Giants awarded claim on Royals LHP Mijares


Giants awarded claim on Royals LHP Mijares

ST. LOUIS -- The Giants were awarded a waiver claim on Kansas City Royals left-hander Jose Mijares, the club announced Monday.

Mijares was added to the 40-man roster and will join the active, 25-man roster once he reports, club officials said.

Mijares, 27, was 2-2 with a 2.56 ERA while appearing in 51 games, making him the fifth-most used relief pitcher in the American League. He has allowed 36 hits and 13 walks in 38 23 innings while striking out 37.

The native Venezuelan was in his first season with the Royals after spending parts of the previous four years with the Minnesota Twins. He made five postseason appearances with Minnesota in 2009 and '10.

Mijares was unscored upon in 11 appearances in June and last appeared Friday against Texas, when he allowed two runs in a third of an inning and surrendered a home run to the Rangers' Mitch Moreland. It was the first homer Mijares had allowed this season to left-handed hitters, who own a .212 average against him; right-handers are hitting .295 against him.

The Giants have been searching actively on the waiver wire for bullpen help; Mijares is expected to be more of a one-inning pitcher to complement situational lefty Javier Lopez and setup man Jeremy Affeldt. The club remains on the lookout for a right-hander, and the pool could deepen as some clubs fall out of the race in August.

Mijares had to pass through all other American League clubs as well as NL teams with inferior records to get to the Giants, who were only required to pick up the remainder of his 925,000 salary. Mijares is eligible for arbitration two more times and won't be able to file for free agency until after the 2014 season, at the earliest.

The Giants are currently carrying 13 pitchers and manager Bruce Bochy indicated on Sunday that he doesn't envision that changing anytime soon. The team is coming off a successful series at Coors Field, but the bullpen had trouble pitching effectively in garbage time.

Samardzija's strong outing gets Giants back on winning track


Samardzija's strong outing gets Giants back on winning track


Jeff Samardzija pitched 6 1/3 innings of two-run baseball to help the Giants snap a five-game losing streak.

Giants respond to Melancon report: 'It’s pole vaulting over mouse turds'

Giants respond to Melancon report: 'It’s pole vaulting over mouse turds'

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.