Giants might have rotation depth with Petit


Giants might have rotation depth with Petit

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. They say pitching is forever in demand.This time a year ago, Yusmeiro Petit had his doubts.

Petit, 27, had been released out of his minor leaguecontract by the Seattle Mariners. He went home to Miami and waited for thephone to ring. A month passed and nobody called.

I didnt want to go to Mexico, he said. But I need it.

Petit built strength in his troublesome shoulder whilepitching in Oaxaca, then started finding his groove with Margarita in theVenezuelan winter league. His manager there was Giants hitting coach HensleyMeulens and his bench coach was Giants roving infield instructor Jose Alguacil.Both of them used their influence to get him a minor league contract, whichPetit signed in November.

He went on to become one of the best pitchers in Venezuela.Tigres de Aragua picked him up for the playoffs and he was named MVP of thechampionship series.

Now hes back on the cusp of being back in the big leagues.

Petit pitched well enough in minor league camp to get acouple of opportunities in Cactus League games, and hes taken advantage ofthem. He pitched three scoreless innings of relief on Sunday and added fivemore Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, starting in place of MadisonBumgarner. (The Giants didnt want Bumgarner to face an NL West rival, eventhough the two clubs dont meet until May.)

Petit held the Dodgers to four hits, walked one and struckout four in the Giants' 4-1 victory at Scottsdale Stadium. His slider had good movement and his fastball was mostly near thebottom of the zone.

Its only eight innings, but Petit already is racing up thedepth chart. Especially with Eric Surkamps elbow requiring a couple weeks ofrest, the Giants dont have many attractive alternatives for their rotation.And teams never make it through a season with just five starting pitchers. RyanVogelsong is still building arm strength after his back injury, while BarryZito forever will be cause for concern.

Petit has starting experience, but not a track record ofsuccess. He was 3-10 with a 5.82 ERA in 23 games (17 starts) for the ArizonaDiamondbacks in 2009. He has appeared in 150 big league games overall for theDiamondbacks and Florida Marlins.

He knows how to pitch, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. Heuses both sides of the plate, hes got savvy out there and good stuff, too. Itsencouraging to know weve got him down there. Were trying to get him stretchedout and hes doing a good job.

Petit said his winter ball experience gave him theconfidence he needed, and hes got a better feel for his cutter and slider.

Ive been throwing a good ball, especially down in thezone, Petit said. Fastball and cutter look the same. Thats hard for thehitters rhythm. My feeling is to stay here, work hard and if they need somethingand call me, thats good.

Hes also glad to have Venezuelas regular-season MVP,Gregor "White Shark" Blanco in his side.

Blanco, I faced him a lot, Petit said, smiling. He got acouple knocks.

Five mistakes that will haunt Giants after 77th loss of 2017

Five mistakes that will haunt Giants after 77th loss of 2017

SAN FRANCISCO — If the Giants were in a different situation, Tuesday night’s loss was the kind that really would sting for a few days. As is, it was simply loss No. 77 in a stunningly bad season. 

The Giants went down 4-3 in somewhat familiar fashion, with their offense failing to break through and their bullpen coming up short. But this loss, No. 77, was also about small mistakes, both mental and physical. Let’s count down some of the ways the Giants went down:

--- Gorkys Hernandez, a late addition to the lineup because Hunter Pence has a tight hamstring, dropped a fly ball in deep right in the fourth inning. That cost Jeff Samardzija a run and a few more pitches. Bruce Bochy said Pence likely will be off Wednesday and then return Friday in Arizona. 

--- Bochy pulled Samardzija after just 89 pitches, and it was certainly peculiar in the moment. The thing is, the intention fit in with the reality of this season. Samardzija has carried a heavy load and Bochy was trying to protect his arm a bit. 

“The inning before, he logged some pitches,” Bochy said. “I’ve worked him pretty hard and I’m really looking after him as much as anything. We’re trying to give some guys a break and it didn’t work out. We had some guys lined up in the seventh, eighth, ninth — it just didn’t work out in the seventh.”

--- You can’t really argue with protecting a big-money pitcher in a down year. But Bochy probably wishes he had chosen someone other than Albert Suarez, who was fresher than others but has now given up runs in six of seven appearances. Suarez turned a one-run lead into a one-run deficit. It was more glaring when Kyle Crick entered and pitched 1 1/3 sharp innings. 

--- The Giants still had a chance — it helped that the Brewers took a dominant Josh Hader out of the game just because he’s a lefty and Nick Hundley bats right-handed — and they put two on in the eighth. Denard Span hit a soft single to right and Phil Nevin waved Hundley, who has catcher’s legs. He was out by a mile. Bochy said he was fine with forcing the issue there, although that’s a call Nevin probably wants back. 

Another twist on the play: Bochy could have put speedy Orlando Calixte in for Hundley and then moved Pablo Sandoval over to first in the next inning, with Calixte at third. He didn’t second-guess that decision.

“He was out pretty easily,” Bochy said. “I don’t know if a little more speed would have helped out.”

--- In the bottom of the ninth, Kelby Tomlinson singled. He was promptly caught stealing second with the heart of the order coming up. Again, a decision that went the visiting team’s way. 

Those moments could be defended or second-guessed. On another night, maybe they all work out and the Giants win 3-2, or 6-4. On this night, it was simply a familiar script, and loss No. 77.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 4-3 loss to Brewers


Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 4-3 loss to Brewers


SAN FRANCISCO — Just when it seemed the Giants were starting to find some continuity in their bullpen, they have taken a couple of steps back. 

Two days after Hunter Strickland imploded late, Albert Suarez gave up the lead. The Giants lost 4-3 to the Brewers in a game that dragged. The Brewers did open the window a bit in the bottom of the eighth and Denard Span bounced a single to right with two outs and two on. Phil Nevin waved Nick Hundley all the way around third and Hundley was thrown out by 10 feet to end the inning. 

Anyway, here are five other things to know … 

—- Just one of Jeff Samardzija’s six innings went 1-2-3, and Bruce Bochy turned to the bullpen after just 89 pitches. Samardzija was charged with two runs, one of them earned. It was a little odd that he came out so early. 

—- Suarez entered in the seventh with a one-run lead and gave up two runs before being lifted. He has allowed a run in six of his last seven appearances. 

—- Brandon Crawford momentarily gave the Giants the lead with a two-run homer, his 11th. He is definitely starting to hit his stride. Crawford has four extra base hits and six RBI on the homestand. 

—- Why is it so hard for the Giants to sign power bats? Well, just ask Eric Thames. He hit a 433-foot blast to lead off the third but ended up with just a triple when it bounced off the top of the bricks in right-center. Per Statcast data, Thames is the first player in the last three years to hit a ball more than 430 feet and not get a homer. He was stranded at third. 

—- Over in Sacramento, a couple of rehab appearances went as planned. Johnny Cueto threw three scoreless innings for the River Cats; he will make at least one more minor league start. Joe Panik was 0-for-2 in five innings; he will join the San Jose Giants on Wednesday for another rehab game.