Wilson pushes limits in Giants' win


Wilson pushes limits in Giants' win

DENVER Brian Wilson cannot wait to hear the sellout crowdat AT&T Park for Fridays home opener.

It feels like its mid-August right now and we haventplayed in San Fran yet, said the Giants three-time All-Star closer, after arollicking, ankle-rolling save conversion in a 4-2 victory over the ColoradoRockies on Thursday. Well go to opening day and take in all the specialmoments and play a nice, nine-inning ballgame. We feed off the energy.
RECAP: Youth prevails as Giants top Rockies 4-2

But Wilson wont inherit a save situation if one comes inthe home opener. He threw 32 pitches while allowing a run and barely escaping theninth inning; a day earlier, he made his season debut with a mop-up inning andthrew 24 pitches.

So Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he more than likely wontuse Wilson for a third consecutive day especially following a highlycontrolled spring throwing schedule to make sure his right elbow didnt flareup again.

Wilson did receive a visit from trainer Dave Groeschner,though. Catcher Buster Posey signaled to the dugout after Wilson turned hisleft ankle on a 1-0 pitch to the Rockies Tyler Colvin. Wilson threw a warmuppitch, convinced Groeschner and Bochy that he was fine and continued theinning.

He walked Colvin with the bases loaded to force in a run.But then he got Marco Scutaro to fly out on a slider to end it.

Wilson also had a fair bit of Irish luck the batter beforeColvin, when pinch hitter Todd Helton scorched a line drive to second base.Emmanuel Burriss fell to his knees while watching the ball into his glove.

Bochy said he would've pulled Wilson for Santiago Casilla if his black-bearded closer hadn't retired Scutaro. He had to protect Wilson from throwing too many pitches. So Wilson straddled the line in more than one respect.

I guess its just Willies way, Bochy said. He had goodstuff. He was throwing strikes to the first two hitters. Hes working hard outthere.

Wilson did not ice his ankle after the game.

No big deal. Its really nothing, just one of those thingsthey have to check on a non-issue, Wilson said. Ive got two of em. So itdoesnt matter.

Wilson didnt bring the 95 mph gas from a day earlier,instead throwing mostly cutters and sliders with mixed results. That shouldntcome as a shock, considering he only went back-to-back once during the spring.

But when he needed to reach back, he hit 94 mph on a fastballto strike out Wilin Rosario.

Once I entered yesterdays game, I knew for a fact Id bethrowing today, Wilson said, with a bemused expression. Thats just how itworks. My pitch count got up high, but there was nothing out of the norm. Itwas nice to get that quote-unquote pressure situation out of the way.

Ah yes. The Wilson pressure situation. Bases loaded, gameon the line: A show weve all seen before. This time, he created it on TroyTulowitzkis double, Michael Cuddyers infield single and Jason Giambis pinchsingle to right field.

I feel more locked in when there are bases loaded,actually, Wilson said. Cmon, we all know that. Ive seen bases loaded a lot.

Its not like I want to pitch in that situation, but whenit comes down to it, I feel Ive been more successful than not.

The Giants were successful on their season-opening road tripwhen the pitching went to plan. They received quality starts from Barry Zito(on Monday) and Madison Bumgarner (on Thursday), and those accounted for theirtwo victories.

Its our game. Its what we count on, Bochy said. Itmeans you have a chance to win the game. As tough as this trip has looked withthe pitching and defense, really, we should be .500. We let one slip away. Andthe guys bounced back from really, two of the toughest losses you can have.

Weve been on the road so much. The guys have dealt with itgreat. But its time to go home and get settled into our ballpark.

Bumgarner saved them from a 1-5 trip with a solid effort.Barely 15 hours after the Rockies finished pounding out 22 hits and scoring 17runs Wednesday night, Bumgarner held them without a hit until the sixth inning,when left fielder Melky Cabrera came up just short on a diving attempt to catchColvins triple.

Bumgarner (1-1) started the game by getting Marco Scutaro tofly out to center. He didnt allow another ball to leave the infield untilColvins hit.

The difference between that sparkling, 7 13-inning startand his previous one, when he got lit up at Arizona?

I just tried to make pitches, he said, and not strikepeople out on the first pitch of the at-bat.

Bochy said Bumgarner in Arizona was amped up andoverthrowing. He went back to the slow lane while churning outs againstColorados hungry lineup. He said he never gave much thought to his no-hit bid.But after the game, he acknowledged that hes glad he wont have to wait untilMay 19 for his first victory.

Yeah, and I just thought about it, Bumgarner said. Ittook, what? A month and a half last year? Its good to have it out of the way.

Its also good to have that first trip out of the way. Anditll be good to sleep in their own beds for a change.

Now they just need to take this new-found offense they averaged5.5 runs per game, and scored at least four runs in every game on the trip and make sure it translates to the shores of McCovey Cove.

Vin Scully on Dodgers Opening Day: ‘I’ll probably have things to do’

Vin Scully on Dodgers Opening Day: ‘I’ll probably have things to do’

WASHINGTON -- On Monday, the Dodgers will play their first opening day since 1950 without Vin Scully calling their games. He won't be in the stands. He won't make a point of watching on TV, either.

"It's a day game. I'll probably have things to do," the famed 89-year-old announcer told The Associated Press from his home in Hidden Hills, California. "I might catch a piece of it."

Not that Scully has any regrets since retiring after last season. He says he's grateful for every minute he spent with the Dodgers, the franchise he joined 67 years ago in Brooklyn and followed to Los Angeles eight years later. He feels blessed to have worked as long as he did covering the game he fell in love with as a boy.

But he's learned that after a lifetime in the broadcast booth, watching a game as a fan holds little appeal.

"During the World Series back around '77 or '78, there was a game at Dodger Stadium with the Yankees, and I went to the game as a spectator. Now, I hadn't been as a spectator in a long, long time, and I felt somewhat restless that I wasn't broadcasting," Scully recalled Tuesday.

"I did not have the challenge of trying to describe, accurately and quickly, the way it should be done. I just sat there, and I was not happy, I'll be honest. So I realized that although I love the game, what I loved more was broadcasting it," he said.

Scully spoke to the AP because the Library of Congress has announced it will preserve his call of a 1957 game between the Dodgers and the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds, the final time they played at the hallowed old stadium. Both teams moved to California after that season, opening up the West Coast to Major League Baseball.

Scully's call of Sandy Koufax's 1965 perfect game is more famous. But that game at the Polo Grounds meant more to him personally, because he grew up going to games there, cheering for the Giants and dreaming of watching from the press box.

"It was so meaningful to me. I'm not sure what it really means to baseball fans anymore," Scully said. "The sands of time have washed over the Polo Grounds. But for me, it was one of the more memorable games I was ever involved in."

During that broadcast, Scully implored the players to take their time before there franchises left town: "Let's take it easy, we just want to take one last lingering look at both of you." The Library of Congress called it "a masterful example of the artistry that great sports announcers bring to their work, as well as their empathy for players and fans."

Six decades later, Scully is having an easier time letting go. So no plans to keep track Monday when Los Angeles plays the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium.

"All summer long, I expect to get feelings of nostalgia, wistfulness, whatever the word may be, but no, I am comfortable, I do know in my heart and soul I am where I should be, and that really is all I need," he said.

"Sure, after 67 years, you'll bet I'll miss it," he added. "But heck, I miss the guys I hung out with when I was in school."

Giants spring training Day 44: Marrero caps huge spring with eighth homer

Giants spring training Day 44: Marrero caps huge spring with eighth homer

MESA, Ariz. — The Giants went 0-62 last season when trailing after eight innings. Chris Marrero wasn’t around for any of that, but it’s a stat that could help Marrero as he tries to lock up a bench spot. 

The first baseman/left fielder crushed a three-run shot in the ninth inning Tuesday, wiping out a two-run deficit against the Cubs. Marrero also has two walk-off homers this spring. 

“This kid, you see it when he goes up there. He’s got great focus,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s intensity and determination. From day one, you could see it in his at-bats. Late in the game, he seems very comfortable. He wants to go up there.”

Tuesday’s homer, which shot out to right-center, was the eighth of the spring for Marrero. That ties him with a guy named Bryce Harper for the MLB lead, and the vast majority of Marrero’s bombs were no-doubters. 

“It’s been a great spring for him,” Bochy said. “The last game here, it seems fitting that he would do something like that. He’s already done it a couple of times. This kid has done all he can. I love his swing and the work that he’s put in.”

With Michael Morse down, Marrero is the best remaining option as a power right-handed bat off the bench, a glaring need a year ago. Justin Ruggiano, another one in the mix, followed Marrero’s shot with one of his own. The homer was Ruggiano’s second of the spring. 

Ruggiano is a better fit defensively in the outfield, but Marrero has been solid at first and Bochy said he’s fine with what he’s seen in left field. “He’s still working on it,” Bochy said, noting that Marrero will play left field during the Bay Bridge Series. 

LEADING OFF: Denard Span saw a wild pitch bounce off the bricks behind home plate, and he never slowed down. Span sped around third in the second inning and slid in ahead of the throw. The notable part of the play wasn’t that a quirky bounce allowed Span to take 180 feet on a wild pitch. It was that his legs did. The 33-year-old has been a different guy in his second spring with the Giants. Last year, Span was coming off hip surgery. This spring, his old game has returned.

“I’ve just been able to do the things I’ve always been able to do,” Span said. “I have more control of my body. I’m stronger. I had a full offseason and a full spring training to get my legs up under me. The last couple of weeks, I’ve felt much better and more confident.”

A healthy and spry Span would be a big boost to a lineup that often looked flat in the second half last season Span showed off every aspect of his game Tuesday. He blasted a leadoff homer on Jake Arrieta’s second pitch, and during their second matchup, he put a perfect bunt down the third base line for a single. Span stole second easily before his race home. 

“He’s playing terrific baseball and he’s been a real inspiration, being our leadoff hitter,” Bochy said. “That’s what we needed — energy at the top of the order.”

TRAINER’S ROOM: Eduardo Nuñez (shoulder) is feeling much better, and Bochy said he’ll play third base during the games at AT&T Park before getting four or five innings at shortstop on Saturday. Joe Panik (drilled in the back on Monday) said he’s feeling fine. 

POSITION BATTLES: Here’s the latest on Matt Cain, and here’s an update on Aaron Hill and Jimmy Rollins. 

ICYMI: Big news today from NBC Bay Area. Matt Williams, Javier Lopez and Cody Ross have joined out pre- and post-game shows. You can find stories about those guys on our homepage here. Those shows will also now be an hour long on both ends of the game, adding an extra hour of Giants coverage to your day. Which is good. 

That’s all on the way during the regular season. If you missed any of our spring coverage, you can find a bunch of features here, and podcasts here (spring pods included Mike Morse, Matt Cain, Mac Williamson, Jimmy Rollins and others, with one more coming this week). And in case you’re new to our coverage, the Twitter account is here and the Facebook page is here. Next stop, San Francisco …