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.
SAN FRANCISCO — As reporters approached Mark Melancon’s locker Monday afternoon, the closer looked up at a clubhouse clock and smiled.
“I guess it’s 3:30,” he said softly.
A year ago at this time, Giants relievers would have been out in left field jogging and playing catch. The routine was changed a week into the season, and players, coaches and management expressed confusion and frustration Monday about how that became the centerpiece of a FOX Sports article portraying the clubhouse as “boring” and a problem.
The piece, written by Ken Rosenthal and posted Monday morning, said Melancon “rubbed some teammates the wrong way early in the season by putting an end to the bullpen’s 3:30 p.m. stretching session before night games, a practice that the relievers began in 2012.”
Several players mocked the concept as they stretched Monday. Manager Bruce Bochy called it a non-story.
“It’s pole vaulting over mouse turds,” he said.
Melancon defended the move, saying it was made collectively by the revamped bullpen and staff. He said the Giants decided to be better about time management, noting that it did not make sense for the relievers to run and throw an hour before going back on the field with the rest of the team. The decision was made to instead focus on lifting, eating and doing other clubhouse work in the hours leading up to the 4:30 team stretch.
“Really it’s nothing — it’s kind of funny it’s been raised,” Melancon said. “I was brought in to be a leader here and take ownership of the bullpen. In conversations with guys and the coaching staff, we decided to change the stretch time. It was the first series of the year, and from a time management standpoint, it’s been good. I’m shocked, but if this is the reason we’re pointing out (for the team’s record), please bring it on.
“We’re talking about stretching. Stretching,” Melancon added, joking he felt like Allen Iverson.
The story also mentioned Melancon’s routine of spending the first six or seven innings in the clubhouse preparing to pitch. Melancon said he is usually in the bullpen by the fifth or sixth, and noted that that’s been the way of all closers he has worked under, from Mariano Rivera to Jonathan Papelbon.
“I don’t know anyone who has had a problem with (my routine),” he said.
His manager certainly doesn’t. Bochy said every closer he has managed did the same thing because they almost never pitch until the ninth. Of course, that’s where the real problem comes. Melancon has a 4.58 ERA and has blown four saves. He said that should have been the focus of any story about the Giants’ struggles.
“I understand if you lose this many games there’s got to be something to blame, and I’ll take this blame on,” he said. “I haven’t pitched well … There are a lot of things I can be better at with my performance on the field, and that’s first and foremost.”
The Giants expected a bit more on the mound, and Melancon knows it. He owns that part of this. But they have no complaints, sources said, about anything he has done off the field. Several teammates noted Monday that Melancon has also been pitching hurt for a team that’s hopelessly buried in the standings. Melancon also had team employees remodel a small room behind the dugout — adding new seats, a flat screen TV, and inspirational quotes — so relievers were more comfortable while waiting to pitch.
Those are small changes, with nothing to do with how the team has played. And given the way the bullpen pitched last year, any change probably should have been welcomed.
Bud Black and Bruce Bochy issued their lineups for today's series opener at AT&T Park:
1. Charlie Blackmon (L) CF
2. DJ LeMahieu (R) 2B
3. Nolan Arenado (R) 3B
4. Mark Reynolds (R) 1B
5. Raimel Tapia (L) RF
6. Ian Desmond (R) LF
7. Trevor Story (R) SS
8. Tony Wolters (L) C
9. German Marquez (R) P (5-3, 3.92 ERA)
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Hunter Pence (R) RF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Ryder Jones (L) 3B
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
9. Jeff Samardzija (R) P (2-9, 4.74 ERA)