EXTRAS: Bumgarner continues to impress


EXTRAS: Bumgarner continues to impress

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. First there was Saturday's morning's gas leak that causedthe evacuation of Scottsdale Stadium. Then a swarm of beesdelayed Sundays game at Salt River Fields by 41 minutes.Whats going to happen tomorrow? Giants manager BruceBochy said.His eyes got wide as he pondered the pestilencepossibilities.Oh! Night game?" he said. "...BATS!
Bring your rabies vaccinations, just in case. Some garlicnecklaces wouldnt hurt, either.It was a wild scene at Talking Stick on Sunday afternoon.The swarm of bees finally settled in a cluster near a camera fixture at the endof the Giants dugout. Fire and pest experts told Bochy that the bees wouldntcause a problem after that.They said they should be fine with them settled in there,Bochy said. I said, Ok, lets play.That didnt stop Angel Pagan from almost locking himself inthe bathroom. But anyway, the second inning finally resumed without Arizona ace IanKennedy, and the Giants really seemed to enjoy putting on a 21-hit fest whilebeating the defending NL West champs 11-1.RELATED: Pagan quickly feeling at home with Giants
In the Giants other split-squad game against the MilwaukeeBrewers at Maryvale, Madison Bumgarner continued his sharp spring by strikingout four and not walking a batter in 2 23 innings. Shane Loux allowedBumgarners only run to score in a game that ended in a 1-1 tie.Brandon Crawford had two hits against Milwaukee and knockedin the Giants only run. Also, hard-throwing prospect Heath Hembree had a nicefirst game in a Giants uniform, punching out two in a 1-2-3 inning.I really wanted to see Bumgarner, Hembree, and Gary Brown,too, at Maryvale. But for beat reporters, the rule of thumb on split-squad daysis to go where the manager goes. So it was off to Talking Stick for what turned out to be a much longer game.(Travel tip: Don't get behind me in line at airport security. I never pick the right one there, either.)I have a hunchBochy wanted to see the Diamondbacks as much as he wanted to see some of hisregulars, including Pagan and Melky Cabrera.Bochy also wanted to see Brian Burres, his starting pitcher.You already know that Madison Bumgarner could open as theGiants No.2 starter, just so the Giants can avoid having three lefties in a row in case RyanVogelsong must be replaced in the rotation. Its been assumed that Eric Surkampwould be the lefty to take Vogelsongs spot if his strained back doesnt allowhim to go.But Burres is another lefty in camp with big league starting experience. And hell be given every chance to show what he can do -- as long as hecarries a bee smoker to the mound. Because of the 41-minute delay, he only wasable to throw one inning. Still, Bochy liked what he saw.Burres looked good, Bochy said. He kept the ball down,got good movement and they chased some pitches out there. He wanted to have asecond inning there, but the delay was just too long.He gives us some depth. (The front office) had someknowledge about him from his stint here before.Thumbnail sketch: Burres, 30, was signed by the Giants as a draft-and-followpick (31st round) out of an Oregon community college in 2000. He hada very solid minor league career and made it onto the 40-man roster to protecthim from being taken in the Rule 5 draft. But the Giants designated him in 2006to make roster room for free-agent infielder Jose Vizcaino, and the Baltimore Oriolessnapped up Burres off waivers. He has a 5.75 ERA in 106 games (56 starts) for theOrioles, Blue Jays and Pirates.Those numbers arent good, obviously. But Burres is a strike throwerand his changeup is considered a plus pitch. If the Giants need someone to fill in on astart-to-start basis, he at least gives them an experienced option.Well stay open minded, Bochy said. We think a lot ofSurkamp. We also know Burres can start. Well break with our best club.--Before leaving for Talking Stick, I chatted with TimLincecum about his Twitter account and his plans for it. He said he probablywont be on there every day, but that he looked forward to sending messages tofans through the social media site.Hes flabbergasted that he got so manyfollowers (almost 28,000) in such a short span.I enjoyed it for awhile there, I told him. For two days,I could brag that I had more Twitter followers than you.--Prospect hounds might be wondering why outfielder FranciscoPeguero hasnt seen action yet. Turns out he had another surgery on his rightknee in December. Its the same knee he had repaired in spring training lastyear. This one was considered a cleanup and Peguero said hes close to 100percent. He expected to be cleared to play in games in another two to threedays.--As mentioned, the Giants and Brewers played to a tie. Thatwas merciful, especially for Craig Whitaker.A former first-round pick, Whitaker, 27, has been in theGiants system for a decade now. He has battled multiple arm problems and missedall of last season because of a labrum tear in his shoulder that requiredsurgery.He was as surprised as anyone when, one day after playersreported to minor league camp, he found his name added to fill out the splitsquad at Maryvale.I havent faced a hitter since September, 09, he said.Not even live BP.Probably not the best scenario to break him in, I suppose.Whitaker has seen too much to be intimidated, though.Theyre just hitters, he said, matter-of-factly.--Former Giant Travis Ishikawa played for the Brewers atMaryvale, by the way. His key walk (from a 1-2 count) in Game 2 of the 2010NLDS wont be forgotten by Giants fans anytime soon.The Giants other split squad also saw a familiar face on thevisiting side. It was right-hander Joe Martinez, who remains a fanfavorite even though he wasnt with the team for long. His inspiring comebackfrom a skull fracture, which he sustained when struck by a line drive in 2009, made him apopular figure.I am almost certain that Martinez also got a World Series ring,since he did appear in four games (one start) for the Giants in 2010 before hewas shipped to Pittsburgh along with John Bowker for integral left-handerJavier Lopez.Martinez didnt have a great debut with the D-Backs on Sunday. Heallowed six hits in two innings, including a rocket off the bat of Aubrey Huffthat hit the base of the wall in right field. A parking-lot infield isn't the best thing for a ground-ball pitcher, either.--The Giants best highlight of both split-squad games mighthave been when Gregor Blanco managed to go from first to third on a wild pitch.Thats exactly what Bochy wants to see this spring.We havent done that in awhile, either, Bochy said. Thatswhat we want to do be aggressive on the bases. Its early, but I see goodsigns. Theyre not content just to grab the next base and bestation-to-station.Especially when theyre being chased by a swarm of angrybees.

'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).