Wilson has pain-free bullpen session, discusses elbow injury

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Wilson has pain-free bullpen session, discusses elbow injury

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Brian Wilson was out of character in two ways Monday. First, he dialed back the intensity in his first official bullpen session of the spring. Then he dialed back the personality while discussing his day with reporters.But a subdued and serious Wilson also made a fairly big revelation, saying the right elbow he strained in August was an issue that actually bothered him most of the season. His left hip didnt feel so good, either.Its no wonder his strikeouts were down and his walks were up.

Asked to explain those numbers, Wilson said, Probably pitching with a hurt elbow the whole year, and a bad hip. You could blame a ton of things. But Im the one throwing the ball.Wilson plans to throw again in two days. Both he and Giants coaches were pleased with his first session, even though he didnt come close to throwing full bore. He estimated his intensity was 75 percent, although he "tested the waters" with a couple of firmer fastballs toward the end.I feel like Im right on schedule, Wilson said. Its a check on the checklist. Its a standard bullpen. I dont look too deep into it. But as far as pain, I was pain-free. No ailments, no tweaks, no inflammation.Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti said Wilson was better than I expected him to be, adding that the All-Star closer finished his pitches with full extension rather than recoil or short-arm the ball.Its not something you get excited about right away, but this was a good start, Righetti said. I dont know that it changes our thinking on the timetable at all. But there was nothing there to cause me any concern.The timetable calls for Wilson to build gradual intensity; hes not likely to appear in a Cactus League game until the club is at least a week into the exhibition schedule. He might not pitch back-to-back outings until late in camp.I dont think he needs a lot of outings, to be honest, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. Hes pretty simple with his delivery and I think thats going to help with his command.He was getting extension there. I liked where he was with his arm slot, with everything. I was happy today. Hes on pace. Hes where he should be. Hes been through a lot. He had to do the rehab road and that can get a little old. But hes been relentless with it.Wilson hasnt always struck the greatest balance between relentlessness and conservatism. He said the elbow issues havent changed his mentality on the mound.Not at all, he said. Youll have to physically take me off the mound. If it means I have to pitch left-handed, I will. I dont care if I get injured. I pitch to get three outs, then worry about tomorrow when I wake up.Wilson switched his off season routine to de-emphasize weight training and do more sports-specific movement. He said he feels good and hopes his increased flexibility will help stave off the left hip and side issues that seem to crop up every year.Its bothered me my whole life, Wilson said. It happens on your land leg as a pitcher. Mine gets tighter than most.If Wilson seems tighter in general this spring, maybe its because the Showtime cameras have moved on to South Florida and his Got Heem catchphrase has been appropriated by the MLB Network.No, Wilson probably wont drive a different crazy car to the ballpark every day this spring. (Including an unmarked police cruiser one morning, when he memorably locked Sergio Romo in the passenger seat.)But even if Wilson walks a straighter and more boring line this spring, he'll still manage to do it his way. He took off his socks to reveal his toenails, brightly painted black and red.

As Samardzija ages, it isn't as easy to lose the weight gained in offseason

As Samardzija ages, it isn't as easy to lose the weight gained in offseason

Jeff Samardzija is entering Year 2 of the five-year contract he signed with the Giants following the 2015 season.

With spring training underway, what is the hardest part about getting his body and mind prepared for the upcoming campaign?

"The pitching aspects of things, the older I get, the more they kind of just fall right in line with feeling my mechanics out," Samardzija explained on KNBR 680 on Wednesday morning. "For me, it's probably the cardio (laughter). The older I get, the more I realize that you put more weight on in the offseason, then it's a little harder to get off.

"You hear about it, right? You hear about it all the time when you're younger ... and my offseasons, I like to have offseasons. I don't watch my calories. I don't watch my intake (I don't really watch any of that anyways). But the offseason -- I have fun, I relax ... then you get working out again and usually those first five or six poles, two-mile runs, camelback hikes -- they're always pretty interesting the first couple times."

The former college wide receiver is listed at 225 pounds.

Samardzija turned 32 years old in January and is entering his 10th big-league season.

He went 12-11 with a 3.81 ERA over 32 starts last year.

Over his final 10 starts, he went 3-3 with a 2.45 ERA.

"The splitter came back for me there toward the end of the year," Samardzija said. "I kind of brought the curveball in to not replace, but kind of take up some of the space of the splitter that wasn't there.

"And then come September, the splitter showed up and then we had the curveball and we ran with it from there."

Key Giants lefty reliever Smith sidelined by elbow inflammation

Key Giants lefty reliever 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.