EXTRAS: There's still no stopping Willie Mays


EXTRAS: There's still no stopping Willie Mays

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Willie Mays is more energetic some daysthan others. Thats likely true for most people who have walked this earth for more than 80 years.

When hes up, hes an absolute riot. Wednesday was one ofthose days. As he sat in his usual shoot-the-bull spot with Mike Murphy in theGiants clubhouse, someone introduced Mays to outfielder Gregor Blanco. This isthe kid who went from first to third on a wild pitch the other day. Somethinglike that.

Whered you go? To third?! Mays screeched, to plenty oflaughter. Who stopped you?

As Mays is fond of recalling, he scored from first base on awild pitch. He remembered one similar instance when Art Mahaffey of the Philliesthrew one away and Mays jolted all the way around to score, bashing into Pat Corralesat the plate.

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I spent 45 minutes looking for that box score. Couldnt findit, but I have a hunch Mays is recalling this game on Aug. 15, 1965, when hescored from first on Bo Belinskys errant throw. (Actually, Willie McCovey, whohad hit a roller back to the mound, scored on the play, too. What did Belinskydo, shoot that throw into orbit?)

No matter. Legends require few hard facts.

Only to third?! Mays repeated, as Blanco laughed. Naw,naw, naw. I aint having that!

A day after infielder Joe Panik opened eyes with a terrificat-bat at Camelback Ranch, another young Giants prospect took center stage.

Tommy Joseph collected a pair of RBI singles, including thetiebreaking line drive in a three-run eighth inning that powered the Giants toan 8-6 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

It was a big moment for Joseph, who went to Horizon Highhere in Scottsdale and is really making a name for himself as a solid defenderin addition to a promising power hitter.

Its also hard to believe that Joseph is still a few monthsaway from being able to buy a six-pack.

Great game, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. He caughtwell, made a nice throw, blocked a couple balls there. He lives here, so itsgot to feel good with what he did today. For a young kid, Ill tell you, thatsa great experience to perform like that late in a ballgame.

Josephs playing time might pick up in the next few days.Thats because catcher Hector Sanchez has a mildly tweaked hamstring and willneed to rest for the remainder of the week, Bochy said.

Sanchezs stroke has looked razor sharp thus far, but hefelt his hamstring grab on the basepaths Tuesday at Camelback Ranch.

If you were wondering which on-the-bubble players are out ofminor league options in Giants camp, the list isnt long: utilityman EmmanuelBurriss and catcher Chris Stewart.

Thats a point in their favor as roster decisions are made,since they could be lost on a waiver claim if they dont make the opening-dayclub.

I thought perhaps third baseman Conor Gillaspie might be out of options,but hes got one left.

Stewart had a funny story to relay from Saturdays game at Talking Stick. He was told to get ready to enter the game. He assumed thatwould be to catch, so he began getting his equipment together.

At the last minute, Bochy told him no, he wanted Stewart togo into Aubrey Huffs spot as the DH. The problem: Huff's spot was already on deck.

Then Pablo goes and makes a quick out, Stewart said. Igrab a bat, rush out there and I hit a double off the wall. Later I said,Boch, go ahead and do that to me every time.

Stewart didnt connect against 49-year-old Jamie Moyer,though. In two scoreless innings Wednesday, the ageless wonder got five ground-ball outs(from Huff, Brandon Belt, Ryan Theriot and Brandon Crawford) and allowed onesingle (to Nate Schierholtz).

Moyer struck out one batter: Stewart.

You cant stay back on that guy, Stewart said. I swear,Im gonna bunt every time I face him. Unbelievable. I told someone, I hope Ican still walk at his age.

Nate Schierholtz wasnt lying when he told me he plans to bevery, very active on the basepaths. He stole his second base of the spring onWednesday.

Ryan Vogelsong cannot wait to throw off a mound Thursday.Hes been forced to wait because of a strained lower back.

I am really, really tired of core exercises, he told me.

Giants spring training Day 39: Nuñez receives pair of cortisone shots

Giants spring training Day 39: Nuñez receives pair of cortisone shots

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford will return to camp Thursday, show off their WBC championship medals, and then head to nearby Salt River Fields to take on the Colorado Rockies. It'll be a few more days, however, before the Giants have their full infield on the field. 

Eduardo Nuñez said he actually got two cortisone shots in his right shoulder, since an MRI this week showed “something” in two separate spots. Nuñez asked for the MRI because, while he was able to play and make strong throws, he felt pain on a daily basis. He might DH this weekend, but it'll be a few more days before he's cleared to begin throwing. 

The Giants are hopeful that the shots calm all this down, and Nuñez anticipated being ready for Opening Day. Still, it certainly sounds like this will be a close call. Conor Gillaspie, who is having a huge spring, could get plenty of early time at third. Manager Bruce Bochy doesn't anticipate Nuñez missing Opening Day.

"He should be ready," Bochy said. 

The Giants need all the good injury news they can get. It is expected that Will Smith will announce Friday that he's having Tommy John surgery. 

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Also, one of the bench candidates, Gordon Beckham, asked for his release. The Giants will soon have to make decisions on Hill and David Hernandez, who have similar retention bonuses due March 28.

GAME RECAP: The Giants played one of their uglier games of the spring, losing 9-2 to King Felix and the Mariners … Matt Moore lasted just 1 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on four hits, two walks, a balk and a wild pitch. It was the same old thing: Moore just all of a sudden lost his command, and because he got up past the 30-pitch mark in the second inning alone, the Giants cut it off. Moore went down to the bullpen and got up to around 80 pitches. He'll make one more start down here, Tuesday against the Cubs ... Joe Panik had a hard double, one of just four hits for the Giants … Chris Marrero hasn’t played a whole lot of left field this spring, and he didn’t show much to the coaches on a couple of opportunities to throw home. The left field situation remains a mystery. 

POSITION BATTLES: Kelby Tomlinson played six innings of left field in a minor league game, and he had to wait until the sixth to get his first and only fly ball. There seemed to be a lot of interest from decision-makers about how Tomlinson fared, and his action today opens up an intriguing possibility. There’s a roster permutation that has the Giants keeping just one reserve outfielder (Gorkys Hernandez) and three backup infielders: Conor Gillaspie, Aaron Hill and Kelby Tomlinson, with the latter two being options in left field. 

FAMILIAR FACE: Angel Pagan made it through the WBC healthy, and he apparently is drawing interest from the Phillies and Blue Jays. Giants people are confident Pagan will get a big league job somewhere over the coming week. 

Giants reliever Will Smith leaning toward season-ending Tommy John surgery

Giants reliever Will Smith leaning toward season-ending Tommy John surgery

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Left-hander Will Smith, a key piece of a revamped bullpen, is leaning toward having Tommy John surgery, manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday night. 

Bochy said surgery was the recommendation of both doctors who examined Smith's elbow this week. Smith will talk to his agent before coming to a final decision on Friday. The procedure would keep Smith out the entire 2017 season and likely would cause him to miss the start of the 2018 season.

Smith, 27, missed the first month of camp because of pain in his throwing elbow. He returned March 17, but during a March 20 outing he again felt pain and called for a trainer. A second round of diagnostics revealed a strain and a sprain in the elbow. Smith saw team orthopedist Dr. Ken Akizuki in San Francisco and flew to Los Angeles this week to get a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlen-Jobe Clinic. 

"They had the same opinion," Bochy said. "There is a tear there. You can try to rehab it and if that doesn't work you're behind a couple of months ... It's not a definite he's going to have it done, but two doctors are in agreement on what this is."

Smith was expected to serve as the late lefty for the Giants, getting setup work in the seventh and eighth innings. With Smith out, the Giants will lean on young lefties Steven Okert, Josh Osich and Ty Blach. 

"We're going to have to have someone step up and help us in the seventh and eighth," Bochy said. "That was going to be will's role. He's a guy we were leaning on."

Smith was acquired from the Brewers at the deadline last season in exchange for right-hander Phil Bickford (who is currently serving a 50-game suspension) and catcher Andrew Susac (who is currently injured). After a shaky start, he finished the regular season with 18 consecutive scoreless appearances. 

The Giants have for the most part avoided Tommy John for 40-man roster pitchers. Hunter Strickland, Derek Law and Josh Osich have all had it during their time in the organization, along with outfielder Mac Williamson. Prospect Ian Gardeck is currently recovering from Tommy John. The last Giants pitcher who was likely headed for the roster before having Tommy John was left-hander Eric Surkamp. He had surgery in 2012.

The timetable is different for every pitcher, but the general consensus is that the procedure sidelines a pitcher for at least a year, and usually closer to 16 months. Matt Moore, Thursday night’s starter, had Tommy John on April 23, 2014. He did not return to a big league mound until July 2, 2015, and even then, he was under restrictions. 

Smith is under team control for two more seasons after this one.