Whiteside promotion allows Bochy to play it safe with Posey

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Whiteside promotion allows Bochy to play it safe with Posey

SAN FRANCISCO Buster Poseys hamstring is not back to fullstrength yet, which prompted the Giants to bring in Eli Whiteside forreinforcement.Whiteside, who went 1-for-8 in a brief July call-up, takes the active rosterspot of right-handed pitcher Eric Hacker, who was optioned back to Triple-AFresno following Saturdays loss to the Atlanta Braves.Giants manager Bruce Bochy explained the logic behind bringing Whiteside backto the big leagues and the luxury it affords him moving forward.We just wanted some coverage on the catching side, Bochysaid. Were getting in a situation with Buster not quite being 100 that wecould run for him and still have another catcher. And today, for example, withhim playing first base, if I want to take him out and put Brandon Belt outthere, put his defense there, then have another catcher that can back up HectorSanchez.Bochy said that it will also allow him to use Sanchez, a switch-hitter, as anoption off the bench on days Posey starts at catcher. Posey and Sanchez have combined for 93 RBIs as backstops this season, which ranks ahead of all other catcher corps in the big leagues.
It frees you up to use Hector to pinch hit a little easier,Bochy said. We just feel like were better off going with the third catcherright now.Both Bochy and Posey said that the hamstring issue isbothersome on the basepaths, not in the squat.He feels it running just a little bit, Bochy said. Hesgoing to take it easy and situations where we need some speed out there anddont want him to push it, then having another catcher is going to allow me tomake that move.While Posey is in the starting lineup at first base Sunday,Bochy said that he doesnt plan to keep his cleanup hitter away from catchingmore than usual over the next week.Hopefully with a day off and playing first today, wellgive this thing even more time to get completely healed, Bochy said. Hesdoing pretty good. I dont know where to put him at, 90-95. But hes realclose to having it right.The choice to keep three catchers comes at the expense of an extra arm in thebullpen, but Bochy isnt concerned.Weve got a day off tomorrow so give those guys some time to freshen up,Bochy said of his relievers. And now were not looking at too many days beforewe have our call-ups to get some help. So I think were covered until they gethere.Bochy is referring to Sept. 1, when the Giants roster can expand from 25active players to include anyone listed on the 40-man roster. Before that daycomes, the Giants will need to make a decision on reliever Guillermo Mota, whowas suspended 100 games for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.Sunday is the final day of Motas suspension, which meansthe Giants will have to make a decision to either activate the veteranright-hander or designate him for assignment on Tuesday.Bochy isnt ready to make a call on Mota before the rules force the Giants to.We havent made that decision, Bochy said.

Giants respond to Melancon report: 'It’s pole vaulting over mouse turds'

Giants respond to Melancon report: 'It’s pole vaulting over mouse turds'

SAN FRANCISCO — As reporters approached Mark Melancon’s locker Monday afternoon, the closer looked up at a clubhouse clock and smiled.

“I guess it’s 3:30,” he said softly. 

A year ago at this time, Giants relievers would have been out in left field jogging and playing catch. The routine was changed a week into the season, and players, coaches and management expressed confusion and frustration Monday about how that became the centerpiece of a FOX Sports article portraying the clubhouse as “boring” and a problem.

The piece, written by Ken Rosenthal and posted Monday morning, said Melancon “rubbed some teammates the wrong way early in the season by putting an end to the bullpen’s 3:30 p.m. stretching session before night games, a practice that the relievers began in 2012.”

Several players mocked the concept as they stretched Monday. Manager Bruce Bochy called it a non-story.

“It’s pole vaulting over mouse turds,” he said. 

Melancon defended the move, saying it was made collectively by the revamped bullpen and staff. He said the Giants decided to be better about time management, noting that it did not make sense for the relievers to run and throw an hour before going back on the field with the rest of the team. The decision was made to instead focus on lifting, eating and doing other clubhouse work in the hours leading up to the 4:30 team stretch. 

“Really it’s nothing — it’s kind of funny it’s been raised,” Melancon said. “I was brought in to be a leader here and take ownership of the bullpen. In conversations with guys and the coaching staff, we decided to change the stretch time. It was the first series of the year, and from a time management standpoint, it’s been good. I’m shocked, but if this is the reason we’re pointing out (for the team’s record), please bring it on.

“We’re talking about stretching. Stretching,” Melancon added, joking he felt like Allen Iverson. 

The story also mentioned Melancon’s routine of spending the first six or seven innings in the clubhouse preparing to pitch. Melancon said he is usually in the bullpen by the fifth or sixth, and noted that that’s been the way of all closers he has worked under, from Mariano Rivera to Jonathan Papelbon. 

“I don’t know anyone who has had a problem with (my routine),” he said. 

His manager certainly doesn’t. Bochy said every closer he has managed did the same thing because they almost never pitch until the ninth. Of course, that’s where the real problem comes. Melancon has a 4.58 ERA and has blown four saves. He said that should have been the focus of any story about the Giants’ struggles. 

“I understand if you lose this many games there’s got to be something to blame, and I’ll take this blame on,” he said. “I haven’t pitched well … There are a lot of things I can be better at with my performance on the field, and that’s first and foremost.”

The Giants expected a bit more on the mound, and Melancon knows it. He owns that part of this. But they have no complaints, sources said, about anything he has done off the field. Several teammates noted Monday that Melancon has also been pitching hurt for a team that’s hopelessly buried in the standings. Melancon also had team employees remodel a small room behind the dugout — adding new seats, a flat screen TV, and inspirational quotes — so relievers were more comfortable while waiting to pitch.

Those are small changes, with nothing to do with how the team has played. And given the way the bullpen pitched last year, any change probably should have been welcomed. 

Giants lineup: Hernandez in, Slater out

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AP

Giants lineup: Hernandez in, Slater out

Bud Black and Bruce Bochy issued their lineups for today's series opener at AT&T Park:

Rockies (47-31) 
1. Charlie Blackmon (L) CF
2. DJ LeMahieu (R) 2B
3. Nolan Arenado (R) 3B
4. Mark Reynolds (R) 1B
5. Raimel Tapia (L) RF
6. Ian Desmond (R) LF
7. Trevor Story (R) SS
8. Tony Wolters (L) C
9. German Marquez (R) P (5-3, 3.92 ERA)

Giants (27-51)
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Hunter Pence (R) RF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Ryder Jones (L) 3B
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
9. Jeff Samardzija (R) P (2-9, 4.74 ERA)