Giants

Wilson plays catch, but will he be ready for opening day?

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Wilson plays catch, but will he be ready for opening day?

ST. LOUIS Brian Wilson didnt care if it happened in thenations capital, on the banks of the Ohio River, on the shores of McCovey Coveor on a cold, gray afternoon within view of the Gateway Arch.

He knew his first experience tossing a baseball with his newarm would come on Oct. 19, six months to the date of his reconstructive elbowsurgery. And on that day, he wanted to be with the Giants as they prepared forGame 5 of the National League Championship Series.

First session on a major league field, said Wilson, aftermaking 30 tosses from 45 feet at Busch Stadium. Im right where I need to be.

Wilson vowed to be 100 percent in spring training and fullyoperational for the Giants 2013 opener, even though itll arrive 17 days shortof the one-year anniversary of his procedure.

But Giants head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner, while heappreciated Wilsons optimism, reminded that there are no certainties especially for someone who is having his ulnar collateral ligamentreconstructed for the second time.
REWIND: Giants say Wilson surgery a success

It can be done in 11 months, but sometimes its 16,Groeschner said. At this point, its too early to say. If all goes great maybe. If he has setbacks, which can happen to anybody, itll be tough.

Hes being positive, obviously, but its hard to say. Weknow we will do all we can and he will do all he can. Well just have to waitand see.

For now, all parties were relieved that Wilson couldgraduate from the tedium of arm exercises to some light tossing. There wasntmuch else for Wilson to do other than watch his beard grow, which it certainlyhas.

Wilson looks like he could teach a course on the Talmud.

At this point, I understand its completely ridiculous, hesaid. Im totally OK with that. And I also dont care.

Wilson is going to toss every three days for the next monthbefore he ramps up his throwing program. He said the next checkmark is to startswinging a golf club.

Seriously, he said. Helps to break up scar tissue.

Well, at least he didnt try to grip it and rip it duringhis first throwing session.

They were afraid for me getting amped up three months agoand chucking a baseball as hard as I could, Wilson said. But I like to thinkI value my intelligence.

Responded Groeschner, smiling: He values his intelligencemore than we do.

Wilson doesnt have a contract yet for next season, but hesgot one more year of arbitration before he could become a free agent, and theexpectation is that he and the Giants will work out a one-year deal that isamenable to all parties.

The Giants might even look to ease Wilson into the closerrole, especially since the committee approach served their current personnelwell in the bearded ones absence this season.

Does Wilson expect to pitch in the ninth inning out of thechute?

Im not going to speculate or insinuate anything, he said,but Im paid to be me and Ill be me on opening day.

As if he could be anyone else.

Given another look at fastball, Williamson gets revenge against Kershaw

Given another look at fastball, Williamson gets revenge against Kershaw

LOS ANGELES — Mac Williamson was sent up to pinch-hit when the Giants faced Clayton Kershaw earlier this month, and on a two-strike count, he watched as Kershaw shook off five different signs as he stood on the mound. Kershaw then froze Williamson with a fastball. It was a good lesson for Williamson, a player still trying to find his footing at the big league level.

“He’s a guy you can’t really guess with,” Williamson said. 

The outfielder admits he tends to overthink things. “I’m a perfectionist,” he said Sunday. But given a start against Kershaw, Williamson let his talent — and a little luck — take over. Williamson’s first hit off Kershaw was a bleeder that resulted in an infield hit. His second bounced through the middle of the infield for a single. The third one was the highlight of the day for the Giants. 

Kershaw had a shutout going when he tried to sneak a first-pitch fastball past Williamson in the eighth. He blasted it to dead center. It was the only run for the Giants in a 3-1 loss to the Dodgers. 

“It’s good to see him get those swings off,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “That homer was to the big part of the park. It shows how strong he is.”

The Giants have always known Williamson has the strength and raw talent. He hasn’t stuck for a number of reasons, including injuries and that aforementioned tendency sometimes to overthink at the plate. It probably hasn’t helped, either, that the Giants tend to sit him for days at a time and then play him against the Kershaws and Zack Greinkes and Rich Hills of the world. 

Williamson took advantage of the tough assignment on Sunday, joining a small group of Giants who have three hits in a game off Kershaw. 

“Hunter was ahead of me,” he said, smiling. “He beat me to it.”

Pence also had three hits, giving the Giants six from the corners against the best pitcher in the game. It wasn’t enough, but for Williamson, it was something to build off as the offseason approaches. He said it’s a winter he doesn’t plan to take lightly. Williamson’s agents are working to line up a Winter Ball job in the Dominican Republic.

Giants lineup: Three lefties out against Kershaw

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USATSI

Giants lineup: Three lefties out against Kershaw

With Clayton Kershaw on the mound for the Dodgers Sunday, Bruce Bochy is resting three left-handed bats...

San Francisco Giants:
1. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
2. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 2B
3. Buster Posey (R) 1B
4. Hunter Pence (R) RF
5. Nick Hundley (R) C
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
8. Mac Williamson (R) LF
9. Chris Stratton (R) RHP

Los Angeles Dodgers:
1. Chris Taylor (R) CF
2. Corey Seager (L) SS
3. Cody Bellinger (L) 1B
4. Curtis Granderson (L) RF
5. Logan Forsythe (R) 3B
6. Chase Utley (L) 2B
7. Yasmani Grandal (S) C
8. Joc Pederson (L) LF
9. Clayton Kershaw (L) LHP