Wilson wants to lay fears to rest

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Wilson wants to lay fears to rest

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Somewhere along the way last summer,everyone stopped fearing the beard. Instead, Giants fans feared for BrianWilsons health.

Wilson wants to put those fears to rest.

I know Ill start the season healthy and finish ithealthy, said Wilson, after throwing 15 pitches in a scoreless inning Monday.But I know theres speculation.

As far as trying to ease peoples minds, Ive doneeverything possible to make sure the fans, the organization, you guys (in themedia) understand Im healthy, Wilson continued. Youre not me. Youre not myarm.

His arm looked fully functional against the Kansas CityRoyals. Wilson was throwing 92-93 mph and appeared to hit his spots. He gave upone single and struck out one.

Wilson had gone nine days since his last Cactus Leagueappearance, when he threw 35 pitches in a St. Patricks Day outing against theAs. The Giants backed him off with what manager Bruce Bochy described as armfatigue; Wilson threw twice in minor league camp, and gave up two runs onSaturday.

Wilson said his elbow, which limited him to two appearancesafter Aug. 15 last season, was not an issue.

That day my mechanics were a little erratic, he said. Iwasnt able to find an arm slot. I went from nine, 13 pitches to 35 pitches. Wefelt it was probably necessary to have a few outings of 20 pitches, monitored,to find an arm slot for the cutter rather than go out there and try tocompete.

Finding an arm slot has been Wilsons goal this spring as hepitches with slightly different mechanics. He sacrificed weightlifting forflexibility training this offseason and is noticeably more streamlined than inpast seasons. He said his troublesome back and hip have not been an issue forhim this spring and his increased flexibility allows him to throw with a longerstride.

Im used to pitching a certain way, Wilson said. Now thatthe hinges are a little looser, we have to refine the arm slot. That takes twoor three outings, tops.

In retrospect, Wilson said he should have thrown in minorleague camp from the very start this spring. But hes happy with where hes at.That includes his velocity, even if hes not sitting at 96 mph like in pastyears.

Lets be honest. Id like to throw 110, he said. But Ican only gauge on what the hitters are doing. I can see on a few of myfastballs, theyve been late. As far as Im concerned with getting outs on myfastballs, its what Ive been looking for.

Left-hander Javier Lopez said Wilsons progress this springshould be a mental boost for the club, which feeds off the closers energy andenthusiasm.

Its what we were all expecting, knowing his drive and hiswork ethic, Lopez said. You can see the aggressive style hes always had, butthe stuff coming out of his hand has that electric feel.

Lopez paused, knowing that Electric Feel is the title ofTim Lincecums entrance music.

Oh, I guess thats Tims song, Lopez said. It has anelectric look, lets go with that. Its the look he had in 2010. Its comingout good and you can see it in his body language and his confidence level.

Wilson likely will take Tuesday off and pitch Wednesday.Bochy has said he wants Wilson to throw on consecutive days before the end ofthe spring, and maybe even finish up the eighth before coming on for the ninth.

Wilson can feel the regular season coming, though. And hepledged to be ready for it.

I really like baseball, he deadpanned. Ive been itching.Ive been waiting for it. I know its necessary to go through the progression,to warm up. You dont want to peak right now. Once the season starts, its forreal and Im kind of raring to go.

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 … 

 

Giants appear to have decided between Hill or Rollins for roster spot

Giants appear to have decided between Hill or Rollins for roster spot

MESA, Ariz. -- Aaron Hill didn't play in the final Cactus League game, but he didn't need to. By simply being on the flight to San Francisco on Tuesday, Hill got good news. 

The veteran infielder was due a $100,000 bonus on Tuesday, and while the Giants haven't formally announced their roster, you don't pay a man that much money to come play three exhibition games against the A's. Hill appears to have made this club as a second backup infielder, along with Conor Gillaspie. Another veteran, Jimmy Rollins, got the news that the Giants are headed in a different direction. 

Team officials spoke with Rollins this week about their future plans. He was not on the travel roster Tuesday and did not attend the game against the Cubs. 

"We're waiting to hear back from him," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He knows the scenario and the situation. We're waiting to hear back."

Rollins, 38, showed the Giants that he can still handle shortstop defensively, and he was a quick learner when he moved to second. But he hit just .119, falling behind Hill, Kelby Tomlinson and others in the mix for bench spots. It would seem unlikely that Rollins would want to get additional at-bats in Triple-A, but that feeling hadn't been fully conveyed to team officials Tuesday. There was a hope that Rollins, an East Bay native, might join the team for the Bay Bridge Series, which finishes Saturday in Oakland. Rollins grew up an A's fan.

Rollins and Hill were part of a crowded infield group at the start of camp. Gordon Beckham also had a retention bonus and he asked to be released when he was told he wouldn't make the opening day roster. David Hernandez, the third player due a bonus, also was released. He promptly signed with the Atlanta Braves.