Giants spring training Day 24: Cueto feels good after long throwing session

Giants spring training Day 24: Cueto feels good after long throwing session

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants have never had any questions about Johnny Cueto's durability, but there were some slight concerns when he missed the early weeks of camp while tending to his ill father. Coaches were curious to see how Cueto would look in person. They're no longer curious. 

"How'd you like that?!" one coach cracked to reporters after Cueto threw 65 pitches in a live BP session.

Yes, Cueto is the same as he ever was. The man who threw five complete games last season barely even took a breather while ramping up the pitch count. Cueto took one break, grabbing water from pitching coach Dave Righetti. Then he went back to quick-pitching prospects, finishing off the marathon session with a shimmy. 

Cueto said he feels great physically. Through interpreter Erwin Higueros, he said he hasn’t ruled out the WBC. He will make two starts down here before making any decision.

“I want to pitch (but) I want to see how I feel,” he said. “If I get to make two starts and I feel good, then maybe I’ll go to the WBC.”

Cueto said he’ll have to see how his father is doing, because he doesn’t want to leave him so soon after a hospital visit. It seems the only way he could play is if the Dominican Republic advances all the way, in which case he could fly to Los Angeles for the semifinals or final. 

GAME RECAP: The Giants won 6-5 on Chris Marrero's second walk-off homer of the spring. Marrero has four homers, leading the team by a pair. 

"I think he likes Arizona," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's throwing out good at-bats and doing a good job. We're excited to have him. He's a threat, that's what you love about him. Even with two strikes, he still got a good swing off."

That last part is key. Today was the first really hot day down in Arizona and the ball is starting to fly, so guys are going to start piling up numbers. Bochy is looking at the quality of the at-bats, and Marrero has been on-point even when making outs. He hasn't played much in the outfield, but he showed off a strong arm during pre-game drills Wednesday. He's doing all he can do at the moment. 

Hunter Pence had a triple and Michael Morse and Jarrett Parker drove in runs as the Giants edged a very talented Puerto Rico squad. If you pick just a handful of WBC games to watch, check out Puerto Rico. The Lindor-Baez-Correa infield is absurd, and Lindor and Baez teamed up early in Wednesday's game for a slick double play. 

CALLING HIS SHOT: Morse said he was going to hit a homer. And then he hit a homer. Here's an update on where he stands as the Giants hit their first off day of the spring. 

ICYMI: An interview with Conor Gillaspie was the latest podcast. You can stream it here. There will be one more podcast this week, so subscribe here (and maybe leave a review?)

ANTHONY REYES' TRAINER'S ROOM: All is good. Eduardo Nuñez was cleared to play third base Wednesday and Conor Gillaspie is also fine after a bout of sore arm.

QUOTABLE: "I don't fumble. I don't jump on fumbles, either." -- Jeff Samardzija, during a conversation about pitcher defense. 

Not a chicken-and-egg discussion: Three reasons why Giants are so boring

Not a chicken-and-egg discussion: Three reasons why Giants are so boring

To best understand what has happened to the San Francisco Giants, one must first decide whether or not they have abandoned hope, or just energy.

I mean, that is the new kneejerk position based on losing 18 of 22 games this month by an average margin of more than a run and a half per game, losing to the Phillies, Royals, Braves and Mets, falling five games behind the San Diego Padres and eight games behind the non-noisy neighbors in Oakland, and since the All-Star Break last year, they are 57-93, the equivalent of the third-worst record in franchise history.

Really, to see a happy thing in this team other than Buster Posey is an act of rankest delusion. What hope would you expend on this team?

But there’s a new element involved now, if you take Ken Rosenthal’s report for FoxSports.com on the team’s internal crises at face value.

Apparently the Giants are boring their own management.

According to Rosenthal, the almost stultifying quiet of the clubhouse has become a concern to general manager Bobby Evans and perhaps even to those to whom he reports.

In citing the contributions of such ‘edgy” personalities as Pat Burrell, Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff in 2010, Hunter Pence in ’12 and Pence, Michael Morse and Pablo Sandoval (huh?) in ’14, Rosenthal suggested that the team is too staid – something that winning 38 percent of your games for an entire calendar year will do to you.

“I don’t think I can be definitive in my answers,” Evans was quoted by Rosenthal as saying, “but it’s not lost on us that we’re maybe a little quieter clubhouse than we’ve been in the past. I can’t answer that as being a factor or not.” He then followed up with the always circuitous they’d-be-louder-if-we-weren’t-such-a-tedious-watch argument, which seems self-evident but can’t really be proven one way or another.

But Rosenthal also credited “some with the Giants” as suggesting that the team even misses Angel Pagan, who allegedly help unite the clubhouse because so few of them liked him.

And now we’ve hit the motherlode of bizarre excuses. Angel Pagan is hurting the Giants far more by leaving them than by being with them. And this is, if you’ll pardon the expression, richly stupid.

Not Rosenthal, whom we can presume did his usual diligent work and correctly quoted “some with.” No, our problem is with the thinking that inspired “some with,” because you have to go a long way to make that explanation stick.

The Giants are playing terribly because, well, they are. Their pitching, which has to be in the top sixth of the league for this plan to work, is below average in many of the important metrics. Their offense is horrendous. Their outfield is a disaster. They are 27-51 purely on the merits.

That they are also boring is coincidence rather than causation, because nobody said they were boring after the All-Star Break last year, and nobody accused them of being boring in Game 4 of the National League Division Series with Chicago.

Boring is what you seize on when every other excuse, including the Mark Melancon-doesn’t-stretch-when-he’s-supposed-to straw man Rosenthal also threw up for chewing.

The truth is this, as much as anything. They are bad. They didn’t think they would be bad. They thought the second half of last year was an aberration rather than a harbinger, and they thought they could have gone to the World Series but for one hideous inning. And they are apparently shocked by this for some reason.

So, are they moping, or are they quitting? Do they need a clubhouse visit from Brian Sabean at his most pissed? What’s the thing that makes them fun guys again – other than, say, a five-way trade that gets them Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Cody Bellinger and Nolan Arenado?

Because there’s your problem. Yes, they certainly are boring – downright stultifying, in fact. But this is not a chicken-and-egg discussion. They’re boring because they’ve been brutal, because they were slow to address their needs after misdiagnosing their problems, and because all their calculations from years gone by have gone badly wrong.

But if you really think boring is the issue, let’s have Bruce Bochy dress in a clown suit and Pence play outfield in just a sliding pants and a derby, and have one inning per game designated as the Wild Dingo Surprise Inning, in which wild dingoes are loosed upon the field to terrorize the players and/or fans.

See how many wins you get then.

What's wrong with Giants? 'There's no trust, there's no belief...'

What's wrong with Giants? 'There's no trust, there's no belief...'

The Giants have dropped 12 of their last 13 games and 21 of the last 26 en route to a NL West-worst 27-51 record.

Their play on the field is making it tough for one of their broadcasters to watch what's going on.

"It is unbelievably bad right now. It was hard to watch this weekend," Mike Krukow said on KNBR 680 on Monday morning. "They got beat every way that was possible. They got out hit, they got out hustled, they got out defended, they got out pitched."

So what is the problem with the team that just got swept by the Mets?

"There's no rhythm, there's no trust, there's no belief that if you don't get a hit, the guy behind you is going to pick you up. They set the table and day after day, they just don't get the hit. It has zapped them of all their strength. You get the sense they're searching, they're looking for an ignitor that just doesn't exist anymore," Krukow said.

The former Giants pitcher compared the feeling around the team to that of the 1985 Giants team that went 62-100.

"It is dismal, as low of a point in a Giants clubhouse and a confidence level that I've seen in a long time," Krukow said.

Krukow pointed out the most concerning part about what he's watching.

"It just doesn't feel like there's a belief that it can get better. And that's what is so concerning. These guys are proud," Krukow said.

Krukow had one lasting message for the Giants.

"They have to fight through this. They have to stay together. That's their only chance," Krukow said.