Giants

Giants spring training Day 2: Posey makes sure he catches Melancon

Giants spring training Day 2: Posey makes sure he catches Melancon

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Buster Posey has always made a point of catching up-and-coming prospects during spring bullpen sessions. When the pitchers lined up Tuesday morning at Scottsdale Stadium, Posey made sure he was standing in front of a 31-year-old right-hander. 

With his spring limited by the World Baseball Classic, Posey wants to spend as much time as possible with new closer Mark Melancon. That process started during the first round of bullpen sessions, and Posey said he’ll also schedule a few Cactus League appearances with Melancon so they can discuss and tweak a specific plan on the mound. 

“I’ve faced him and watched him a lot,” Posey said. “I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what he wants to do, but we’ll obviously sit down (this spring) and talk.”

Posey said the two will schedule around the WBC, and even if Team USA goes all the way to the championship, he’ll still find a way to work specifically with Melancon in the days leading up to the opener. As for the second day at Scottsdale Stadium, here are some other highlights … 

FAMILIAR FACES: Ellis Burks and Cody Ross are in camp as guest instructors, and Ross — who lives in the area — said he’ll be around the whole time. Robb Nen, Jeff Kent, Rich Aurilia and others will be in camp later, and Barry Bonds is expected at some point. 

Ross had that familiar smile going as he hit grounders. He’s only two years removed from his playing days, and you can bet he’ll get the itch once the position players all arrive later in the week. 

“He told me he’d like to enter (the left field competition),” Bochy joked. “He’s changed his mind about coaching.”

LIGHTER SIDE: One of the many tedious drills involves pitchers standing up against an outfield wall and fielding three grounders from a coach. When Madison Bumgarner stepped in the first grounder came in too soft, so Bumgarner dropped his glove to his side and bounced it off his chest. 

As for his main job, here's an Oscars-quality video of Bumgarner, Melancon and George Kontos doing baseball things. 

CUETO UPDATE: The Giants still don’t have an exact arrival date for Johnny Cueto, who is tending to his father in the Dominican Republic, but Bochy said Cueto planned to visit the club’s facility there on Tuesday to throw a bullpen session. He has already done so several times to prepare for the WBC and coaches have watched video of the sessions. Still, Bochy and pitching coach Dave Righetti will meet with Cueto when he arrives to make sure he’s ready for a ramped-up spring. 

ICYMI: Bruce Bochy's State of the Union was mostly a State of the Bullpen. Here's what he had to say. Speaking of the bullpen, the Giants added David Hernandez to the mix.

Giancarlo Stanton to Giants? Upside vs downside from Marlins perspective

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USATI

Giancarlo Stanton to Giants? Upside vs downside from Marlins perspective

Because we are too cool to allow the games to sustain us and because we all think the purpose of sports is actually not to be the best player but the general manager, the new item on the baseball menu is not the pennant races but “Where should Giancarlo Stanton go?”

The usual suspects are listed – the Yankees, the Giants, the Chunichi Dragons, Real Madrid – and the $295 million still on his contract is not considered an impediment.

But the logic behind the Marlins keeping him is just as clear and more pressing. Namely, Bruce Sherman, the incoming owner, and Derek Jeter, the designated face, did not buy this team and promptly try to make themselves detested by the few people who still care about it.

So far, we know that the monstrous thing in center field (no, not Christian Yelich) is likely to be torn down, and that Stanton is don’t-go-to-the-bathroom-during-his-half-inning entertainment. Beyond that, we know only that the Marlins draw when they win a lot and barely at all the rest of the time. They are clearly a distant third in a four-team race with the Dolphins and Heat for people’s hearts, and now that hating Jeffrey Loria’s living guts are off the table for the fans, there really is no there, there.

So what’s the up-side of moving Stanton (and before we go any further, the Giants don’t have nearly enough assets to make that work, so calm the hell down) for the Marlins? Prospects, the dark hole that makes a three-year plan a six-year plan.

And the down-side? Sherman may as well move the team for the level of fun he’ll get from it, and the only reason to buy a team looking at a $60 million loss is for the fun. Besides, onlky a very few owners have ever made the full turn from villain to hero – the first impression almost always lasts forever.

So while Stanton may create immediate wallet relief for this aggressively average team (their current record of 57-61 is the 12th best in their 25-year history, and they’ve only had eight winning seasons ever), they also have nothing to sell the fans that they have to live with every day. And if they don’t have enough fans . . . well, I hear San Jose is always hot for a mediocre franchise that lurches between spending money and hoarding it.

 

Giants lineup: Posey out, Sandoval hitting cleanup vs Marlins

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AP

Giants lineup: Posey out, Sandoval hitting cleanup vs Marlins

Bruce Bochy and Don Mattingly issued their lineups for today's series finale in Miami:

Giants (48-73) 
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Hunter Pence (R) RF
3. Jarrett Parker (L) LF
4. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Nick Hundley (R) C
7. Ryder Jones (L) 1B
8. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 2B
9. Matt Cain (R) P (3-9, 5.22 ERA)

Marlins (57-61) 
1. Dee Gordon (L) 2B
2. Giancarlo Stanton (R) RF
3. Christian Yelich (L) CF
4. Marcell Ozuna (R) LF
5. J.T. Realmuto (R) C
6. Derek Dietrich (L) 3B
7. Tomas Telis (S) 1B
8. Mike Aviles (R) SS
9. Jose Urena (R) P (10-5, 3.76 ERA)