Programming note: For all the latest baseball news from spring training, watch Raising Arizona every Tuesday night at 6:30 and 10 p.m. only on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Bruce Bochy had three-fifths of his rotation throwing live batting practice at the same time Friday morning.
Tim Hudson was on the mound at Scottsdale Stadium. Ryan Vogelsong and Tim Lincecum were on the back field.
Bochy went a third route.
“I’m seeing the kids,” he said, shortly before hopping in a car to the minor league complex, where Kyle Crick, Derek Law and other prospects were facing hitters for the first time this spring.
Bochy reasoned that he’ll have plenty of time to see “his guys” this spring, and he wanted to get a better look at some of the young arms he’s seen mostly on tape or described in scouting reports.
But you wonder if it also sends a signal of sorts. If Bochy were truly fretting about his three back-end starters, all three of whom must bounce back from injury, spotty effectiveness or both, wouldn’t he want to train both eyes on them when they faced hitters for the first time?
Bochy considered the time at the complex well spent. As for Crick, the organization’s top prospect, Bochy lauded the 21-year-old’s poise.
“He looked good, threw strikes,” said Bochy, who also was impressed with Law. “Good, moving fastball, two breaking balls, a changeup, hides the ball well – you see a lot of things you like in a pitcher.”
Crick is expected to begin at Double-A Richmond and probably won’t crack the majors this season. Law hasn’t pitched above Single-A San Jose (where he struck out 45 and walked one) but he excelled in the Arizona Fall League and has an outside chance to win a bullpen job.
“Really, all the pitchers, I like where they are,” Bochy said.
Another day of live batting practice, another opposite-field home run for Michael Morse. This one came off Jean Machi.
Hunter Pence also connected off Sergio Romo, who got hit pretty hard in his first time facing hitters. He looked sharp in his bullpen sessions, though, so the hunch here is he was just working on fastball command.
Pablo Sandoval really is much quicker at third base, especially when he’s charging slow rollers. The difference is astounding, actually.
Another Giant moving much better in infield drills is Tony Abreu, who dealt with knee problems last season. There’s a reason management has been so patient with Abreu. He was very quick and agile while working at second base.
There will be an intrasquad scrimmage on Tuesday, one day before the Cactus League opener. Usually prospects make up both rosters and they play three innings or thereabouts.
Santiago Casilla finally arrived in camp (along with right-hander Jose De Paula) after sorting out his visa issues. De Paula participated in the workout and Casilla expected to throw to hitters on Saturday.
As you might know, Casilla’s younger brother, Jose, nine years his junior, is also in camp with the Giants. They do bear a striking resemblance to one another.
Bochy pulled aside the younger Casilla one morning for a bit of fun:
“If your brother doesn’t show, you’re on the team,” Bochy joked.
Andres Torres dropped by Giants camp today and said his heel is doing well following surgery in September. Torres said he hopes to be ready to play again at the end of May or early June, and he hopes to latch on with another organization.
He didn’t angle for a contract when he spoke with Bochy and other coaches, but he did tell me that he loved living in San Francisco so much that he plans to move there full-time.
Oh, and because I know you’re curious … he was wearing white jeans with lots of embroidery and a constricting blue polo shirt that might have been a youth large.
“He still hasn’t found a shirt that fits him,” said Bochy, “but he looks good.”