EXTRAS: Pagan snaps slump, Bochy on OF situation

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EXTRAS: Pagan snaps slump, Bochy on OF situation

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Angel Pagan, acquired for fan-favoriteAndres Torres and reliever Ramon Ramirez in an offseason trade with the Mets,came into Tuesdays game just 5-for-22.After a 2-for-4 day against the Chicago Cubs, including a double and a triple,Pagan upped his spring average to .269 and flashed his speed and glovework incenter all afternoon.Today was a good day, Pagan said. Now I just have to workon consistency.In the top of the second inning, Pagan dove to rob the Cubs Steve Clevenger ofa base hit in the left-center field gap with a runner on second base.Madison Bumgarner, who was struggling in the inning, was appreciative.It looked like he was gaining on it pretty quick so Ithought he might have a chance to catch it, Bumgarner said. It was afantastic catch, though.Manager Bruce Bochy was also impressed.

Great game for him, Bochy said. Great play out there almost made another tremendous play and swung the bat well. Good to see him getsome good swings off.The almost play that Bochy referred to was a fly ball to dead center off thebat of David DeJesus. Pagan turned around and sprinted with his back to homeplate, attempting to make a basket catch a la Giants legend Willie Mays TheCatch. He came up short, but said after the game that he was close tofinishing the play. RELATED: Bumgarner tests new slider grip in rough start
Believe it or not, I thought I had the ball in my glove,Pagan said. I thought it was a pretty good effort. I know I can do a betterjob than that, but thats what were here for. Id rather miss it over herethan miss it in the season. Next time I should be able to catch it.While Pagans speed can lead to some spectacular plays on defense, it alsohelps on the basepaths. It certainly helped him on his RBI triple into right-centerfield in the fifth inning. He looked fast heading to first, then put it intoanother gear halfway between first and second.When he gets going, hes flying, Bochy said. He can run.Thats why hes our leadoff hitter. Hopefully he puts some pressure on opposingteams and makes some things happen. You saw him going home to third thatspretty quick.After covering a lot of ground in center Tuesday, Bochy saidthat Pagan will get the day off Wednesday for rest and maybe Thursday as well becausehes getting a wisdom tooth pulled. Pagan knows his speed will help him handle the difficultoutfield at his new home in San Franciso.The hardest part is how the wind carries it, he said. Thebounce it takes off the brick wall is hard too. RELATED: Posey hitless in third spring start, will DH Wednesday
When I asked if he leans on Nate Schierholtz for advice, Pagan had kind words forhis new teammate: He knows whats going on out there, for sure.--

Brandon Belt saw more action in right field Tuesday, butBochy said that he wont get much time there in the regular season andclarified his plan for positioning his outfielders.Belts doing fine, Bochy said. Hes done OK. He playeda little more right in his younger years so I think hes a little morecomfortable there. I just want to take a look at him there but more likelyhell be going back to left, particularly at our ballpark. Melky will probablybe the one going to right field. But I just want to take a look at it. Huffwill play some outfield, too. Well have to make that decision, which way wethink is the best way to go.Belt went 1-for-3 Wednesday and was tested in right when Alfonso Soriano triedto stretch a single into a double in the fifth inning. Belt hustled to get to theball down the line and fired a one-hop throw to Brandon Crawford, who couldnthang on to apply the tag.I figured he would try and do that so I got to it as fast Icould, Belt said. I gave Crawford a tough ball to handle.--Nate Schierholtz and Mike Fontenot both saw game action Wednesday, alleviatingfears about nagging injuries.NEWS: Bumgarner struggles, Giants lose to Cubs 5-4
Schierholtz, who was nursing a bruised hip, went 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter. AndMike Fontenot, limited with a groin injury, singled, walked and played secondbase after coming off the bench.While Schierholtz and Fontenot made strides, Freddy Sanchez had his timetablefor a return to second base pushed back. Bochy recently said that Sanchez couldplay defense for the first time this spring on Thursday or Friday, but is nowsaying he hopes to have Sanchez ready this weekend. In the mean time, he willcontinue to get at-bats as Bochys designated hitter.In other minor injury update news, Ryan Vogelsong is stillscheduled to throw 45 pitches in a bullpen session Wednesday morning. And BrianWilson will make his second Cactus League outing later that afternoon againstthe Indians.--No one should be worried about Sergio Romos 4.50 ERA this spring, but itsworth noting that the run he gave up Wednesday wasnt of the ordinary variety.Romo left a slider up to big Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who was a memberof the Padres last year after coming over from the Red Sox in the AdrianGonzalez trade. Rizzo pounced on it and sent it around 450 feet to deep rightfield.He hung that one breaking ball, a bad pitch with two strikes, Bochy said. Wherehe threw that ball, it should be hit hard. Its good he gets to see someleft-handed hitters. As good as he is, he has little hiccups againstleft-handers.--In the familiar faces department, spotted at Scottsdale Stadium Tuesday morningwere former Giants outfielders Randy Winn and Pat Burrell. Brian Sabean wasalso seen on the field talking with Bochy, presumably about the tough rosterdecisions that await the general manager and field manager.

After Giants' first Coors Field sweep in 15 years, Bochy preaches urgency

After Giants' first Coors Field sweep in 15 years, Bochy preaches urgency

DENVER — Bruce Bochy watched the first two games of this road trip from his home in San Diego and the final three from the top step of the dugout at Coors Field. He did not like what he saw, but at the moment he’s more concerned with what he might hear. 

“What you have to careful of — you can’t let any kind of complacency set in and say, ‘It’s early, we’ll be ok.’ I don’t want to hear that either,” Bochy said. “It’s the old adage that you come out with some sense of urgency. All these games are important. You’ve got to stay away from that attitude, too: ‘We’re not through April yet and have 140-something games left.’ That doesn’t work out.”

Three weeks into the season, nothing is working. The rotation has a 5.02 ERA, the worst in the Majors. The lineup scored 10 runs over a five-game road trip and got shut out twice. The bullpen hasn’t been given many leads with which to make up for the first-week trouble. The defense has been uncharacteristically sloppy. 

It has added up to a 6-13 start, tied for the worst in club history. The Giants have lost six of seven and they’ll head home seven games out of first place. 

“Right now there’s nothing clicking,” Bochy said. “Let’s be honest, this has been a rough start and we’re not very good right now. I’m not saying we’re not very good. We are good, but we’ve got to find a way to come out of this. This was a tough way to end this series. We’ve been through it. I’ve got men out there and that’s when you find a way to get through this. They will.”

Perhaps Monday will bring some fresh blood for the roster. Drew Stubbs appears poised to give the Giants another veteran option should they cut bait with a struggling outfielder. Michael Morse could be an option in left field soon, and if he’s mostly relegated to first, the Giants can put Brandon Belt in the outfield. He looked fine there Sunday while playing both corner spots. 

Those are moves made around the edges of the roster, though. There is no magic bullet coming from the outside, not even Christian Arroyo, who continues to mash at Triple-A. This is a $200 million roster and much of that has been spent on the rotation. Through 13 games, it is the worst in the National League, and the ace was lost to an off-field accident. Sure, the starters have pitched at Chase Field and Coors Field, but on back-to-back days they were dominated by Rockies rookies who make a living here. 

Samardzija could not keep pace with left-hander Kyle Freeland, who sawed off a handful of bats while cruising through seven. Samardzjiza gave up a run early, two more in the fourth on a hanging splitter that was blasted to right, and five in the sixth.

Bochy challenged his starting staff to improve after Saturday’s game. He has not publicly done the same with the lineup, but subtle changes have been made here and there. It is a group that, outside of a couple of players, has lacked energy. Because they don’t hit for power, the Giants are reliant on stringing together rallies. For the fourth time in seven games, the lineup failed to put a runner on base the first time through the order. 

“Even in spring training we had our games where we had trouble getting something going early,” Bochy said. “It’s the fourth or fifth before a hit. Somehow, we’ve got to change that.”

The Giants played Sunday without Jarrett Parker (clavicle) and Denard Span (right shoulder sprain), but for the most part the lineup is healthy. Bochy said he has talked to hitting coach Hensley Meulens about possibly altering pre-game routines, but that seems a cosmetic fix. 

“We’ve talked and we’ve shaken up the lineup, but as you saw today, there’s only so much you can do,” he said. 

Bochy knows there is outside noise regarding the roster. His eyes bulged the other day when asked if Arroyo would get a call-up next week. The Giants do not feel he is quite ready, or that there is a spot for him on the infield. For all the potential bench options waiting at Triple-A, this team's core is set, and it’s not outrageously banged-up compared to the rest of the division. 

The Dodgers, who come into town Monday, have 10 players on the disabled list, including No. 2 starter Rich Hill, second baseman Logan Forsythe, and left fielder Andre Ethier. The Rockies, the best team in the NL West thus far, are off to this start without big offseason acquisition Ian Desmond and young slugger David Dahl. Jon Gray, their opening day starter, went on the DL after facing the Giants in San Francisco. Chad Bettis, a rotation member, is getting treatment for testicular cancer. 

This division is better than expected, and as the end of April approaches, the Giants are bringing up the rear. Bochy’s plea for urgency was one that would have fit right in with last season’s second half. Back then, the Giants could at least lean on a huge start that got them into the postseason. As they flew home Sunday, there was nothing to fall back on but a simple truth.

This is the team. It must play better.

“We have everything we need in this room,” Samardzija said. “Sometimes you need to go out on the field and prove it.”

 

Instant Replay: Giants' struggles continue in sweep from Rockies

Instant Replay: Giants' struggles continue in sweep from Rockies

BOX SCORE

DENVER — Bruce Bochy spent about 10 minutes before Sunday’s game talking about potential options in left field and center. The problems for this lineup, however, currently go much deeper than the outfield. 

A day after the Giants managed just four hits off Antonio Senzatela, the bats went completely limp against fellow Rockies rookie Kyle Freeland. The Giants were shut out 8-0, a rarity at Coors Field. They were blanked twice on the road trip and scored just 10 runs during a five-game swing through Kansas City and Denver. 

The sweep at Coors Field was the Giants' first since 2002. At 6-13, they have the worst record in the National League.

For the fourth time in seven games, and third time on this five-game road trip, the Giants went one time through the order without a baserunner. That puts added pressure on your starter, and Jeff Samardzija couldn’t keep it close. Charlie Blackmon hit a leadoff liner to right that was misplayed into a triple and he scored on a sacrifice fly. Gerardo Parra got a spinner down in the zone in the fourth and blasted a two-run shot to right. 

As they did Saturday night, the Rockies pulled away with a huge rally. Nolan Arenado’s infield single and a walk of Carlos Gonzalez set the table in the sixth. Gerardo Parra lined a single to center and all runners advanced when Gorkys Hernandez kicked it. Trevor Story’s single to right was bobbled by Hunter Pence and two more scored. Blackmon’s double made it 8-0.

Starting pitching report: Samardzija was charged with seven earned in 5 1/3 innings. He has a 7.40 ERA through four starts. The starting staff has a 5.02 ERA, the worst in the majors. That won’t play, not when you’ve spent most of your resources the last two years on starters. 

Bullpen report: Hunter Strickland's Mullet had a scoreless debut. 

At the plate: Nope. 

In the field: Brandon Belt’s first start in left this season was rather uneventful. He caught a liner right at him in the first and came up inches short on a diving attempt in foul territory. Belt moved to right in the seventh inning. He had one previous inning there in the big leagues but he actually prefers right because it’s the same angle as his normal position. Belt gloved a liner right at him in the eighth. 

Attendance: The Rockies announced a crowd of 42,011 human beings and one donkey, who was a menace. 

Up next: The first look at the Dodgers. The Giants will see Hyun-Jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood and likely Julio Urias in the four-game series.