Zito self-critical despite improvement in second start

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Zito self-critical despite improvement in second start

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Barry Zito worked three scorelessinnings in his second start of the spring Saturday against the Brewers.In his first action since giving up two runs on four hits in two inningsagainst the Dodgers on Tuesday, the Giants high-priced lefty was perfect otherthan hitting a batter and allowing one infield single. He threw 30 of his 45pitches for strikes.The batter he hit was none other than San Francisco native Nyjer Morgan, whodrew the ire of Giants fans last season by making some mildly obscene gesturesaimed at the AT&T Park bleachers.Morgan, the second batter of the afternoon, took a Zito curveball to the headand stayed in the game as a baserunner before being pulled as a precaution inthe bottom of the 1st inning.

It was a curveball so I mean sometimes you just throwthrough it, Zito said.The only other blemish on Zitos pitching line was an infield single by MatGamel.I actually felt like my timing was better Tuesday just as far as the ballbeing down and pouring strikes in the zone, Zito said. Results were a littlebetter today, but its not really about that for me, its about lining up thepitch and having everything be on time.With no radar available at Scottsdale Stadium and the scouts guns out ofeyesight, its difficult to pinpoint how hard Zito was throwing, but he was inthe strike zone and kept the Brewers lineup off balance using all of hispitches.Despite a solid spring pitching line on Saturday, Zito was self-critical in hispostgame comments.I felt like I couldve been better being down in the zone with the fastball,he said. If you look at strike ratio and how many balls were down in the zone,today was not as good as last game. But there were other positives today.One such positive for Zito was the ability to work on his windup.Right now when Im in the windup its just trying to getthat timing down, he said. I didnt throw out of the windup a lot thisoffseason, so Im just working on making some adjustments. I got to throw outof the windup a lot more today, which is good.
Bruce Bochy had no issue with the outing when told that Zito himself said he wasn't as sharp.He may not have felt as good, but he did anice job," Bochy said. One breaking ball got away from him, but overall I thought he threwstrikes and did a nice job. Now the starters will go back to their normal rest and wellstart stretching these guys out.
With a split squad game against the Cubs, the Brewerslineup wasnt filled with a lot of star power on Saturday. Rickie Weeks and Aramis Ramirez playedin Milwaukees other game and Ryan Braun didnt see action at all.The only projected Brewer starters in the lineup against Zito were CarlosGomez, Morgan and Gamel. Brooks Conrad, who Giants fans may remember as theAtlanta second baseman that made three errors in Game 3 of the 2010 NLDS, hit third for the Brewers.The Giants pitchers were not blessed with immense run support in 2011, andZito was no exception. But Saturday in Scottsdale, the Giants teed off on theBrewers early on and gave Zito a 2-0 cushion in the second, andexpanded the lead to 10-0 an inning later. Yeah, that was great, Zito said of watching his offensebat around and put double digits on the board for him.Zito wasnt very talkative at his locker after the outing,providing reporters with the modern athletes most dependable cliche.I take it one day at a time, he said. Thats one thing Im not going to dois get too far ahead of myself. Just come back tomorrow and keep on working onwhat I got to do and just take that approach.

Top pick Heliot Ramos visits AT&T Park, will start Giants career this weekend

Top pick Heliot Ramos visits AT&T Park, will start Giants career this weekend

SAN FRANCISCO — As he was wrapping up the first press conference of his career, Heliot Ramos was asked when he expects to be back at AT&T Park as a player. The 17-year-old smiled and said he hopes to debut in three years. 

“I know it’s hard, but that’s my dream,” Ramos continued. “I know I’ve got to work hard for that.”

A half-dozen Giants officials stood a few feet away, smiling. Three years would be incredibly impressive. It took Christian Arroyo and Ryder Jones four years after being drafted out of high school to reach the big leagues. Buster Posey got a cup of coffee a year after he was drafted, but he was already 22 years old because he had played three years at Florida State. 

Ramos doesn’t turn 18 until September. The Giants hope he is dominating A-ball in three years, and yet, he’s the the kind of prospect that allows them to dream for so much more. 

“If he grew up in Southern California (instead of Puerto Rico) we never would have had a shot at drafting him,” one team official said Tuesday.

Ramos certainly opened eyes in his second trip to AT&T Park, but then again, he put on a display the first time, too. The Giants brought him in for a pre-draft workout and someone pointed out to Ramos that the deepest part of the park was 421 feet. The right-handed hitter, making the transition to a wood bat, wasn’t bothered by the dimensions. He took aim at Triples Alley and tried to blast one out, and he nearly did. Then he started pulling the ball, peppering the left field bleachers with homers and convincing the front office that he was the right pick at No. 19 in this month’s draft. Ramos, described as a potential five-tool center fielder, said he enjoys hitting here.

“It’s a park with a lot of history, and I like that,” he said. 

The clock on his career starts this weekend. Ramos will travel back to Arizona and play in a rookie league game Friday or Saturday. It is always a slow progression for a high school draft pick, but the Giants believe Ramos is physically mature enough to jump right in with both feet. 

Ramos, who said his favorite player is Andrew McCutchen, is listed at 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds and he carries it well. One member of the front office compared his body type to Yasiel Puig as a rookie; another called him a “mini-Cespedes.” Bruce Bochy lit up when asked about the physicality of the organization’s latest top pick. 

“Any time you get a young kid like this, the ceiling is so high,” he said. “That excites you.”

Bochy spent some time with Ramos and his family after batting practice. As they posed for photos, the manager looked out at the field and then turned to a PR representative.

“Can he take BP? Put him in the last group,” Bochy said, smiling. “I’ll put him in the lineup tomorrow.”

Ramos didn’t end up taking swings, but if all goes according to his plan, it won’t be long.

Giants lineup: After nine-run outburst on Monday, Bochy makes no changes

Giants lineup: After nine-run outburst on Monday, Bochy makes no changes

Bud Black and Bruce Bochy issued their lineups for Game 2 of their series at AT&T Park:

Rockies (47-32) 
1. Charlie Blackmon (L) CF
2. DJ LeMahieu (R) 2B
3. Nolan Arenado (R) 3B
4. Mark Reynolds (R) 1B
5. Ian Desmond (R) LF
6. Alexi Amarista (L) RF
7. Trevor Story (R) SS
8. Tony Wolters (L) C
9. Jeff Hoffman (R) P

Giants (28-51)
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. Matt Cain (R) P (3-7, 5.54 ERA)