Scutaro 'more optimistic' about Game 3; Bochy vows no retaliation

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Scutaro 'more optimistic' about Game 3; Bochy vows no retaliation

ST. LOUIS Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro wasdiagnosed with a contusion and a strained left hip but remains a possibility to startGame 3 of the NLCS Wednesday night at Busch Stadium.

An MRI exam confirmed the strain and ruled out otherstructural damage stemming from Matt Hollidays hard, late and controversialslide in the first inning Monday night, when the Cardinals power hittersuccessfully broke up a double play. Scutaros left knee was sore as well,Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Were hopeful he can go, said Bochy,adding that he was comfortable with veteran Ryan Theriot as an alternative.Hell get treatment today and well know where hes at tomorrow. But thatswhat were hopeful for.

Scutaro accompanied the team to St. Louis on Tuesdayscharter flight and offered to test his condition with some baseball activities.Bochy and trainers originally planned to limit him to rest and treatment, but Scutaro talked his way into jogging in the outfield and taking some swings in the cage, including one that went for a home run.

Bochy added that the chance of wet weather wouldnt impacthis decision whether or not to play Scutaro, whose ability to field hisposition would be the bigger concern.

But I will say hes more optimistic about where hes atright now than when it first happened, Bochy said.

And about what happened

Bochy was resolute when asked if his perceptions ofHollidays slide changed at all after hearing the left fielders remorse atstarting into the base later than he had planned.

RELATED: Brutal takeout slides from past postseasons

I dont think Ive changed my stance on what I said lastnight, said Bochy, reiterating that the slide was illegal in his view. Idont think there was intent to hurt someone. But it was late. And I explainedmy reasons last night. The second baseman is in a position where there can bedamage done, as we saw. He came out of this pretty good considering how hard hegot hit.

So I dont think my chance has changed at all. Thats an illegal slide.

RELATED: Bochy declares takeout slide on Scutaro 'illegal'

Bochy acknowledged he was watching first base and wasscreened out from having a view on Hollidays sideways, body-blocking slide overthe top of second base in the first inning, which took out Scutaros legs. Whenhe asked second base umpire Greg Gibson whether the slide constitutedinterference, the umpire told Bochy that Hollidays momentum carried him intothe runner.

Replays showed more than just a runner sliding through the bag.

Bochy never bristled louder than when asked a question thatincluded the word retaliation. The manager has said many times over hiscareer that hes never ordered a pitcher to hit someone, and he did not wanthis players to be tempted into committing any macho acts in Game 3.

Whats on our mind is to go out and play our best ball,Bochy said. Thats over. You have to move on. You hate to see what happened.Whats important is we keep our focus and try to win a ballgame.

And yes, that includes throwing inside. Matt Cain has heldHolliday to a .200 average (8 for 40) but with three home runs over their manytangles, and the right-hander said he wouldnt be timid about throwing insideas part of his game plan.

If one gets away, it gets away, Cain said.

Said Bochy: Were not changing our game plan with whathappened. Were going to go out there and hopefully execute pitches and not getcaught into that. We dont want any distraction. Well do what we can to win aballgame.

Key lefty Will Smith sidelined by elbow inflammation

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Key lefty Will Smith sidelined by elbow inflammation

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- For years, the Giants would give Sergio Romo time off during spring training to make sure his tender elbow would be ready for opening day. Romo is now a Dodger, but one of the men tasked with replacing those eighth-inning outs has been shut down. 

Will Smith won't throw for about a week because of inflammation in his left elbow. Manager Bruce Bochy said an MRI came back clean, but Smith won't pitch in a game for two to three weeks. The Giants are confident, however, that Smith will be ready for opening day. Because of the long spring, the staff has mapped out a schedule where Smith can return and make six spring appearances before the regular season. 

Any setbacks would strike a big blow to the bullpen. Smith, 27, is supposed to be a key part of the revamped group. The Giants acquired him at the deadline last season hoping he turns into the next Jeremy Affeldt, a lefty capable of facing left- and right-handed hitters.

After a slow start in San Francisco last August, Smith ended the regular season with 18 consecutive scoreless appearances. The Giants entered camp with Smith set to share the eighth-inning role with right-handers Derek Law and Hunter Strickland.

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.”