Clubhouse comic Theriot misses parade to handle personal matter


Clubhouse comic Theriot misses parade to handle personal matter

SAN FRANCISCO -- It was one of the main themes that Hunter Pence touchedon during his first spirit session of the postseason.

Sure, he wanted to play one more game with his teammates,and he didnt want to go home. But he mentioned one more thing: I want to see whatJerry is going to wear tomorrow.

Jerry is second baseman Ryan Theriot -- apparently because hecalls everyone by that name in the clubhouse.

Unfortunately for Pence and his teammates, they didnt getto see Theriot at the World Series parade. He was the only member of theplayoff roster unable to attend because he was called away to deal with apersonal matter, Giants CEO Larry Baer said.

His absence was felt -- especially by teammates who werewondering how his victory parade getup would top the wild duds he wore allseason.

Heading to the park for Game 4 of the World Series, Theriotmatched a camel hair coat with a beanie.

It was beautiful, he said.

Shortstop Brandon Crawford could only shake his head.

Hell wear sort of plaid jacket that doesnt match hisshirt, Crawford said. He pulls it off somehow, though.

The Giants pulled off their second World Series in threeyears, and it was beyond fitting that Theriot scored the winning run in the 10thinning Sunday night. He was the designated hitter for the first time in hiscareer, leading to all kinds of guffaws from teammates when they saw thelineup.

As he stepped in the box in the 10th, Theriot hadno idea that Tigers left-hander Phil Coke had struck out all seven hitters hedfaced in the World Series.

Really? Wow, Theriot said. I just know I didnt want toget to the breaking ball. When I face a guy with a legitimate strikeout pitch,I think one pitch and thats what Im going with. It was a fastball up and Iput a good swing on it. I didnt want to get to the slider.

Theriot ripped the pitch into right field. It was just hissecond hit in 18 in World Series at-bats, counting last years experience withthe St. Louis Cardinals. He advanced on Crawfords sacrifice, and after Angel Paganstruck out, a vibe washed through the Giants dugout as Marco Scutaro stepped tothe plate.

Well, Theriot is always talking about how he scored thewinning run in the College World Series, Hunter Pence said. So when he got tosecond base, that lifted our spirits. When Scutaro was up to bat, we were all, 'It has to happen.' And it did.

Scutaro, the guy who took Theriots starting second base jobin August, got Cokes slider. He shot it to right field, as hes done so manytimes since joining the team from the Colorado Rockies.

A throw never came home. And Theriot became that kid from LSU adozen years ago. (Watch this if you care to compare.) He took no chances, slidinglike he was colliding with an imaginary pair of shinguards.

I didnt know it was necessary, Theriot said. But you've seen thehighlights when guys didnt slide. And I, 100 percent, was not going to letthat happen to me.

The dugout is going to erupt any time someone scores ago-ahead run in the 10th inning of a clinching World Series game.But it might have been a little more raucous because it was Theriot who scored it, roaringin a sumo wrestlers pose after flinging himself across the plate.

He was the Giants' daily comic relief -- the guy who wore muckboots to the shower, who dressed to impress and who started throwing sunflowerseeds, bubblegum and even protein bars during the pregame rally throngs.

Youve got to be careful, those bars are hard, Theriotsaid. I did think about getting a couple hundred bucks in 1s and making itrain. That was my plan. Didnt happen, though.

While were on the subject of dollars, it might be worthmentioning that Theriot is the answer to a trivia question: He was the Giantsmost expensive free-agent acquisition last winter, at 1.75 million. Thatsexactly 212.25 million less than what the Tigers gave Prince Fielder, who went1-for-14 in the World Series with no walks and four strikeouts. And its a lotless than the dead money the Dodgers absorbed to get Adrian Gonzalez from theRed Sox.

Its hard to pin a value on what Theriot provided to theseWorld Series champions Giants while winning his second ring in two seasons. Butthose who were around him every day understand what he was worth.

What Scutaro did all season is unbelievable but I dontthink people saw what Theriot did for us, Cain said. He was such an asset forus in the clubhouse. It wasnt an easy spot for him, but when we needed him, hestepped up. And now hes the DH and ends up scoring the deciding run. Thatsjust awesome.

Giants spring training day 8: Melancon, Hundley go way back

Giants spring training day 8: Melancon, Hundley go way back

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A couple of days before he signed a four-year deal, Mark Melancon fired off a midnight text to Nick Hundley. 

“Call me,” Melancon wrote.

When Hundley called, he found out his college teammate had chosen the Giants, ending a free agency process the two spoke about often. Two months later, it was Hundley’s turn to reach out. 

“I asked him if he wanted to play together again,” Hundley said. “He said, ‘You better not be messing with me.’”

The Giants signed just two free agents who are guaranteed of being on the opening day roster. In an odd twist, the new closer and new backup catcher have known each other for over a decade. Hundley was a second-round pick in 2005 out of the University of Arizona. A year later, his college teammate Melancon was a ninth-round pick. The two have stayed close throughout the pro ball journey. They were groomsmen in each other’s weddings and their wives and children hang out together. 

“We always talked about playing together,” Hundley said, adding that the odds were long in a 30-team sport.

The friends have crossed off a good chunk of them. Melancon has played for the Yankees, Astros, Red Sox, Pirates and Nationals. Hundley has played for the Padres, Orioles and Rockies. Finally, the two have hooked on to the same team, and the Giants are excited to have them both. Hundley will be the veteran catcher the team has missed in recent years, and the Giants are hopeful that he’s a pinch-hit threat, too. Melancon, of course, was brought in to fix the glaring problem in the ninth. Hundley is confident he’ll do it.

“I’ve caught him since 2005,” he said smiling, “And he’s always been nasty.”

NEW FACE: It’s hard to take much away from drills, but Orlando Calixte certainly impressed. As the Giants worked out on the field for the first time in three days, I asked GM Bobby Evans what Calixte showed the team’s scouts. “Just his athleticism, his tools, they stand out,” Evans said. They certainly do. Calixte is smooth out there, and he showed quickness at short that might differentiate him from the pack of infield options. 

Calixte has also played second, third and the outfield in the minors, and while the Giants intend on keeping five outfielders, that versatility could come into play. The Giants plucked Calixte from Kansas City’s system and put him on the 40-man roster when it became apparent that other offers were out there. They thought he could provide more versatility than Ehire Adrianza, and it helps that he has an option remaining. Calixte has to beat out a bunch of guys to win a roster spot, but given his glove and his status on the 40-man, it would be a surprise if we don’t see him at some point this season. 

ICYMI: Bruce Bochy said he’ll call Johnny Cueto to talk about his preparation for the World Baseball Classic. 

POSITION BATTLE: Matt Cain, the clear frontrunner for the No. 5 spot, faced hitters on the main field. Bochy liked what he saw. “He’s gotten more time away from that surgery and he’s throwing the ball well,” Bochy said. “Buster said the same thing. It’s coming out good.”

NOTEWORTHY: The Giants are serious about making Trevor Brown a more versatile option. He fielded grounders at short today and also spent plenty of time at second. 

QUOTABLE: “Just a good day. We (the coaches) were talking about how it’s changed a little bit. We’re not even in March yet and guys are letting it go.” — Bochy on the first day of live BP sessions. The pitchers were certainly well ahead of the hitters today. 

Will Cueto be ready for the WBC? 'That’s the question we have to answer'

Will Cueto be ready for the WBC? 'That’s the question we have to answer'

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Jeff Samardzija whirled and fired a strike to Eduardo Nuñez shortly after 11:30 a.m. on Monday. With that, the Giants took another step back toward actual baseball.

Monday was the first day of live batting practice sessions, but the most important one took place thousands of miles east of Scottsdale Stadium. Johnny Cueto faced teenage prospects at the club’s facility in Santo Domingo, and Bruce Bochy said he would call Cueto to check in on his progress. 

The Giants are not concerned that Cueto — who is tending to his ill father — is missing so much of spring training. They know him well enough by now to know that Cueto paces himself and takes care of his body. They are, however, starting to get a little concerned about Cueto missing so much camp and then going straight to the World Baseball Classic. 

“The spring started early so he’s got plenty of time to get ready for (opening day),” manager Bruce Bochy said. “The question will be will he be ready for the WBC. That’s the question we have to answer.”

Bochy said he would like to see Cueto in the 50-60 pitch range before he goes off to compete for the Dominican Republic. The Dominican team opens play March 9 at Marlins Park. 

“We’re going to talk about a lot of things,” Bochy said. “We’ll see where he’s at, see where he’s at mentally, and see how his father is doing.”

Bochy noted that Nolan Ryan used to show up to camp on March 1 and throw 80 mph, working his way up from there. The Giants view Cueto the same way, but at some point there will be a breaking point where the WBC participation becomes a real concern. At the very least, Bochy said, Cueto might be asked to join the DR team later in the tournament.