Giants

EXTRA BAGGS: Wilson, Hensley tackle the cone zone

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EXTRA BAGGS: Wilson, Hensley tackle the cone zone

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Clay Hensley had a grueling inning Sunday.A couple balls were kicked behind him. He threw a lot of pitches. His heartrate was elevated.

He was prepared for all of it.

Closer Brian Wilson might work out like a maniac, butHensley stays within a whisker of him. In fact, they collaborated along withnew strength and conditioning coach Carl Kochan on a military-style regimenthat is a sight to behold on the field.

Its part boot camp, part Battle of the Network Stars andit involves more cones than the Bay Bridge retrofit.

We both realized we wanted to do more baseball-specificmovements, Hensley told me. I mean, you could go in the gym and try to benchpress a house or something. But that doesnt help you emulate what its like topitch.

The drill involves cone running, backpedaling, crawling onall fours, attaching a parachute to your waist, sprinting back to the startingline, then doing it all over again.

OK, so they arent heaving concrete bricks up a muddy hill,shirtless, while wearing designer jeans. Not everyone can be Andres Torres, youknow.

Ive always been pretty intense in my workouts, but you canonly push yourself so much by yourself, Hensley said. We got on the same pagewith this, and we push each other. You never stop moving. Everything has apurpose.

Even the trench crawl?

Well, yeah, Hensley said with a laugh. If you triphitting the bag around third, you have to get up real quick, right?

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While their teammates enjoy the only break on the scheduleMonday, Matt Cain and Hector Sanchez will go to work.

Cain will stay on turn and log his pitches in a minor leaguegame against the As Triple-A club at Indian School Park. Sanchez will be hisbatterymate. If youre in the area, those games usually begin at 1 p.m. andthere is a small viewing area with bleachers that is available on a first-come,first-serve basis. Free, of course.

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Santiago Casilla is having an impressive spring. Hes givenup two hits and walked one batter in six scoreless innings.

Casilla is just as excited about his little brother, Jose,who once ranked as one of the better young relief arms in the system. JoseCasilla had reconstructive elbow surgery in June. Santiago reports that his kidbrother is playing long toss at up to 175 feet and he should get back on amound in a couple of months.

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Angel Pagan couldnt haul in an over-the-shoulder catch incenter field, and the Padres Jason Bartlett ended up with a triple. I wasntthere to see it, but apparently a similar thing happened to Pagan few daysearlier.

The wind was an issue this time, and itll take time beforea fair evaluation can be made about Pagans ability in center. But from whatIm told by scouts, his defense will be a grade below what we saw from AndresTorres.

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The backup catcher competition will come down to catchingand throwing. Everyone knows what the pitching staff and Bruce Bochy thinks ofEli Whitesides catching and game-calling skills.

As for the throwing? Even with Whitesides elbow improved,that isnt much of a competition. Chris Stewart simply has one of the quickestreleases Ive ever seen. He snapped out of his crouch and made a lightningquick, accurate throw to Pablo Sandoval to pick a runner off third base.

The backup catcher job wont be decided till the very end,and in terms of pure emotion, its going to be the hardest one for the coachingstaff.

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It sure was a rainy day in Scottsdale. But no, the Giantsdidnt dip into their fund to sign Cain. Not yet, anyway.

Five mistakes that will haunt Giants after 77th loss of 2017

Five mistakes that will haunt Giants after 77th loss of 2017

SAN FRANCISCO — If the Giants were in a different situation, Tuesday night’s loss was the kind that really would sting for a few days. As is, it was simply loss No. 77 in a stunningly bad season. 

The Giants went down 4-3 in somewhat familiar fashion, with their offense failing to break through and their bullpen coming up short. But this loss, No. 77, was also about small mistakes, both mental and physical. Let’s count down some of the ways the Giants went down:

--- Gorkys Hernandez, a late addition to the lineup because Hunter Pence has a tight hamstring, dropped a fly ball in deep right in the fourth inning. That cost Jeff Samardzija a run and a few more pitches. Bruce Bochy said Pence likely will be off Wednesday and then return Friday in Arizona. 

--- Bochy pulled Samardzija after just 89 pitches, and it was certainly peculiar in the moment. The thing is, the intention fit in with the reality of this season. Samardzija has carried a heavy load and Bochy was trying to protect his arm a bit. 

“The inning before, he logged some pitches,” Bochy said. “I’ve worked him pretty hard and I’m really looking after him as much as anything. We’re trying to give some guys a break and it didn’t work out. We had some guys lined up in the seventh, eighth, ninth — it just didn’t work out in the seventh.”

--- You can’t really argue with protecting a big-money pitcher in a down year. But Bochy probably wishes he had chosen someone other than Albert Suarez, who was fresher than others but has now given up runs in six of seven appearances. Suarez turned a one-run lead into a one-run deficit. It was more glaring when Kyle Crick entered and pitched 1 1/3 sharp innings. 

--- The Giants still had a chance — it helped that the Brewers took a dominant Josh Hader out of the game just because he’s a lefty and Nick Hundley bats right-handed — and they put two on in the eighth. Denard Span hit a soft single to right and Phil Nevin waved Hundley, who has catcher’s legs. He was out by a mile. Bochy said he was fine with forcing the issue there, although that’s a call Nevin probably wants back. 

Another twist on the play: Bochy could have put speedy Orlando Calixte in for Hundley and then moved Pablo Sandoval over to first in the next inning, with Calixte at third. He didn’t second-guess that decision.

“He was out pretty easily,” Bochy said. “I don’t know if a little more speed would have helped out.”

--- In the bottom of the ninth, Kelby Tomlinson singled. He was promptly caught stealing second with the heart of the order coming up. Again, a decision that went the visiting team’s way. 

Those moments could be defended or second-guessed. On another night, maybe they all work out and the Giants win 3-2, or 6-4. On this night, it was simply a familiar script, and loss No. 77.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 4-3 loss to Brewers

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USATSI

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 4-3 loss to Brewers

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — Just when it seemed the Giants were starting to find some continuity in their bullpen, they have taken a couple of steps back. 

Two days after Hunter Strickland imploded late, Albert Suarez gave up the lead. The Giants lost 4-3 to the Brewers in a game that dragged. The Brewers did open the window a bit in the bottom of the eighth and Denard Span bounced a single to right with two outs and two on. Phil Nevin waved Nick Hundley all the way around third and Hundley was thrown out by 10 feet to end the inning. 

Anyway, here are five other things to know … 

—- Just one of Jeff Samardzija’s six innings went 1-2-3, and Bruce Bochy turned to the bullpen after just 89 pitches. Samardzija was charged with two runs, one of them earned. It was a little odd that he came out so early. 

—- Suarez entered in the seventh with a one-run lead and gave up two runs before being lifted. He has allowed a run in six of his last seven appearances. 

—- Brandon Crawford momentarily gave the Giants the lead with a two-run homer, his 11th. He is definitely starting to hit his stride. Crawford has four extra base hits and six RBI on the homestand. 

—- Why is it so hard for the Giants to sign power bats? Well, just ask Eric Thames. He hit a 433-foot blast to lead off the third but ended up with just a triple when it bounced off the top of the bricks in right-center. Per Statcast data, Thames is the first player in the last three years to hit a ball more than 430 feet and not get a homer. He was stranded at third. 

—- Over in Sacramento, a couple of rehab appearances went as planned. Johnny Cueto threw three scoreless innings for the River Cats; he will make at least one more minor league start. Joe Panik was 0-for-2 in five innings; he will join the San Jose Giants on Wednesday for another rehab game.