EXTRAS: Runzler update, Melkys monster spring

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EXTRAS: Runzler update, Melkys monster spring

Dan Runzler is on the shelf after aggravating his latissimusdorsi muscle, but said he is feeling better after receiving a platelet-richplasma treatment in San Francisco on Thursday.The initial timeframe of a return to throwing has been scaled back from threeto four weeks to two to three weeks.Before flying to San Francisco for the PRP treatment,Runzler visited noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews, who looked at Runzlers MRIsand determined that surgery wouldnt be necessary. Runzler went 1-2 with a 6.26 ERA last season and left the Giants final game ofthe regular season with a tear in his lat muscle.

--Maybe Melky Cabrera is hearing the peanut gallery callinghis 2011 breakout season a fluke.RELATED: Posey, Sanchez return; Giants beat Reds 6-3
After hitting .305 with 18 home runs and 87 RBIs with the Kansas City Royalslast season, he was shipped to San Francisco for Jonathan Sanchez. There isskepticism among media members and fans that he cant match his career yearnumbers from 2011.But Cabrera is off to a blazing hot start in the Cactus League, including histhird home run of the spring Friday. Cabrera took Reds righty Sam LeCure deep on a towering two-run shot way over theright-field fence in the 3rd inning.For the spring, Cabrera is hitting .588 with six RBIs and only one strikeout in17 at bats. --Brandon Belt was the only other Giant to homer against theReds, as he sent Chad Reinekes 3-1 pitch over the wall in right field in the 8thinning.It was Belts second shot of the springand upped his average to .389. Belt didnt get the start on Friday, butentered the game as a defensive replacement for Nate Schierholtz in right fieldin the 6th inning.Belt also flashed the leather in right, catching a sinking line drive off hisshoetops to rob Miguel Rojas of a hit in the 8th inning.
RELATED: Sanchez has quiet debut, may start at second base Monday
--The Giants have confirmed an earlier report of a one-yearagreement with Madison Bumgarner. The team also announced that they have agreedto terms on contracts for all 19 of their players with 0-to-3 years of servicetime. One such player is Buster Posey, who made 575,000 last season.--Heath Hembree had been perfect so far this spring heading into Fridays game,pitching two scoreless innings with two strikeouts.The hard-throwing closer-in-waiting allowed his first run of the spring againstthe Reds, as he was called upon in the ninth and gave up an RBI double toDaniel Dorn after issuing a one-out walk to Wilson Valdez.Hembree rebounded by striking out the next two batters to end the game and givethe Giants a 6-3 win.RELATED: Giants' Cain in midseason form after two spring starts
In his last outing, Hembrees velocity was reportedly down and it didnt liveup to the hype on Friday, either. While the 94-96 he hit Friday is nothing to laugh at, Hembree has made a namefor himself by living in the 98-100 range last season with San Jose andRichmond.--One last light note to close out the final post of the day from Scottsdale.After taking batting practice, Buster Posey walked back to the dugout to achorus of screaming kids asking for his autograph.Posey obliged and began to take sharpies, jerseys and baseballs from allangles.As he was signing, one young fan asked him Buster, why areyou so good?Before Posey could answer (as if he could come up with a humble response),another youngster handled the question for him: Because he just is

Giants spring training Day 10: Bochy on board with new rules

Giants spring training Day 10: Bochy on board with new rules

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — During his season managing Barry Bonds, Bruce Bochy watched the slugger get intentionally walked 43 times. 

“There were (managers) who had the (signal) up before he even got to the batter’s box,” Bochy said Wednesday. 

That’s part of the reason Bochy is completely on board with a new rule stating that managers only have to signal for an intentional walk. The elimination of the four pitches has been approved by MLB and the MLBPA, with the caveat that a manager can change his mind in the middle of the plate appearance. 

“I’m fine with it,” Bochy said. “I know a few pitchers are happy because they kind of have a thing about throwing (those pitches), not on our team, but last year it happened to us and we didn’t go. I’m fine with it.”

It’s rare that an intentional ball would go to the backstop, but the Giants experienced it last year against the Yankees. Dellin Betances threw wide as he tried to put Brandon Crawford on and Angel Pagan didn’t react quickly enough to score from third. 

Bochy met with league officials last week to go over some of the new rules and ideas, and he said he wants MLB to keep pushing to cut the time of games. 

“We talk about it so much but we really haven’t done a lot,” Bochy said. “I’m all for (limiting mound visits). I’m all for it, I am. It’s gotten more and more popular in the game. It used to be the catcher, and now it’s the catcher and infielders, and they go to the mound and come back and then the pitching coach goes out there.”

EXHIBITION SCHEDULE: Bochy said Madison Bumgarner is currently slated to start Friday’s Cactus League opener, with Matt Cain also throwing an inning. Ty Blach will start Saturday, Matt Moore and Tyler Beede will pitch Sunday, and Jeff Samardzija will start Monday. It’s possible that 18 or 20 different pitchers will take the mound over the first two days since almost all of them will be scheduled for just three outs. With the exception of Will Smith, every projected Giant should see the field this weekend. Hunter Pence is the only guy who has been held back at all, but his intercostal issue has cleared up. Pence put several on the left-field berm during BP on Wednesday.

“Hunter wants to (play Friday). He's ready to go,” Bochy said. “I’ll make that call tomorrow once I talk to the staff, but Hunter assured me he’s a full go with no limitations, and he really wants to play.”

PROSPECT WATCH: Bochy took the van over to the minor league facility to watch some of the projected Triple-A players take part in live BP. Jae-gyun Hwang hit a homer off Jose Dominguez during his session. 

“He’s a guy that rotates (well) and he’s got good power,” Bochy said. “He can go the other way. He’s got some bat control. He’s got a nice swing.”

Over on the main field, Gorkys Hernandez hit an impressive homer to left-center. 

ICYMI: From this morning, Smith is being held out of workouts. Reporters spoke to him in the afternoon and he said there’s no concern. Also, here’s a podcast with Derek Law and Josh Osich. Subscribe on iTunes if you haven’t … there’s a very popular Giant coming soon.

QUOTABLE: Smith missed time last season because he tore a knee ligament while taking his shoe off, so this spring’s speed bump is somewhat easier to take. He had a message for the trainers: “I said I’m going to sit down every day this spring,” when I take my shoes off.

MLB players’ union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

MLB players’ union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

NEW YORK -- There won't be any wild pitches on intentional walks this season.

The players' association has agreed to Major League Baseball's proposal to have intentional walks without pitches this year.

"It doesn't seem like that big of a deal. I know they're trying to cut out some of the fat. I'm OK with that," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.

While the union has resisted many of MLB's proposed innovations, such as raising the bottom of the strike zone, installing pitch clocks and limiting trips to the mound, players are willing to accept the intentional walk change.

"As part of a broader discussion with other moving pieces, the answer is yes," union head Tony Clark wrote Wednesday in an email to The Associated Press. "There are details, as part of that discussion, that are still being worked through, however."

The union's decision was first reported by ESPN .

"I'm OK with it. You signal. I don't think that's a big deal," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "For the most part, it's not changing the strategy, it's just kind of speeding things up. I'm good with it."

There were 932 intentional walks last year, including 600 in the National League, where batters are walked to bring the pitcher's slot to the plate.

"You don't want to get your pitcher out of a rhythm, and when you do the intentional walk, I think you can take a pitcher out of his rhythm," Girardi said. "I've often wondered why you don't bring in your shortstop and the pitcher stand at short. Let the shortstop walk him. They're used to playing catch more like that than a pitcher is."

Agreement with the union is required for playing rules changes unless MLB gives one year advance notice, in which case it can unilaterally make alterations. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope Tuesday that ongoing talks would lead to an agreement on other changes but also said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Some changes with video review can be made unilaterally, such as shortening the time to make a challenge.

"I know they were thinking about putting in a 30-second (limit) for managers to make a decision," Francona said. "I actually wish they would. I think it would hustle it up and if we can't tell in 30 seconds, maybe we shouldn't be doing it anyway."