Romanick, A's aiming to lighten pitchers' loads

Romanick, A's aiming to lighten pitchers' loads

Feb. 16, 2010

PHOENIX -- The A's have a new pitching coach this year in Ron Romanick, a longtime member of the organization who was promoted from bullpen coach in the wake of former pitching coach Curt Young's offseason departure.The A's also have a new throwing routine, which Romanick created after doing some math and looking for a way to lighten his staff's load.Instead of throwing in the bullpen every other day, which is the norm throughout big-league ball early in spring training, Oakland's arms will get two days of rest between side sessions for at least the first two weeks of camp.
"Makes sense to me," said closer Andrew Bailey, who is coming off elbow surgery and is one of several relievers who'll be closely monitored -- i.e., dialed back -- by Romanick and A's manager Bob Geren. "Everyone knows that Romanick knows what he's doing."Geren told reporters Wednesday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium that Bailey and setup men Michael Wuertz and Craig Breslow, all of whom have carried a considerable load over the past couple of years, also will be used more lightly in Cactus League action this spring. Typically, a healthy reliever gets 12-14 spring games under his belt, but the aforementioned trio is scheduled for between eight and 10.RELATED: A's 2010 pitching stats
Wednesday featured the first official workout for A's pitchers and catchers, but many of the pitchers have been in town and throwing side sessions for a week to 10 days.Left-hander Dallas Braden was the standout among the pitchers who threw in the bullpen Wednesday, according to Geren. Fifth-starter candidate Brandon McCarthy also was scheduled to throw, and Thursday's list of pitchers throwing in the 'pen includes lefties Brett Anderson and Gio Gonzalez.The A's also announced Wednesday that they've made some changes to their upcoming intrasquad-game and workout schedules.Full workouts will be held at Papago Park, the team's minor-league facility up the road from Phoenix Muni, next Monday through Wednesday. They will be the only big-league workouts at Papago, the rest being held at the stadium. Phoenix Muni also will be the site of intrasquad games on three consecutive days next week, starting Thursday, Feb. 24.Follow Mychael on Twitter @MUrbanCSN.

Giants continue embarrassing stretch against rebuilding Padres

Giants continue embarrassing stretch against rebuilding Padres

SAN FRANCISCO — Three years ago, the Giants and Padres were the two teams in it until the very end for Pablo Sandoval’s services. He ended up in Boston, and when he became available again over the past week, the Padres politely backed away. 

They prefer youth and Rule 5 Draft picks. They came into this season knowing they might lose 100 games, and they didn’t mind. If anything, they welcomed the increased shot at the top pick in the 2018 draft. They’re here to tank, but the Giants (who expect to welcome Sandoval back on a minor league deal as soon as Friday) just won’t let them. 

Thursday’s 5-2 loss to San Diego was like so many others over the past calendar year. The Giants didn’t hit, they didn’t come through in the clutch, they did not support their starting pitcher, and they did not guarantee a handshake line. 

The Giants have lost 15 of 20 to the Padres since last year’s All-Star break, including three straight last July to kickstart a tailspin that has lasted over a year now. They have dropped four of five meetings in this second half, which was supposed to prove that a Padre-like rebuild is not needed up here in the Bay Area. They are five games behind the Padres in the race to finish a distant fourth in the National League, and in a season full of disappointment, that stands as one of the more embarrassing facts. 

Not even Madison Bumgarner’s return to AT&T Park could turn the tide. The lefty looked good most of the night, but two homers left him with a rougher-than-hoped line. Bumgarner gave up four earned on two homers. He has allowed multiple homers in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. Both starts have come against the Padres. 

“I’ve got to stop giving up homers,” Bumgarner said of his start. “That’s not going to work.”

Bumgarner said he felt fine physically, and his curveball — the pitch that has backfired on him most often since his return — feels right mechanically. He was facing his last batter in the seventh as George Kontos warmed up with a runner on. Corey Spangenberg hit a two-run shot to the deepest part of the yard to make it 4-2. 

Buster Posey flied out with the bases loaded in the eighth. The Giants brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth but couldn’t score, which has been the norm against the Padres. The Giants are averaging just 3.2 runs per game during this 20-game stretch of futility against a team they once dominated. 

“We need to win ballgames right now,” Bumgarner said. “We’ve got to start doing that. There’s no magic solution. We’ve got to start playing better, all of us.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as homers hurt Bumgarner vs Padres

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as homers hurt Bumgarner vs Padres


SAN FRANCISCO — A day after he did his press conference from a “Game of Thrones” throne, manager Bruce Bochy said he was happy the Giants won their series finale against the Indians and kept that plan in play. In that respect, he’s lucky his team wasn’t facing the Padres on Wednesday. 

The Giants were on Thursday, however, and they continued their baffling stretch of ineptitude against what is supposed to be the worst team in the National League West. The 5-2 loss to San Diego was the 15th in the last 20 meetings between the two teams, one of which has a $200 million payroll and the other of which is actively tanking. 

The Giants had a shot at a comeback in the eighth, but Buster Posey flied out to right with two outs and the bases loaded. Here are five things to know, if you are the curious type: 

—- Madison Bumgarner has faced the Padres twice since returning. In 13 1/3 innings, he has allowed 10 hits and seven earned runs. He is getting hurt by a familiar problem for the 2017 Giants: The Padres have four homers off Bumgarner in those two starts. Hunter Renfroe and Cory Spangenberg took him deep Thursday, with Spangenberg hitting one out to the deepest part of the yard on Bumgarner’s final pitch. 

—- This is the first time in Bumgarner’s career that he has allowed multiple homers in back-to-back starts. 

—- Kyle Crick showed good stuff — sitting 96-97 — while stranding a runner on second in the eighth. He followed that with a scoreless ninth. The Giants should make it a priority to throw him into some deeper water over the next two months. 

—- There’s an epidemic these days of outfielders making foolish throws to the plate. We see it just about every night, and it cost the Padres in the sixth. Gorkys Hernandez was on second and he took off right away on Denard Span’s single to right. Renfroe had no play at the plate but he threw it anyway and Span took second. He scored when Eduardo Nuñez singled to left. 

—- The Giants announced their second consecutive sellout. That’s a streak. Maybe?