Tag:San Francisco Giants
Posted on: March 30, 2010 2:41 am
 

Giants' Panda not on bamboo diet

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There's a rich history in baseball of players who have eaten themselves out of the game and, together, Pablo Sandoval and the Giants are working to make sure that doesn't happen to one of the most exciting young hitters around.

Sandoval is blessed with inordinate strength, incredible hand-eye coordination and a body that looks like it came straight from a cartoon. As he focuses on maintaining his strength but not adding weight, he's working with a nutrition company that sends meals straight to the stadium for him.

"Fish, chicken, fruit, salads," Sandoval says.

More and more clubs are working toward being smart about nutrition. St. Louis this year is re-constituting its clubhouse food all the way down through its farm system. The Giants did it a year or two ago. Other clubs are doing the same. And the days of the post-game food spread consisting of ribs and burgers in big league clubhouses are becoming a thing of the past.

Where Sandoval is concerned, the Giants list his weight as 252 but reports are that he was up over 260 last season. Given that he's just 23, that's a concern -- not just for his baseball career, but for his off-the-field future.

When I asked him what his weight was up to last season, he grinned bashfully and said, "I can't tell."

When I asked him where he's at now, I got the same bashful grin and the same answer.

But Sandoval and the Giants were smart, scheduling the Kung Fu Panda to meet with a nutritionist each Friday during the winter starting early last November. There, he learned about things like calories, portions and protein. Right now, he says he's supposed to get about 1,700 calories a day.

"Something like that," Sandoval says.

"I'm working hard," he adds. "I feel great. I'm moving well in the field, I've been running hard and I don't lose my power."

What people forget is that language isn't the only barrier for players who come over from the Latin American countries (Sandoval is from Venezuela).

"The food is different," he says. "I'm learning about how you have to eat in the off-season, too. I'm trying to eat the right portions."

The most difficult thing?

"The fast food," he says. "Especially in the minor leagues. Late in the night, after a game, you're eating McDonald's. The fast food tastes good, but it is bad for you.

"Everything is different here. You don't have your mom's cooking."

What is his favorite thing that his mother makes?

"Lasagna," he says, beaming.

Second-favorite?

"Rice and chicken."

As long as he bypasses the drive-thru windows, Panda should be on his way.

Sunblock Day? Ah, 80s in the desert.

Likes: Kay, the woman "guarding" the door to the San Francisco Giants clubhouse. A retiree, Kay is so fierce that she keeps a bowl of candy on her table for reporters to dip into on their way inside. But what caught my eye was her knitting -- she was finishing up a wash cloth when I came upon her the other day. It struck me because it was a similar style to those that my grandmother once knitted. And those are the world's best dish rags -- I've hoarded them for years. Sadly, my grandmother no longer is with us, but I smile each time I pull out one of her wash cloths to do the dishes at home after a meal. "I've read four books this spring and knitted 12 of these wash cloths," Kay said. And this is part of what makes spring training so great, meeting retirees and snowbirds who get these seasonal jobs at the local ballparks simply because they love the game and want to be close to it. Some of these folks could not be more pleasant. We've all got our places in this world, and life is a whole lot richer if you keep your eyes open to your surroundings. What a sweetheart Kay is.

Dislikes: Richardson's Cuisine of New Mexico burned down last summer so, sadly, that's off the dinner circuit this spring in Phoenix. But the good news is, the same folks own Rokerij here in Phoenix (it means "smokehouse" in Dutch) and they're offering dual menus. The Rokerij menu (pronounced "Roke-a-ree") and the Richardson's menu. Thanks to Paul Jensen, a jack-of-all-trades media guru who is working as a consultant to the Camelback Ranch facility housing the Dodgers and White Sox, for pointing this out. Because of this bit of intelligence, I had as good a dinner as I've had this spring the other night: Sensational blackened mahi-mahi, green chili mashed potatoes and roasted beets. And yes, Richardson's famous Prickly Pear margarita. The Rokerij rocks.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Out here the nights are long, the days are lonely
"I think of you and I'm working on a dream
"I'm working on a dream
"Now the cards I've drawn, it's a rough hand, darlin'
"I straighten my back and I'm working on a dream
"I'm working on a dream

-- Bruce Springsteen, Working on a Dream

Posted on: March 27, 2010 8:27 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2010 9:10 pm
 

Giants torrid spring a harbinger of 2010?

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- By Memorial Day, spring training records often take on the same meaning as yesterday's newspaper, your old report cards and the snow shovel sitting in your garage.

So here are the San Francisco Giants, who are headed toward 2010 with great pitching and questions surrounding their ability to score runs, absolutely ripping it up in Cactus League play.

Though they dropped a 4-3 decision to the Angels on Saturday, the Giants own the best spring record in the majors at 19-8, a .730 winning percentage. They're half-a-game ahead of Cleveland (16-6) in the Cactus League.

Does this mean the Giants maybe have a leg up on positively answering some of their questions? Leadoff man Aaron Rowand, for example, is hitting .474 with a .771 slugging percentage and a .543 on-base percentage. He is a huge key to what the Giants need to do this summer.

Or, perhaps, does it mean that all these spring wins and $4 will get Giants manager Bruce Bochy a latte at Starbucks?

"It's hard to quantify how you look at wins and losses in spring training," says Bochy, in his 16th spring as manager. "A lot of kids are playing.

"But I'll say this: No matter where you're at or what you're doing, it's nice to win."

With the caveat that it is dangerous to buy into spring numbers too deeply, these are among the Giants' spring highlights:

Todd Wellemeyer's 3-0 record and 1.35 ERA. He's pretty much nailed down the fifth spot in the Giants' rotation.

Young right-hander Kevin Pucetas has opened eyes in going 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA over 14 innings.

Top prospect Buster Posey is making a run toward the opening day roster even though Bengie Molina has the catching spot locked down by hitting .415 with a .442 OBP in 17 games. The Giants are talking about spotting him in at first base and catcher.

Outfielder John Bowker is forcing the playing-time issue with four homers, 18 RBI and 34 total bases in 20 games (57 at-bats).

Newcomer Aubrey Huff: 3 homers, 12 RBI, a .438 on-base percentage and a .357 batting average.

"He hits the s--- out of the ball," two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum marvels.

"It can build confidence in a club," Bochy says of winning in the spring. "We certainly want to be in winning mode, whether it's spring training or the regular season."

So far, so good with that.

Sunblock Day: Lots of sun Saturday, but very windy in the desert. Temps in the high 60s to low 70s.

Likes: Butler to the Final Four! Butler to the Final Four! My Indiana-born parents went to Butler They met at Butler. My poor dad was sweating out the win over Kansas State so badly he had to leave my brother's house and take a walk when K-State took the lead late in the second half. He came back with 2:00 left and Butler back ahead. He's been living and dying with the Bulldogs from afar all season. If there will be a Final Four moment that's more chilling than when Butler takes the court in Indianapolis for its semi-final game, I can't wait to see it.

Likes II: The Bruce Springsteen mix CD playing as the Giants hit before Friday's Cactus League game against the Angels. Who made the CD? Giants bench coach Ron Wotus. Very impressive. ... Giants third-base coach Tim Flannery, a musician himself, loved Crazy Heart so much he's seen it three times. ... How about that Kansas State-Xavier game Thursday night? You will not see a better college basketball game. It's rare that you know you're watching a classic at the time it's happening, and that definitely was one of them. What a great, great NCAA tournament this year.

Dislikes: Hate to see veteran Doug Mientkiewicz leave Dodgers camp Saturday to think about things after being told he probably won't make the club. He's a terrific person, and I know he wants to keep playing. We talked the other day and his issue with playing Triple-A is, he's fine with it -- if it's in a place where he thinks he'll get a reasonable opportunity to play in the majors. With the Dodgers, with James Loney at first and the versatile Ronnie Belliard on the roster, and with lefty Garrett Anderson probably on the roster as a pinch-hitter, it doesn't look like he'll get that.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Rock and roll means well
"But it can't help telling young boys lies"

-- Drive-By Truckers, Marry Me

Posted on: March 23, 2010 5:19 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2010 4:08 pm
 

Wellemeyer close to lock as Giants' No. 5 starter

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- San Francisco's sole remaining starter's slot crystallized a bit more on Tuesday when the Giants optioned phenom Madison Bumgarner to their minor-league camp, all but officially anointing veteran right-hander Todd Wellemeyer as the fifth starter behind Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Barry Zito and Jonathan Sanchez.

Officially, right-hander Kevin Pucetas is still in the running for a starting job, but Wellemeyer's major-league resume appears to give him a clear edge.

"He's got the experience and he's done a great job this spring," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Wellemeyer. "We're very pleased with where we're at with Todd."

Bumgarner, just 20, debuted for the Giants last summer. The Giants' first-round pick in the 2007 draft arrived ahead of schedule, which probably served to raise expectations a bit too high for the kid this spring.

"We want him to work on some things," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Control the ball a little better. He's 20 years old. He's got a bright future. We think a lot of him."

Bumgarner had a 6.43 ERA in three Cactus League appearances, and had been expected to be sent to the minors. The only mild surprise was that it came with two weeks remaining in camp. The Giants thought Bumgarner was pressing too hard, and they wanted to remove the pressure and allow him to relax.

"We want him to work on his secondary pitches," Bochy said. "And with the way Wellemeyer is throwing the ball, it makes sense to let Madison go down and pitch."

The Giants signed Wellemeyer, 31, about a week before spring camp started. Their original idea was to use him as a long reliever, even though he spent much of the past two seasons starting in St. Louis. This spring, though, he's gone 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA over 15 innings pitched -- literally pitching his way into the rotation.

Sunblock Day? Just when you thought spring was here ... woke up to a hard rain in the desert. It was wet enough it forced the Giants to hit in the batting cages in Scottsdale and the White Sox to do the same in Glendale. Cloudy and mid-50s early morning, cloudy and low-to-mid-60s at game time.

Likes: Mets shortstop Jose Reyes back to baseball on Wednesday. At least, that's what the doctors are saying, and you can bet the happiest man in Port St. Lucie will be Reyes -- followed by Mets manager Jerry Manuel. ... Pablo Sandoval hitting for the Giants. He ripped a double into the right-center gap in a Cactus League game on Tuesday on a pitch practically at his shoe tops. ... Divorcing Dodgers owner Frank McCourt in Bob Nightengale's USA Today piece Tuesday: "Tiger Woods was fantastic for me." ... As my friend Ed Price, who writes for AOL/Fanhouse, points out, there could be three opening day starters who didn't throw one pitch in 2009: Toronto's Shaun Marcum, Cleveland's Jake Westbrook and Oakland's Ben Sheets. ... Quite a look for Giants closer Brian Wilson as he strolled into the clubhouse Tuesday morning wearing bright lavender pants, white sunglasses and a Mohawk. Newcomer Aubrey Huff couldn't help hooting. ... Bob Dylan's Nashville Skyline remains terrific after all these years. ... I'm told Ghost Writer is fantastic. Looking forward to seeing it. ... The Cajun rib eye at Donovan's steakhouse. Talk about flavorful.

Dislikes: Nearing the end of spring training and no trips to Richardson's Cuisine of New Mexico, the fabulous Phoenix restaurant that burned last summer.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"It¹s not having what you want
"It¹s wanting what you¹ve got"

-- Sheryl Crow, Soak Up the Sun

Posted on: January 5, 2010 5:10 pm
 

Randy Johnson expected to retire tonight

Randy Johnson has scheduled a conference call for later today, at which time the five-time Cy Young award winner is expected to announce his retirement.

The call comes on the eve of Wednesday's Hall of Fame voting results, a fitting time being that five years from now, it will be Johnson who almost certainly will be inducted into Cooperstown.

Johnson, 46, won his 300th game last summer pitching for the San Francisco Giants, becoming just the 24th pitcher in history to reach that level. That, though, turned into the highlight of his season. Not long after, he suffered a tear in his rotator cuff, missed the next several weeks and finished 8-6 with a 4.88 ERA for the Giants.

Only Roger Clemens (six) won more Cy Young awards than Johnson, who helped pitch the Arizona Diamondbacks to the 2001 World Series title in a memorable triumph over the Yankees. Johnson and Curt Schilling were co-MVPs during that series, during which one of the most memorable moments came when Johnson entered Game 7 in relief in the eighth inning and earned the win after being the winning pitcher in Game 6 the night before.

Over 22 seasons with Montreal, Seattle, Houston, Arizona, the Yankees and the Giants, Johnson went 303-166. His 4,875 strikeouts rank second all-time to Nolan Ryan (5,714). He also pitched 37 shutouts.

Posted on: December 29, 2009 4:35 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2009 5:21 pm
 

Bay-watch finished, Mets' winter looking up

Whether he wants to or not, slugging outfielder Jason Bay is on the verge of becoming a New York Met. Bay and the club have agreed to terms on a four-year contract worth $66 million, CBSSports.com has confirmed, with a fifth-year option that could boost the package into the $80 million neighborhood.

The deal is pending Bay passing a physical examination and, as such, the Mets are not confirming that an agreement is in place.

Barring any surprises with Bay's physical, the move will accomplishes one of the Mets' chief offseason goals, which was adding a slugger who will man left field and make manger Jerry Manuel's lineup more dangerous. It also should silence critics who were chattering that the Mets' dalliance with Bay was "just for show", a transparent attempt to placate their fans while making an offer they knew Bay would not accept.

In the end, they got it done.

Now, regarding the "wants to" part: The Mets made their initial offer to Bay coming out of the winter meetings in Indianapolis some three weeks ago and have been waiting for an answer ever since. Speculation, of course, has been strong in some quarters that Bay must not have wanted to become a Met very badly because, if he did, talks between him and the club wouldn't have dragged along for so long.

But in a chilly winter on the free agent market in which Boston cut bait with Bay and signed outfielder Mike Cameron, and Seattle, San Francisco and the Yankees -- all clubs looking for a big, middle-of-the-order bat -- Bay's options pretty much dwindled to just one. And that one was located with a Queens ZIP code.

However Bay was delivered -- and there's a lot of dollars here to sooth any disappointment the Canada native might have felt when Seattle didn't step up, or when Boston pulled its offer -- there is no doubt that it's a victory for the Mets.

It's not a guaranteed victory, because we've been through this before with them: They traded for Johan Santana two winters ago and signed free agent closers Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz last winter and failed to make the playoffs both years. Much to their fans chagrin, the Mets have proven in recent years that they're a different breed and often add up to less than the sum of their parts would appear.

But they have needs to fill as the time since their last playoff appearance (2006) lengthens and the back-to-back NL champion -- and Mets' NL East rival -- Philadelphia Phillies (who already have traded for Roy Halladay and signed Placido Polanco this winter) continue to swing for the fences.

Though he's now 31, considered a mediocre outfielder and batted just .267 for the Red Sox last summer, he also walloped 36 home runs and finished with 119 RBI.

With a healthy Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran (it's never too late to start knocking on wood in advance of opening day with them) and with slugging third baseman David Wright, Bay will give the Mets another presence that should make life difficult for opposing pitchers.

But their job is not finished. They still need a catcher -- free agent Bengie Molina remains the most logical bet -- and pitching (bullpen help, especially).

With the Mets, the job is never finished. But with Bay poised to change his workplace address to Citi Field, ever so cautiously, there again is hope.

Posted on: December 9, 2009 6:23 pm
 

Notes on Johnny Damon and more

INDIANAPOLIS -- Where might outfielder Johnny Damon land if he and the Yankees can't get back together on a deal following New York's acquisition of Curtis Granderson? Here's one potential spot: San Francisco.

The Giants are looking to improve their offense and met this week with agent Scott Boras, who also represents third baseman Adrian Beltre, another potential fit with the Giants. Damon's bat certainly would compliment an ace rotation featuring Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Barry Zito well.

The Yankees remain interested in retaining Damon, though the acquisition of Granderson provides them with leverage to bring him back on their terms rather than on his -- or, at the very least, to meet on middle ground.

While announcing the three-way blockbuster trade with Detroit and Arizona that netted the Yankees Granderson on Wednesday, Yankees' general manager Brian Cashman said that the move does not necessarily preclude them from talking with Damon and free agent designated hitter Hideki Matsui.

"We're still fluid in our discussions right now," Cashman said. "It gives us comfort to know we have solved a big part of our offense. We have a great offense as it is, but when you have the potential of losing a Damon and Matsui ... with Granderson in mix, [it's like], 'All right, I've got certain things taken care of, it's not as bad as it was an hour before sitting at this podium."

-- Free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre expects to sign a multi-year deal, sources with knowledge of his thinking said Wednesday. Baltimore and San Francisco are among the interested teams.

-- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski says he expects newly acquired outfielder Austin Jackson, from the Yankees as part of the Granderson trade, to break camp with the big league club next spring.

-- Dombrowski on the difficulty of dealing a player as popular as Granderson is in Detroit: "It's very difficult. When I talked to him on the phone today, I said it's one of the more difficult phone calls I've made in my career. You've all seen the ability, it speaks for itself. But he's as quality a human being as you'll find. He's an individual who meant a lot to our franchise, to our city, to our state. I know he's well-loved, and it's deserved, but as I told him, we're making some adjustments and it's a business decision. He's a unique individual, and I understand when you trade players that are known for players that are unknown, it's never a popular move with your fans."

-- Not much today on the Cubs' front in their efforts to deal Milton Bradley, other than the fact that it remains their No. 1 goal. "They're trying to push Bradley out the door as soon as possible," one source says.

-- Congratulations to Bill Madden of the New York Daily News, who will be inducted into the writers' wing of the Hall of Fame next July as the winner of this year's J.G. Taylor Spink award.

-- Congratulations also to the legendary Peter Gammons, who ends his 20-year run at ESPN this week and will move over to the MLB Network. The move will allow Peter more flexibility, less travel and more time in his native Boston area. Well deserved for one of the game's class acts.

 

Posted on: December 8, 2009 2:24 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2009 4:14 pm
 

Padres dangling Kouzmanoff

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Padres, budget-conscious and dangling third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff as a way to control costs, have talked to the San Francisco Giants and Minnesota Twins -- among others -- about a deal.

The Giants are considering several options as they look to add a bat to a light-hitting lineup that had trouble scoring last year. Kouzmanoff, due for a big arbitration raise this winter from his $432,000 salary in 2009, is one of them. A steady defensive player who finished second in the Gold Glove voting in '09, Kouzmanoff would give the Giants a 20-home run bat and improve their defense. In a Kouzamanoff scenario, the Giants could move Pablo Sandoval over to first base.

The Padres also Tuesday approached the Twins about Kouzmanoff. Those two clubs have had discussions about Kouzmanoff in the past, but the Twins have not been overly interested.

As of Tuesday afternoon, neither discussion had advanced very far, according to sources with knowledge of the talks. Within the Giants-Padres discussions, San Francisco was talking of a deal that would include outfielder Fred Lewis and infielder Kevin Frandsen. "That isn't going to get it done," one source with knowledge of the Padres' thinking said.

One of the options presented in the Twins-Padres discussion was Minnesota sending starting pitcher Glen Perkins to the Padres for Kouzmanoff, but the Padres didn't think that was enough, either. Perkins last year went 6-7 with a 5.89 ERA in 18 appearances (17 starts) for the Twins.

The Padres' issue is that Kouzmanoff, starter Kevin Correia are all arbitration-eligible, and the likelihood is that all three will not fit within the projected $40 million (or so) payroll. Kouzmanoff is likely to earn $3 to $4 million through arbitration in 2010. The Padres also are exploring Bell's value on the trade market and could reach a point where they would non-tender Correia, who led the team with 12 wins in 2009.
Posted on: September 14, 2009 9:28 pm
Edited on: September 15, 2009 12:25 am
 

Big Unit eyes bullpen comeback

SAN FRANCISCO -- Faced with a must-win series against Colorado this week -- that's must-win every night, not must-win as in must take two of three -- San Francisco's bullpen has help on the horizon: Randy Johnson threw 48 pitches' worth of a simulated game Monday and hopes to pitch in and help the Giants bullpen soon.

It won't be during the Rockies' series, but manager Bruce Bochy said that if Johnson comes through it and feels fine on Tuesday, he'll likely be activated soon.

He hasn't pitched since July 5 because of a torn rotator cuff.

"It's not strained or bruised, it's torn and I've been out for two months," Johnson said following his mid-afternoon workout. "I've recovered from the injury as much as I can."

Meaning: It's time to roll.

"I know [the Giants] bullpen is pretty beat up and we're playing a lot of teams with left-handed hitters," Johnson said, anticipating spot relief duty.

Bochy was pleased with what he saw, and everyone knows it's all-hands-on-deck now.

"It says a lot about Randy and how competitive he is," Bochy said.

Johnson looked strong, and backup outfielder John Bowker no doubt can attest to that: Bowker was hit by a Johnson pitch early in the outing. The only Giant who got decent wood on the ball was utility infielder Kevin Frandsen, who sliced a ball toward right-center field.

Johnson technically threw 53 pitches overall, if you include his warm-up tosses. There does not seem to be a sense from Johnson or Bochy that the big left-hander needs another simulated game before pitching in a real game.

"What happened today was encouraging," Johnson said. "I feel I'm ready to go. The first step is to be activated. The next step is finding out when I'm going to pitch again. Hopefully, it will be in a real game."

Likes: Randy Johnson working in a quiet ballpark at 3:30 in the afternoon. ... Terrific run along the Embarcadero on a stunningly gorgeous Monday morning in San Francisco. You could not have ordered up better weather. ... Lefty O'Doul's in San Francisco. I can still vouch for the corned beef.

Dislikes: Seeing Hall of Famer Willie McCovey struggling to walk with his arm brace/crutches. If only Stretch's knee injuries could have come with medicine and surgeries as advanced as they are today. ... The Virgin Records Megastore in downtown San Francisco? Out of business. ... Kanye West apparently is a punk.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Nighttime on The City of New Orleans,
"Changing cars in Memphis, Tennessee.
"Half way home, we'll be there by morning
"Through the Mississippi darkness
"Rolling down to the sea.
"And all the towns and people seem
"To fade into a bad dream
"And the steel rails still ain't heard the news.
"The conductor sings his song again,
"The passengers will please refrain
"This train's got the disappearing railroad blues"

-- Steve Goodman, City of New Orleans

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com