Righetti a coach, a counselor for Giants

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Righetti a coach, a counselor for Giants

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Melky Cabrera is the last reportee to arrive in Giants camp, which means that most of the other reasons why the Giants frustrated their fans so much in 2011 are already working toward a sunnier 2012.

This comes as a relief of sort for pitching coach Dave Righetti, who spent an awful lot of his energy last year monitoring for fires from his burdened pitching staff.

Thats not unusual, he lied a bit. Thats been a part of the thing since 2005 or so. The park we play in, the production we got, youre always looking to see if the pitchers are getting frustrated and maybe losing some of the focus they should have.

That much is true; since the end of 2004, the Giants have ranked 29th, 24th, 29th, 29th, 26th, 17th and 29th in run production. And the pitching has operated in a somewhat stark contrast; 17th, 22nd, 9th, 17th, 2nd, first and second in ERA.

But there was a difference in 2011. The Giants had just tasted glory, and had the headlight-sized rings to show for it. But injuries and stunning underproduction from the healthy caused them to score a hideous 570 runs, the ninth-worst in franchise history and the second-lowest in the 162-game era, while the pitchers allowed 578, the third-best in the 162-game era.

It went deeper than that. They were also 120th (out of 129 years) in on-base percentage, 124th in batting average, and 107th in OPS, 96th in walks drawn and third in strikeouts endured. The phrase profoundly inert leaps to mind.

Thus, knowing how good they could be, and how little help they were getting, the pitchers could have become spectacularly petulant. But with the exception of a few dugout snaps, they did not.

Timmy (Lincecum) had one, just a quick one, but the next day he was knocking on my door and apologizing, and he apologized to the team, too, Righetti said. I didnt tell him to, either. He just did it. There were a couple of others I remember, but mostly they were professionals about it.

That the strains could be managed as well as they were could be made a credit to Righetti, but as he typically does, he throws his hands back as though he was in the lead car of a roller coaster heading from the drop.

Hey, theres only so much you can do, he said. They either have that in them, or they dont. I mean, you can tell them, Hey, if youre gonna complain, you better not forget to cover a base, or back up a throw, or Nothing says you cant get a hit and help yourself now and then. I mean, Livan (Hernandez) saved himself a lot that way when he was here.

But ultimately, theres only so much you can do. Either they understand that theyre part of the team, or they dont, and these guys do. And I think it was that way even before we won the World Series.

The Series, though, is what both calmed and could have exacerbated the issue. Winning brings teams closer, and the frustrations of not winning again can tear them apart. Perhaps the knowledge that the injuries could not have been worse if theyd been hand-selected by the Rockies and Diamondbacks helped the pitchers understand the futility of protest.

But other than Pablo Sandoval, the offensive malaise among those who remained healthy was profound. Thus, Righetti did say he monitored a bit more closely, between what they did, how they stood and what they said.

You knew they were getting asked about it all the time, and that made it tougher, he said. Theyd have to figure out if they said I did my job, would that be taken the wrong way? Are you allowed to say that? Or did they have to say, I have to do better next time out, and then you hope they dont start pressing too much?

Plus, the year that (Bob) Gibson had his 1.12 ERA, he lost nine games or something. You think he didnt snap a few times?

Well, yes, Gibson did have that 1.12 ERA in 1968, and he was 22-9, and he could snap with the best players ever. But the Cardinals finished with 97 wins, finished seventh in runs scored, and reached the seventh game of the World Series. These Giants didnt reach the first game of the divisional playoffs.

Different era, maybe, Righetti said with a shrug. Back then, it was a rougher time all the way around, and youd get on a guy a lot harder than you do now. But you can get guys to start complaining and really turn it into a problem. I was proud that these guys pitched better than they did in 2010, and didnt complain about their results.

There is, though, the knowledge that they may have to do it again in 2012. After all, low runs, high angst is among the chapter headings in Bill Neukoms underpublished book, The Giants Way, available in no Giants dugout stores, Barnes and Nobles or anywhere else whatsoever.

In other words, complaining does not change the conditions under which the Giants pitchers will toil this time as opposed to last. They are who they keep saying they are, and its up to the pitching staff to endure what must be endured.

Unless they want to develop a batting champion among them in their spare time.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' walk-off loss to Braves

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' walk-off loss to Braves

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — For a team with such a poor record, the Giants actually have a decent number of late-inning comebacks on the road. There’s a caveat, however 

Remember the comeback at Citi Field? The Giants lost the next day. Remember the big late rally against at Busch Stadium? The Giants lost the next day.  

It happened once again on Wednesday. A day after blowing it open late to beat the Braves, the Giants lost 5-3 on a Matt Kemp walk-off homer in the 11th. They have dropped 17 of their past 22 games, which is suboptimal. Here are five things to know from a wet and long night in Atlanta … 

—- Jeff Samardzija was mostly sharp, and he needed just 79 pitches to get through seven innings. As always, he paid for the long ball. Matt Adams hit a two-run shot early and Tyler Flowers put one about an inch over the left field wall in the seventh. Flowers’ ball had a hit probability of two percent — TWO! — but it still counted as an insurance run after a replay review confirmed that the ball hit a net behind the wall. 

—- Hunter Pence hit a solo blast in the ninth, his second deficit-clearing homer of the trip. Turns out there’s some juice left in that bat. 

—- Samardzija threw a fastball in the third that clocked in at 97.7 mph. It was his fastest pitch of the season. 

—- Sean Newcomb was as advertised. The left-hander has been a top 100 prospect throughout his professional career, and he gave up just three hits and one run over six innings. In his first three MLB starts, the 24-year-old lefty has allowed just four runs over 18 1/3 innings. 

—- With Eduardo Nuñez still sidelined by hamstring tightness, Aaron Hill got another start at third. He was 0 for 3. He’s hitless in his last 17 at-bats and he has just one hit in his last 26 at-bats.

Giants sign 27 picks from 2017 Draft, including top seven selections

Giants sign 27 picks from 2017 Draft, including top seven selections

A day after several agreements leaked out, the Giants announced that they have signed 27 of their 40 picks in the 2017 MLB Draft.

Deals were struck with nine of their top 10 picks. The only top 10 pick still unsigned is eighth-round pick John Gavin, a left-handed pitcher from Cal State Fullerton, who was just eliminated from the College World Series on Monday.

On Tuesday, Baseball America reported that first-round pick Heliot Ramos had agreed to a slot deal of $3,101,700.

Here are some other reported signing bonuses:

The following is a complete list of the Giants’ 2017 draft selections (Bold indicates player has signed):

Rnd (#) Name Pos School HT WT B/T Birthdate Scout
1 (19) Heliot Ramos CF Leadership Christian Academy 6-2 185 R/R 9/7/99 Junior Roman
2 (58) Jacob González 3B Chaparral High School 6-4 203 R/R 6/26/98 Chuck Hensley
3 (96) Seth Corry LHP Lone Peak High School 6-2 195 L/L 11/3/98 Chuck Hensley
4 (126) Garrett Cave RHP University of Tampa 6-4 200 R/R 7/18/96 Jim Gabella
5 (156) Jason Bahr RHP University of Central Florida 6-4 190 R/R 2/15/95 Jim Gabella
6 (186) Bryce Johnson CF Sam Houston State University 6-2 180 S/R 10/27/95 Todd Thomas
7 (216) Logan Harasta RHP University of Buffalo 6-7 235 R/R 8/29/96 Ray Callari

8 (246) John Gavin LHP Cal State Fullerton 6-6 255 R/L 10/10/95 Brad Cameron
9 (276) Aaron Phillips RHP St. Bonaventure University 6-5 190 R/R 10/11/96 Ray Callari
10 (306) Rob Calabrese C University of Illinois Chicago 6-1 200 R/R 10/3/95 Todd Coryell

11 (336) Doug Still LHP Missouri State 6-2 210 L/L 8/2/95 Daniel Murray
12 (366) Aaron Bond CF San Jacinto College North 6-4 185 L/R 2/16/97 James Mouton
13 (396) Tyler Schimpf RHP Texas 6-5 220 R/R 8/7/95 Todd Thomas
14 (426) Michael Sexton 3B Masters College 6-2 230 L/R 1/4/95 Chuck Fick
15 (456) Orlando Garcia SS Texas Tech University 6-2 195 R/R 12/31/95 Todd Thomas
16 (486) John Russell RHP University of Connecticut 6-3 170 R/R 10/17/95 Mark O’Sullivan

17 (516) Brac Warren RHP Oregon 6-4 235 R/R 2/14/96 Larry Casian
18 (546) Chris Corbett C Rollins College 6-1 195 R/R 7/7/94 James Gabella
19 (576) Frankie Tostado RF Oxnard College 6-3 205 L/L 3/31/98 Chuck Fick
20 (606) Keaton Winn RHP Iowa Western Community College 6-4 210 R/R 2/20/98 Todd Coryell
21 (636) Joshua Baldwin CF Georgia Southern University 6-0 180 L/L 4/9/96 Luke Murton
22 (666) Greg Jacknewitz LHP Xavier University 6-3 210 R/L 6/26/95 Kevin Christman
23 (696) Steve Matheny 3B Washington State 6-1 205 L/R 6/5/96 Larry Casian
24 (726) Nico Giarratano SS University of San Francisco 6-0 190 S/R 12/15/94 Keith Snider
25 (756) Franklin Van Gurp RHP Florida International University 6-1 210 R/R 10/26/95 Jose Alou
26 (786) Kyle McPherson SS James Madison University 5-11 180 R/R 2/9/96 John DiCarlo
27 (816) Matt Brown RHP San Jose State University 6-6 220 R/R 6/12/96 Keith Snider
28 (846) Peter Lannoo RHP Cornell University 6-6 220 R/R 11/13/94 Ray Callari

29 (876) Frank Rubio RHP Florida 6-0 203 R/R 4/23/95 James Gabella
30 (906) Sean Watkins CF Cal State Los Angeles 5-10 190 R/R 11/16/95 Chuck Fick
31 (936) Keenan Bartlett RHP Richmond 6-1 175 R/R 9/27/95 John DiCarlo
32 (966) Blake Rivera RHP Wallace State Community College 6-4 225 R/R 1/9/98 Jeff Wood
33 (996) Peyton Maddux C Virginia Military Institute 6-3 185 R/R 8/1/96 Donnie Suttles
34 (1026) Conner Nurse RHP Ridge Community High School 6-5 210 R/R 7/31/99 James Gabella
35 (1056) Dalton Combs RF Huntington College 6-3 217 L/L 10/29/94 Kevin Christman
36 (1086) Joe Marciano LHP Southern Illinois University of Carbondale 6-5 270 L/L 1/11/95 Todd Coryell
37 (1116) Andy Rohloff RHP University of Central Florida 6-3 195 L/R 7/17/96 James Gabella

38 (1146) Antonio Saldana LHP Joliet Catholic Academy 6-6 225 L/L 7/3/99 Todd Coryell
39 (1176) Brad Dobzanski RHP Delsea Reg High School 6-3 195 R/R 2/12/99 John DiCarlo
40 (1206) Liam Jenkins RHP Wabash Valley College 6-8 245 R/R 4/9/97 Todd Coryell