Surkamp goes for tests on sore elbow


Surkamp goes for tests on sore elbow

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Monday should have provided all good omens for Eric Surkamp. One of his prime competitors for rotation depth, Ramon Ortiz, was given his release. Another, Brian Burres, was reassigned to minor league camp.

But Surkamp's outlook was far from rosy.

He went for an MRI exam on his left elbow and is awaiting results. Surkamp didn't bounce back after throwing 90 pitches on Wednesday; he couldn't even loosen up enough to play catch the previous two days.

"I tried and I just couldn't do it," the 24-year-old left-hander said. "I've had normal stuff, soreness and fatigue, when I'm done throwing. But nothing to the point where I miss time."

Surkamp is hoping a week of rest will allow inflammation to calm down. Regardless, the injury comes at a bad time for the Giants, who already were thin on rotation depth. Surkamp was supposed to back up Ryan Vogelsong on Monday, who is making his first Cactus League appearance after missing time with a lower back strain. Vogelsong won't be ready to start the season.

Burres remains in the organization and will begin at Triple-A Fresno. The Giants also might turn to Yusmeiro Petit, who pitched well Saturday after filling out a split-squad roster. Petit started 17 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009 and will get the assignment Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Petit will replace Madison Bumgarner, who will pitch in minor league camp rather than give a free look to an NL West rival.

Expect the Giants to survey the trade market, too -- maybe even fetching an arm for either Ryan Theriot or Mike Fontenot.

Surkamp was having a good spring, with each outing better than the previous one.

"It's disappointing," he said. "I was feeling good. My arm and body were feeling good and I was starting to get there with my stuff. ... Now's the time to get it right."

The Giants will get Arizona's Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson and Josh Collmenter -- three right-handers -- in the season-opening series that begins April 6 at Chase Field. The Giants will send Tim Lincecum, Bumgarner and Matt Cain.

The Giants will have Barry Zito pitch the opener of the next series April 9 at Coors Field. After that, they have a day off and can skip the No.5 spot. They'll need a fifth starter April 15 and could activate Vogelsong from the disabled list to take the ball if he's ready.

Matt Williams joins NBC Sports Bay Area's Giants TV coverage


Matt Williams joins NBC Sports Bay Area's Giants TV coverage

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — It has been 30 years since Matt Williams broke into the big leagues with the Giants, and he has been back many times in recent seasons as an opposing player, coach and manager. When the Giants play their home opener on April 10, Williams will once again be affiliated with them, this time in a new role. 

Williams will join NBC Sports Bay Area this season as a studio analyst for the pre- and post-game shows, which are expanding to one hour. After spending most of the last two decades in various on and off-field roles for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Williams is coming full circle with the Giants. 

“It feels like that, doesn’t it?” he said. “I love coaching and managing, but I also enjoy talking about the game and experiencing the game from that angle, which is a lot of fun. I really enjoy it. You get to talk about the intricacies of the game.”

Williams knows it inside and out, and not just because he played 17 seasons for the Giants, Diamondbacks and Indians. He has coached first and third base for the Diamondbacks, most recently during the 2016 season. When the organization retooled the front office in the offseason, changes were made to the coaching staff. Williams has also had a stint as a manager, doing two years with the Washington Nationals. He went 179-145, winning the NL Manager of the Year Award in 2014, when the Giants knocked the Nationals out of the postseason in the NLDS. 

Williams is best known in San Francisco for 10 strong years on the field. He hit 378 career home runs, 247 of them with the Giants. Williams is a five-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger winner and four-time Gold Glove winner, and he finished in the top five in the MVP voting in 1994 and 1999. While Williams was gone by the time a title drought was broken, he does have a ring to wear around the ballpark. He batted .275 with 16 homers for the champion Diamondbacks in 2001. 

Williams’ time in Arizona also included color commentary for their television and radio broadcasts, and he said he’s looking forward to working with former Giants players he has coached against, and fellow former coach Tim Flannery, who was an NL West rival in the late 1980s. 

“During the offseason, this is always one of my favorite cities to visit,” he said. “It’s home. I’ve been in the Bay Area practically my whole life. It’s a fantastic atmosphere in the ballpark with a great fan base, and the Giants’ recent success has been phenomenal.” 

The Giants plan on that success carrying over into the odd year, and one of the best infielders in franchise history will be along for the ride. 

D'backs release former Giants outfielder

D'backs release former Giants outfielder

Editor's Note: The above video was recorded following Matt Cain's perfect game in 2012.

Gregor Blanco's bid to make the Arizona Diamondbacks' Opening Day roster is over.

The former Giants outfielder was released on Monday, Arizona announced.

Blanco had been dealing with an oblique injury and had played since March 21.

In 14 Cactus League games, Blanco went 9-for-40 (.225) with one double and three triples.

Blanco spent five years with the Giants and was part of the World Series winning teams in 2012 and 2014. During his time in San Francisco, the 33-year-old hit .259/.338/.360 with 78 doubles, 24 triples and 157 RBI in 649 games.

The D'backs signed Blanco to a minor league deal in January.