Giants

EXTRAS: Sandoval's weight isn't a hefty issue

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EXTRAS: Sandoval's weight isn't a hefty issue

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Pablo Sandoval arrived in camp with a tighter haircutTuesday. He looked a little trimmer everywhere else, too.He didnt tell anyone what he is registering on the scalethese days, but weight is like age. Its only a number.Yes, the Giants must keep tabs on Sandoval. Yes, he mustcontinue to work out and keep from overindulging. His weight will always be anissue to monitor closely.But its getting overblown.
Even when Sandoval put on at least 10 to 20 pounds lastsummer, it made no noticeable difference in the way he played. He was stilldiving for grounders at third base. His last at-bat had all the energy of hisfirst. He wasnt the same hopelessly out-of-shape player in 2010 who wouldcollapse breathless, hands on knees, after taking a dozen ground balls.Two winters ago, he went through an intensive conditioningprogram for the first time and he didnt just melt off 38 pounds. He also addedmuscle while increasing his flexibility, balance and coordination. He carrieshimself with more confidence because hes a real athlete for the first time.Ive spoken with Ethan Banning, head trainer with TripleThreat Performance, and he told me Sandoval has been even more intensive withhis six-a-week, two-a-day workouts in recent weeks. He did spend a little moretime in Venezuela than he did the previous winter, but hes been able to buildon the foundation that he already created for himself.So after all those hours in the gym, its understandable if Sandoval is starting to get snippyat questions about his weight. By this stage, Id imagine anyone would be.--Ryan Vogelsong was feeling much better and back in campafter his 24-hour flu bug. Hes still expected to miss at least 10 days withhis strained lower back.--Angel Pagan also arrived at his locker today. So did FreddySanchez, who has been doing agility drills, hitting and throwing most of theoffseason here in Scottsdale.Sanchez still hasnt done any throwing besides playingcatch. He hasnt taken infield, other than just picking up ground balls. Hestill hasnt thrown to bases, let alone try to turn the pivot on a double play.Manager Bruce Bochy wasnt sure if that would be in thecards for Sanchez on Friday, when the club has its first full-squad workout. "Itll be pretty close, Bochy said.Expect Sanchez to DH in the first week of spring games, atleast.--Buster Posey returned to full activities and caught BarryZito, then Jeremy Affeldt off a mound. Nothing like a scud-throwing Affeldt togive Posey a good test.Posey and the catchers also practiced swipe tags afterfielding throws hit by fungo-wielding coaches from the outfield. Bochy ledthis portion of the proceedings. As you know, the Giants dont want Posey toblock the plate and theyll make sure those swipe tags become second nature.That doesnt mean they can protect him from all danger.Remember, he wasnt blocking the plate when Scott Cousins plowed into him.--Jeremy Affeldt joined us Monday night on Chronicle Live. Asa thank you, a producer gave him a gift certificate to The House of Prime Rib.Attention, wait staff: Do the Giants a favor and cut hismeat for him, OK?

As Dodgers celebrate, Bochy turns eyes to franchise-altering talent

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USATSI

As Dodgers celebrate, Bochy turns eyes to franchise-altering talent

LOS ANGELES — The Giants left their dugout quickly after Friday’s loss, escaping a celebration on the mound and a fireworks show in the sky. As Dodger Stadium shook with cheers, Bruce Bochy sat in the visiting clubhouse and smiled. He nodded at his laptop, which earlier had been used to pull up highlights of Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani. 

“He’s good,” Bochy said, laughing. “I absolutely would play him every day.”

Earlier in the week, when it became known that Bobby Evans and Jeremy Shelley were headed to Japan to scout Otani, Bochy said he couldn’t imagine a player pitching and then moving to the outfield between starts. What changed? 

Perhaps it was the tape Bochy saw. Otani throws 100 mph and hits homers with ease. Or perhaps it was the game he watched Friday. The Giants lost for the 94th time, with the big blow coming from a 22-year-old Dodgers star. Cody Bellinger’s blast was the difference in a 4-2 win, and the Giants don’t have a Bellinger, or anything close. Otani, 23, is a long shot for a team that very well could finish with the worst record in baseball. Still, he’s the kind of talent that could help pull the Giants closer in a hurry. He’s the  kind of talent they haven’t developed in years, and Bochy certainly sounded a bit wistful as he talked of the power Bellinger has put on display. 

“You call up a guy and he does that — that just doesn’t happen,” he said. “It’s a rare deal.”

The ninth inning of the Dodgers’ clincher reinforced that point for the Giants. They got a homer from Pablo Sandoval, but he’s playing only because Christian Arroyo — the Giants’ best prospect bet this year — is hurt. Ryder Jones, their 23-year-old prospect, struck out to end the night, dropping his average to .180. 

That set off a celebration for Bellinger and the Dodgers. They have won five straight NL West titles, with three of the last four clinched against the Giants. 

“Congrats to them,” Bochy said. “They’ve had a tremendous year across the board, and they’ve played great baseball. They brought some guys up that really did a great job for them. It’s well deserved.”

Bochy said it was not difficult to watch this one. The division has been wrapped up for months, with only a September slide keeping the Dodgers from clinching earlier. 

“We knew what we were facing here,” Bochy said. 

The Giants have two more against the Dodgers and then six more before a long winter. The Dodgers, on the other hand, will host an NLDS series here at Dodger Stadium. Both Bochy and starter Jeff Samardzija made the same observation, that the Dodgers will have a hard time cutting their deep roster down to 25 postseason players. 

That’s a nice problem to have. It’s a foreign one right now for the Giants, who have a serious talent gap and no clear solutions internally. It’s no wonder, then, that Bochy has all of a sudden become so intrigued by a wondrous talent overseas. 

Samardzija hits two milestones, makes 200-200 club in start vs Dodgers

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USATSI

Samardzija hits two milestones, makes 200-200 club in start vs Dodgers

LOS ANGELES — When the Giants gathered for spring training in February, team officials thought they had put together a rotation with four 200-inning arms. The starters didn’t come close to hitting that lofty goal, but one Giant got to the 200-inning mark Friday night. 

Jeff Samardzija hit 200 innings in the third inning Friday night at Dodger Stadium, reaching the standard for the fifth consecutive season. Samardzija also became the first Giant this year to reach 200 strikeouts when he struck out Curtis Granderson to open the second inning. The right-hander will be the only member of the rotation to reach either milestone, with Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto limited by injuries and Matt Moore having a down year. 

“These guys like Jeff that are able to handle that workload that he does and log 200 innings and have durability, that’s invaluable,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “You look at what it does for the ‘pen but also the quality of innings he gives you. His record should be different with how he has thrown the ball — he can’t control that. But the workload itself is important.”

Samardzija became the first Giants right-hander to strike out 200 in a season since Tim Lincecum (220) in 2011. Samardzija joined Carlos Martinez as the only National League pitchers who have thrown 200 innings this year, and Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, Robbie Ray, Martinez and Zack Greinke in the league’s 200-strikeout club.