Media Day blog: Giants return to AT&T Park

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Media Day blog: Giants return to AT&T Park

Feb. 4, 2011GIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEOGIANTS WORLD SERIES PAGEPABLO SANDOVAL WORKING WITH BONDS
UPDATED: 1:28 p.m.Geoff James
CSNBayArea.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' media room is almost empty, except for a few of the Latin American media representatives talking-- in espanol-- with Pablo Sandoval.

And although the Panda is wearing loose clothing, you can really see his weight loss -- particularly in his face.

1:14 -- Sandoval working with Barry Bonds
Here comes the Panda. Lots of interest in the media room now, and the anticipation was worth it. Pablo Sandoval revealed that he has been working with former Giants slugger Barry Bonds.

Reporter: "Does this mean you've lost weight?"

Sandoval: "Yeah. A lot. But you have to keep working at it."

Truth is, he looks a lot slimmer. He also said he didn't pick up a bat for two months.

Sandoval said he feels "very fresh right now."

"I've lost a lot of weight," Sandoval said.

"I've been working a lot with Barry," Sandoval said.

Press responds: "Bonds?"

Sandoval: "Yes."

Apparently they have the same trainer.

Sandoval on the mandate from the Giants to get in shape: "I say thank you to the Giants ... they made me grow up."

Sandoval declined to say how much he weighs.

"You can find out February 19th when they have the scale," he said.

He also talked about working out so hard in Arizona, that he "threw up -- many times."

CSN Senior Insider Ray Ratto: "Can you throw up on cue?" (laughter)

Sandoval said he's been working with former Olympic athlete Dan O'Brien.

12:49 -- Avoiding the World Series hangover
Bruce Bochy has some experience on what follows a trip to the World Series, having done so with the Padres. He summed it up in his typically succinct style on Friday.

"It's different being the hunted," Bochy said

12:44 -- Speaking of Showtime
Giants owner Bill Neukom on the upcoming "Showtime" series: MLB films is involved, it will be "very high quality"...."This will be content that will be carefully created they (the Showtime crew) will abide by the rules that the rest of the press abides by ... this will not be anything that will distract to winning the NL West."

12:36 -- Sabean singles out Dusty Baker
Brian Sabean was his usual tell-it-like-it-is mode after the press conference to announce extensions for him and manager Bruce Bochy.

"As much hell as you go through, you have a lot of fun in this business," Sabean said.

He also saluted former manager Dusty Baker: "Dusty kicked this thing off ..."

12:29 -- In praise of Bochy and Sabean
The media horde has moved down to the press room to watch as Giants owner Bill Neukom announces contract extensions through 2012 for manager Bruce Bochy and GM Brian Sabean.

Neukom on Sabean: "A career of accomplishment...the sun never sets on Brian's group."

Sabean on the Giants: "It's a great place in time. Everyone's on the same page."

Sabean says he appreciates the trust Neukom has given him and it puts the Giants in a good place to try and win another trophy.

Neukom on Bochy: "Bruce solved the Rubik's Cube" last season.

Bochy on the 2010 season: "This has been the greatest year in my life in baseball."

12:10 p.m. -- Lincecum looks back
Two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum sits in Suite No. 39, hunched forward, speaking with that maddeningly even and calm demeanor that doesn't tell you much of anything.

All of the Giants pitchers, in fact, are the same way. Eerily calm. Lincecum's eyes did light up a bit when he talked about Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean's intense speeches to the pitchers last August after the group fell on some hard times.

"They lit a fire under us." Lincecum said.

The rest, as they say... is history.

11:47 a.m. -- Cain praises Posey
Pitcher Matt Cain spoke to reporters in Suite 38. He spoke about Buster Posey, and the effect the young backstop had on the Giants pitching staff after Bengie Molina was traded.

Cain said it took him just an "inning or two" with Posey following Molina departure for the staff to feel comfortable with the rookie catcher.

11:34 a.m. -- Ross is boss
Ross is boss. Cody, that is. KCBS morning sports reporter Steve Bitker was loitering outside Suite 41, but nobody was inside.

I asked. "Who's in here?"

His answer: "Cody Ross' suite... And I don't want to leave 'cause I know it will be packed soon."

He was right, it got packed fast. Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami asked Ross,"Is this team set up to do it one, two, three more years?"

Ross' reply: "I think it is."

SOUND OFF: "The title defense officially starts now" -- REnteen

I think everyone in the room got a chill.

11:17 a.m. -- Buster plays it cool
We are under way here at AT&T Park for Giants media day.

Players are scattered about the Suite Level along the third-base line, and the media is out in force, but Suite No. 40 is the most crowded.

Why?

It's the Buster Posey suite. Everybody wants a piece of San Francisco's Rookie of the Year, but Posey remains as calm as ever, giving his "we still just need to take it game by game" speech that we heard down the stretch last season.

Geoff James is a Web producer for CSNBayArea.com and CSNCalifornia.com and the author of the blog "Word on the Street."

Giants get blanked by Braves, now have lowest-scoring team in majors

Giants get blanked by Braves, now have lowest-scoring team in majors

SAN FRANCISCO — Over in Cleveland earlier Friday, Brandon Moss hit a three-run homer for the visiting team and five other players chipped in a pair of hits. The Royals had six runs, which meant that when Jim Johnson closed the Giants out a few hours later, what has seemed true all season became officially true. The Giants have the lowest-scoring lineup in the majors.

At 3.32 runs per game, they have dipped below the equally-disappointing Royals (3.38). They are capable at the moment of making any pitching staff look dominant. A 2-0 shutout was the first of the year for the Braves, who previously had just two games this season where they allowed fewer than two runs. 

“Six runs in (the last) four games … I thought we would come home and get some rips in tonight, but it didn’t happen,” Bruce Bochy said. 

The manager’s frustration showed late in this one. After the only rally of the game — a two-run single by opposing pitcher Jaime Garcia — Bochy took his cap off and rubbed his forehead. He dipped his head and briefly stood as if he was going to fall asleep on the rail. The bats were equally still. 

The Giants had just four hits, all of them singles against Garcia, who is a nice pitcher but hardly one of the league’s best. One was an infield single by Eduardo Nuñez, another a single through Garcia’s five-hole, and a third a generous ruling by the official scorekeeper. 

“It comes down to, you’ve got to get some hits and create opportunities, and we’re not doing it very often,” Bochy said. “It’s just a matter of guys getting somewhat hot. We did, we had some success, and we won some games. The thing you like to see is some good cuts and I didn’t think we got enough of those tonight.”

That run, which spanned the last homestand and small parts of two road trips, has come to a screeching halt. The Giants have lost five of six. It seems silly to scoreboard-watch in May, especially when a team is playing like this, but it’s worth noting that the teams the Giants eventually need to catch keep winning. They fell 12 games back of the Rockies and 11 back of the streaking Diamondbacks. They are 9 1/2 back of the Dodgers, who might be the best team in the whole league. 

Matt Cain did his part to allow the Giants to keep pace. He got beat just once in seven sharp innings. The Giants intentionally walked Dansby Swanson to get to Garcia, who bounced a single into left. Brandon Belt had a play at the plate, but his throw was short and hit the runner. A second run scored. 

“That’s tough,” Cain said. “(Garcia) was throwing the ball really good and that’s what it comes down to, you’re looking for that one hit and he did it. He’s a good hitter. We’ve seen it in St. Louis. But it definitely is tough when the pitcher does that … it just stinks on my part to give up a hit to the opposing pitcher.”

Lowrie's big hit sparks A's, gets road trip started right

Lowrie's big hit sparks A's, gets road trip started right

NEW YORK — Jed Lowrie is the counterpoint to the A’s home run-crazed offensive attack.

Sure, the A’s switch-hitting second baseman can muscle up and clear the fence. But Lowrie’s approach is more about spraying base hits all around and using the whole field. He was at it again in Friday’s 4-1 A’s victory over the Yankees, going 3-for-4 and delivering an RBI single that snapped a scoreless tie in the eighth.

“I always have to carry his glove out to second for him because he’s always on base,” shortstop Adam Rosales said. “He looks really good at the plate right now, and he’s kind of just putting us on his back. It’s contagious to see a guy like that doing so well.”

Lowrie bumped his average up to .310 with Friday’s game. Until he grounded out in the sixth, he’d notched hits in seven consecutive at-bats dating back to Tuesday night. That streak fell one shy of the A’s record for most consecutive hits. Three players share the record at eight — Josh Reddick (in 2016), Dave Magadan (1997) and Brent Gates (1994).

“It’s all about the work,” said Lowrie, whose 15 doubles are tied for third in the AL. “Everything comes together when you’re seeing it well. I’m seeing it well but the approach hasn’t changed.”

With two runners aboard and two out in the eighth, Lowrie punched an RBI single to right off Tyler Clippard for the game’s first run. It was the breakthrough the A’s needed after they’d struck out 13 times in seven innings against Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka. Khris Davis followed Lowrie’s hit by beating out an infield single to score another run. Then Stephen Vogt added a two-run homer in top of the ninth to make it 4-0, and that provided some cushion as closer Santiago Casilla gave up a run and made things tenser than they should have been in the bottom half.

Davis, the most fearsome hitter in Oakland’s lineup, is thrilled to have a productive Lowrie batting in front of him as the No. 3 man.

“Somebody’s gotta hit .300,” Davis said. “All year he’s been our most consistent hitter and best hitter. I hope he keeps going.”

The A’s have won four in a row at Yankee Stadium dating back to last year. It’s their longest winning streak in the Bronx since a four-gamer at the old stadium in 2006. And it was a good way to begin a seven-game road trip for the A’s, who came in with the league’s worst road record at 6-15.

**

Rosales had puffiness under his right eye and said he was anticipating a shiner after his hard head-first dive into third base didn’t go as planned in the eighth. He scraped up his face pretty good after going first to third on an errant pickoff throw and taking a hard dive into third, only to find the dirt wasn’t giving.

After addressing reporters, Rosales said he was on his way to find an ice pack.