Melky Cabrera surprised to hear Chipper's comments, etc.


Melky Cabrera surprised to hear Chipper's comments, etc.

Programming Note: Giants-Braves coverage begins this morning at 8:30 a.m. with Giants Pregame Live and baseball follows from Atlanta at 9 a.m., only on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area!

ATLANTA -- Melky Cabrera was surprised to hear Chipper Jones' critical comments following Wednesday night's game, saying he got along well with the Braves' franchise star when they were teammates in 2010.

RELATED: Chipper calls out Melky for taunting

Jones took offense at Cabrera's body language Wednesday, especially the pelvis-thrusting gesture that he and Gregor Blanco made after Blanco's three-run home run in the 11th inning of the Giants' 9-4 victory. It's a celebratory move that Cabrera and Blanco have done many times this season.

"It won't be forgotten," Jones said.

Cabrera told me he wasn't trying to show up the Braves. Giants manager Bruce Bochy echoed those sentiments.

"No, I don't think Melky means to ... show up another club," Bochy said. "If you know Melky, he's quiet and goes about his business. I think it's more having fun out there than trying to show 'em up."

Still, Bochy said he'd talk to Cabrera before the first pitch of today's game. It also might be a good idea for Bochy to mention the situation to umpires, ensuring they are up to speed in case right-hander Tim Hudson decides to buzz Cabrera. The Giants' worst-case scenario would be if Hudson gets plunked, warnings are issued, and then Madison Bumgarner either tries to even the score or simply misses with a pitch inside and gets tossed as a result.

Bochy said Cabrera has told him he enjoyed his time in Atlanta under Bobby Cox. That's not the story that others have told, though. Whether bad feelings exist or not, the perception is that they do.

In other pregame news, Bochy evaded a question about what he'd do in a save situation. He did talk to Santiago Casilla after the right-hander blew his fifth save attempt in his last eight opportunities. Casilla got cheddar-happy as Freddie Freeman hit a two-out double and Brian McCann hit a tying home run in the 10th.

"He said he felt great out there," Bochy said. "He's just got to slow it down out there a little bit and get back to pitching."

That means throwing that wicked spike curve of his more often, especially with two strikes.

Translation: Bochy still believes Casilla can get the job done over the second half, even if he might need to take a step back in the short term.

Finally, Buster Posey is in the lineup because he caught just six innings Tuesday night and then caught eight relatively smooth innings Wednesday before a 1-1 game went haywire. Bochy said if he hadn't pinch-ran for Posey in the ninth inning, a move he was able to make because of Eli Whiteside's presence, then Posey probably isn't available to catch for him in Thursday's series finale. So Whiteside's presence definitely helped in more ways than one in this series.

Giants spring training Day 9: Bumgarner, Melancon face hitters

Giants spring training Day 9: Bumgarner, Melancon face hitters

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Madison Bumgarner aims to get all 27 outs every time he takes the mound, but on Tuesday the coaching staff gave the ace a nice view of the man who will help out if his nights are cut short. 

Bumgarner threw his first live batting practice session of the spring on the main field at Scottsdale Stadium. Mark Melancon, the new closer, followed him. Both players said they felt good. Both also found things to work on in advance of opening day. 

“Strength-wise I felt pretty good, really good, actually,” Bumgarner said. “My command up in the zone was right where I want it. I’m pretty happy with that. My cutter was pretty straight, but that usually comes around pretty quick.”

Melancon didn’t even throw his go-to cutter, saying he usually pockets it until later in camp. He’s getting the feel for his curveball back because he doesn’t throw it until he reports. Like Bumgarner, Melancon said he’s where he needs to be physically.

“I feel really good,” he said. “In years past there has been some slowness but I don’t feel that this year. I’m right where I want to be.”

The Giants have not finalized a Cactus League rotation, but Bumgarner will likely throw an inning in Friday’s opener. Melancon could follow him, as he’ll throw in the early innings until late March. He said he’ll talk to pitching coach Dave Righetti about closing a game or two over the final days of camp so he can start locking his routine down. It’s probably a lock that he’ll close out that first Bay Bridge Series game back at AT&T Park. 

ICYMI: Here’s actual (shaky) footage of Bumgarner throwing today. At one point, he gave Denard Span a hard time for missing a slider that he was told was coming. Span had a good reason. “I didn't understand him when he said it because of his accent,” he said. 

ICYMI, PART II: The latest podcast is a couple of interviews with Derek Law and Josh Osich. Law explained how he ordered 800 chicken nuggets for his wedding. 

CUETO UPDATE: The Giants now expect Johnny Cueto to join camp this weekend. His status for the WBC is up in the air. Speaking of the WBC, trainer Dave Groeschner will be leaving camp on Feb. 27 to work with manager Hensley Meulens and the Netherlands. Bullpen catcher Taira Uematsu is also working with the team, which opens play in Seoul. Anthony Reyes will be head trainer while Groeschner is gone.

PROSPECT WATCH: Bruce Bochy said right-hander Ray Black was a standout during early live BP sessions. “He had a hell of an outing yesterday,” Bochy said. “They said he was really good.”   Black, 26, still throws 100-plus. He still has command issues, though, with 32 walks in 31 1/3 innings last year. If he can get over that hump and stay healthy, he might rocket to the big leagues.

QUOTABLE: After just about every start last season — most of which were dominant — Bumgarner said he wasn’t happy with his mechanics. He said Tuesday that he’s still searching for the perfect feeling. “I was being a perfectionist,” he said. “If you’re being a perfectionist, I really haven’t had (my mechanics) where I wanted the last couple of years. It’s not like it’s too far off, obviously.”

Johnny Cueto hopes to join Giants camp this weekend

Johnny Cueto hopes to join Giants camp this weekend

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Giants have been watching high-quality clips of Johnny Cueto all spring, even though the co-ace has remained in the Dominican Republic. On Monday, manager Bruce Bochy finally managed to get face-to-face with Cueto. Kind of. 

Cueto spoke to Bochy, trainer Dave Groeschner and others via FaceTime, and all involved finally managed to hammer out a schedule for Cueto’s arrival. Cueto has been in the Dominican Republic tending to his ill father, Domingo, but he is expected to arrive in Scottsdale this weekend. Cueto is working to secure a visa for his father, who will travel with him.

Bochy wanted to have a long discussion with Cueto to get a sense of how ready he’ll be for the World Baseball Classic. Cueto’s participation is still up in the air, and not just because he has missed the first week of camp. There is a chance, Bochy said, that Cueto will choose to stay in Scottsdale to continue taking care of his father. The Dominican Republic opens play in Miami on March 9.

“He said he knows he’s got to make a decision real soon regarding what he does,” Bochy said. “Pitching or not pitching, he’s got to let them know as soon as possible.”

Cueto has been throwing to hitters at a facility in Boca Chica. He threw a 45-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday.