Hernandez showed off the type of speed the Giants won’t have on the bench if Kelby Tomlinson is optioned, and he played all three outfield positions, switching from left to right to center. 

The role in play is one Gregor Blanco had for five seasons. The Giants would like Hernandez to be their defensive whiz at every outfield spot, and they’re light on true center fielders. If the Giants put Hernandez on the roster this week as expected, he’ll be ready to try and be the new Blanco. 

“If they give me that role, I’ll try to do the same thing,” he said. “Or better.”

THE ACE: Madison Bumgarner is going to Madison Bumgarner. He threw seven sharp innings Monday, lowering his spring ERA to 2.52. In 25 innings, he has allowed just 17 hits and struck out 23. Bochy appreciated Bumgarner’s intensity Monday against a Reds team that was filled with minor leaguers. 

“That’s what makes him so good,” Bochy said. “He takes every outing seriously. His preparation doesn’t waver.”

Bumgarner even added a single, and he liked that it came on a breaking ball. He’s worked on getting better at hitting those pitches, which he’s seeing more and more. 

“I feel I’m as ready as I can be to start the season,” Bumgarner said. 

His next pitch will be thrown Sunday at Chase Field. 

GAME RECAP: The Giants blasted poor Reds starter Cody Reed, hanging 10 runs on his line in 3 2/3 innings. Denard Span had two hits and Aaron Hill had three, driving in three runs. Bochy went with an interesting lineup, leading off with Span, Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence, Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford. He said he likes Crawford in that five-spot. He also plans to hit the pitcher eighth on occasion.

TRAINER’S ROOM: Joe Panik was drilled by a fastball in the lower back and he came out of the game as a precaution. Panik has a nasty welt, so he’s in for a night of ice, but there are no concerns. 

QUOTABLE: Posey turned 30 today. As he walked out to stretch, Bumgarner was asked if he was giving Posey a hard time. “No, he’s been 30 for the last seven years,” Bumgarner said.