EXTRAS: Plans for Posey, Wilson; spring roster whittled down


EXTRAS: Plans for Posey, Wilson; spring roster whittled down

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- With a plethora of players workingtheir way back from injuries from major ones like Buster Poseys surgically-repairedankle to minor issues like Nate Schierholtzs bruised hip Bruce Bochy has toanswer a lot of questions regarding timetables.After Mondays 2-1 win over the Kansas City Royals in Surprise, Bochy laid outhis plans for Poseys next game action. The Giants star catcher will catchfour innings for the second time in 2012 on Tuesday, then serve as Bochysdesignated hitter on Wednesday, the manager said.Posey debuted on Friday with two innings of work, then followed that up withfour innings on Sunday.Closer Brian Wilson, who needed only nine pitches to get through his firstinning of work this spring on Sunday, will work again on Wednesday, accordingto Bochy.Wilson said after his outing Sunday that his third appearance will come on St.Patricks Day, March 17th.As for Schierholtz, he started on Monday after missing Sundays game and went 1-for-3.He wouldve had a double down the right-field line, too, but Eric Hosmer doveto rob him in one of two nice plays to his left on the afternoon.Schierholtz was in the trainers room in the middle of the game getting his legexamined when reporters entered to speak with starter Tim Lincecum, but itlooked like a routine examination, and not setback related.In other injury news, Ryan Vogelsong will throw 45 pitches in a bullpen sessionWednesday, and Mike Fontenot has been out of commission with a groin injury butshould play Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs. --Joaquin Arias, a non-roster invitee middle infielder, is a long shot to makethe 25-man roster. But if Brandon Crawford is struggling at the plate and theGiants feel the need to make a change at shortstop, Arias might get a look outof the minor leagues assuming he accepts the assignment when he is inevitably sent down.Arias was 0-for-3 Monday, but played spectacular defense, including a divingcatch as the second baseman on a line drive up the middle.Tim Lincecum took notice, even if hes not sure how to pronounce histeammates name.Arias right? I cant pronounce it right without messing itup, Lincecum said. Hes got a lot of range out there. Its nice to have himand Crawford up the middle making plays, keeping the innings short and pitchcounts down.Arias has also made an impression on his manager.I like the way hes played all spring, Bochy said. Hesgot a calmness about him; great glove defensively.--Gregor Blanco is forcing the Giants to consider leaving a roster spot open for him aftergoing 3-for-3 Monday to raise his Cactus League average to .545. He also stolehis sixth base in seven tries.Blanco led off the game with a flare over the shortstops head and aggressivelypushed for second base. He was safe at second, but slid past the bag and wastagged out.Bochy didnt mind.The bag was wet the first time when he slid off it, Bochyexplained. But great job hustling turning a single into a double. Hes doingall he can to make the club and we dont know whats going to happen, but hescertainly doing his part.--Brett Pill, who started at first base Monday with Aubrey Huff and Brandon Belton the bench, went 2-for-4 to raise his spring average to .321. One of his two outs was a loud one, too, as he sent a first-inning LukeHochevar fastball 400 feet to the warning track in dead center.Pill has a chance to really shake up the Giants 25-man roster if he forces theGiants to save a spot for him. While Pill is helping his case, neitherAubrey Huff nor Brandon Belt are making the decision any easier. Both are hitting over .300 aswell.--Hector Sanchez struck out in his lone at-bat after takingover for starter Eli Whiteside at catcher Monday, but is still batting .467this spring.Despite Sanchezs hot start, Bochy said it was unlikely theGiants would carry three catchers on their Opening Day roster, but added younever know.--Tim Lincecums father Chris is in Arizona and the inventorof the Giants aces unique delivery is helping his son in a different way.Said Tim: Nothing physical, more just kind of talking aboutit, sitting down, just him giving pointers here and there, just reminding methat its okay to relax and take it easy. He knows that my mind is running at100 MPH when Im out there thinking about things. So for him to come in hereand actually make it easier on me is nice and it makes spending time with him alot easier as well.--The Giants have started to whittle down their spring training roster to open upmore playing time for those that need to either get ready for the regularseason or continue to audition for a big-league job.After Mondays game, RHP Seth Rosin, RHP Shawn Sanford, CAndrew Susac and IF Joe Panik were reassigned to minor league camp and IF Ehire Adrianza was optioned to Triple-A. Before thegame, OF Francisco Peguero was optioned to Triple-A and C Tommy Joseph, who hadtwo home runs Saturday, was reassigned to minor league camp.Prior to Sundays game, RHP Stephen Harrold, RHP Jake Dunning, RHP Austin Fleetand LHP David Quinowski were also assigned to minor league camp.

Crawford strains right groin in eighth inning of Giants' 2-1 loss to Dodgers

Crawford strains right groin in eighth inning of Giants' 2-1 loss to Dodgers

SAN FRANCISCO — Brandon Crawford was always going to miss the final two games of this series to attend the funeral of his sister-in-law. The Giants are now hoping an MRI result shows that Crawford won’t miss any time beyond his three days on bereavement leave. 

Crawford pulled up with a right groin strain as he rounded first on a base hit in the eighth. After jogging a bit in the outfield, he was pulled from the game. 

“It tightened up,” Crawford said. “I haven’t really felt anything like that before. I’ve never really had anything like this before. It just felt tight. I didn’t feel a pop or anything, and from what I hear, that’s good news.”

Crawford’s liner off Kenley Jansen sent Buster Posey from first to third. Cody Bellinger's throw went into third and Crawford was busting it for second when his leg shut down. He said he could feel the pain in his groin as he tried to run it off. 

“(Trainer Dave Groeschner) told me it wasn’t a great idea to try and push it,” Crawford said. 

Ordinarily, the Giants would send Crawford for an MRI on Wednesday, but he is flying down to Los Angeles for two days of services. Crawford originally told manager Bruce Bochy that he could be back in time for Friday’s game, but the Giants — already playing without Denard Span and with a short bench — were planning to put Crawford on the bereavement list and call up an extra position player. 

Eduardo Nuñez moved over to short in the ninth and he’s Crawford’s primary backup. Christian Arroyo, called up Monday, can also play the position. The Giants have Kelby Tomlinson and Orlando Calixte on the 40-man and one of them is likely to join the team Wednesday. 

--- Arroyo and Bellinger are two of the NL West’s top prospects, and they got their first big league hits on the same night. Arroyo got a first-pitch fastball at the letters from Clayton Kershaw and roped it into left field. 

“I figured he would come at me,” Arroyo said. “I said, ‘Hey man, see a heater and take a good swing at it.’ I just envisioned getting (a big league hit) but I didn’t think it would be off a guy the caliber of Kershaw. In the moment I was excited. That’s something you don’t forget.”

Arroyo’s family won’t forget it, either. His parents and two younger siblings were here and they went nuts as Arroyo rounded first. That’s always a cool moment. 

--- Ty Blach has three big league hits and all of them are off Kershaw. 

“Sometimes you just swing hard and get lucky, I guess,” he said. 

There’s only one active pitcher who has more hits against Kershaw than Blach. That’s Madison Bumgarner, who has taken him deep twice. A year ago, Bumgarner walked into the video room and asked Matt Duffy if he wanted advice on hitting Kershaw. On Tuesday, he gave Blach some advice. 

“Madison before the game came up and said he’s going to throw you up and in because he threw it low and away last (year),” Blach said. “I was looking for a pitch in that vicinity.”

Bumgarner knows Kershaw well. Blach got a fastball up and he knocked it over a drawn-in outfield for a double. 

--- We’re 10 paragraphs into this story without a score. The Giants lost 2-1, but it’s hard to dissect this one too much. When the Dodgers get 25 outs from Kershaw and Kenley Jansen, they’re going to win that game nine out of 10 times. 

Kershaw lowered his season ERA to 2.29. The Giants gave him a little bit of trouble early, but he turned it on in the middle innings. 

“He settled in and he was as tough as he normally is,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “The thing you hope is to create some chances. We had a couple.”

The eventual winning run came across on a strange play in the fourth. With runners on the corners, Adrian Gonzalez hit a bouncer to first. Posey looked Justin Turner back to third and then threw to Crawford at second for one out. Crawford spun and fired a strike home to try and get Turner, who had taken off. The throw skipped in the dirt and Nick Hundley couldn’t handle it. Turner made it 2-1, and that was that. 

Bochy said he had no problem with how that play went down. All the decisions were right, it was just a tough double-play to pull off. 

“I’d like to say I should have made a better throw but I got rid of it as fast as I could and I put as much on it as I could,” Crawford said. 

The Giants were a couple inches behind Turner on Tuesday. On Monday, they were just ahead of him, with Posey picking him off second to end the game. It’s been that type of series between these two.

--- I saw a lot of grumbling on Twitter about Yasmani Grandal pulling balls back into the strike zone in the late innings. Be careful what you wish for, Giants fans. Posey might be the best pitch-framer in the game. Any change that would keep guys like Grandal from fooling umps would hurt the Giants more than most.


Instant Replay: Kershaw quiets Giants again, Dodgers win 2-1

Instant Replay: Kershaw quiets Giants again, Dodgers win 2-1


SAN FRANCISCO — After taking the opener of this four-game series, manager Bruce Bochy said he felt the win was a huge one. 

“We’ve got our hands full tomorrow,” Bochy said Monday night. “We know it.”

Yes, as always with Clayton Kershaw, they did. 

The left-hander was once again dominant at AT&T Park, throwing seven sharp innings before turning the ball over to a bullpen that got four outs from Kenley Jansen. The closer wrapped up a 2-1 Dodgers win. As with Monday’s game, this one was a pitcher’s duel. 

Ty Blach threw 11 shutout innings against the Dodgers as a rookie and he opened up with three strong frames Tuesday. He also got the offense in gear, lashing a double over a drawn-in outfield in the third for his third career hit off Kershaw. Hunter Pence’s hustle turned a grounder to second into an infield hit, allowing Buster Posey to bat in the inning. Posey didn’t let his good friend’s effort go to waste, bouncing a single up the middle for the night’s first run. 

The Dodgers came right back to take the lead. Corey Seager opened the fourth with a walk and Justin Turner and Yasiel Puig singled. With runners on the corners and the game tied, Adrian Gonzalez hit a grounder right at Posey at first. He spun and fed Brandon Crawford for one out and Turner broke for home. Crawford’s throw came up a few inches short and Turner scored. 

Kershaw looked uncomfortable during an early at-bat, but he found his groove in the middle innings. He needed just seven pitches to get through the fifth and eight to set the side down in the sixth. After George Kontos left the bases loaded in the top of the seventh, Kershaw worked around a two-out single in the bottom of the inning. 

The Dodgers called on Jansen with two outs in the eighth and he immediately ran into trouble. Posey singled and Crawford followed with a liner into left that came with a price. Crawford pulled up as he rounded first and was removed with an apparent right groin injury. 

Starting pitching report: Blach’s return to the rotation: 5 innings, 4 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts. Because he hasn’t started since spring training, a rising pitch count knocked him out a bit early.

Bullpen report: Kontos screamed and pumped his fist after blowing Andrew Toles away to end the seventh. Cory Gearrin had put a pair of Dodgers on and an intentional walk of Cody Bellinger loaded them up.

At the plate: Christian Arroyo’s first big league hit was a first-inning single off the best pitcher in the world. Kershaw threw Arroyo a first-pitch fastball at the letters and he smoked it into left. Arroyo’s parents and young siblings arrived in San Francisco in time to watch the moment. 

In the field: Crawford did Crawford Things, including a running catch way out in left field to rob Gonzalez of a bloop single. 

Attendance: The Giants announced a crowd of 41,329 human beings who tried the cell-phone-light rally with a runner on in the seventh. One pitch later, Pence grounded out. 

Up next: Johnny Cueto will try to get back on track. He had a 2.67 ERA in five starts against the Dodgers in his first season in the rivalry. Funky lefty Alex Wood goes for the other side.