Tag:Doug Mientkiewicz
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 25, 2010 4:19 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2010 4:43 pm

Padilla as LA opening day starter speaks volumes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- That the Dodgers will hand the ball to veteran Vicente Padilla for the start on opening day doesn't quite inspire drumrolls, Angels blaring trumpets or red carpets.

As Dodgers manager Joe Torre was saying here in the desert Thursday morning, somebody has to start in Pittsburgh on April 5.

Think I'm being sarcastic here? I'm not.

"We just had to pick someone, and he's the one," Torre said. "Am I saying he's better than the other guys? I can't do that. We decided to line them up that way.

"The fact is, we don't have a No. 1. We have four guys who have pitched important games for us."

That pretty much says it all. The Dodgers are waiting for Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw to step up. Each has No. 1 stuff. But both are still maturing and growing. Padilla will be followed in the rotation by Kershaw, then Billingsley, and then Hiroki Kuroda.

The Dodgers' fifth starter remains unnamed. Veteran Russ Ortiz has moved into position to win that job over the final 10 days or so of the spring. Journeyman Ramon Ortiz also is vying for the slot, as are knuckleballer Charlie Haeger, former Blue Jay Josh Towers, Justin Miller and Eric Sults.

As for Padilla, the Dodgers signed him as a minor-league free agent last August after the Rangers essentially booted him off the team. He went 4-0 with a 3.20 ERA over eight games (seven starts) for the Dodgers down the stretch.

While he threw seven shutout innings against St. Louis in the playoffs last October, he was 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA in two NLCS starts against the Phillies.

Torre said that Padilla's playoff work factored into the decision some, but, basically, "we have four guys and you can put their name in a hat."

Sunblock Day? Rocking now in Arizona: High 70s, 80s this weekend.

Likes: Phil Hughes as the Yankees fifth starter. Vicente Padilla as the Dodgers opening day starter. Love the time in the spring when we're close enough to Opening Day that decisions start rolling in. ... Doug Mientkiewicz's grit. The veteran is in Dodgers' camp trying to win a job. His shoulder is much better following last year's surgery. Don't know if he's going to make it in LA, but maybe somewhere. ... Dodger legend Don Newcombe addressing the team before Thursday's practice. ... The bunting contest the Giants had scheduled for Thursday morning, a handful of pitchers vs. a handful of position players. ... Tina Fey on David Letterman Wednesday night. Date Night looks like it's got possibilities. ... Four more days of NCAA tourney action. Go Butler, go Michigan State and go Cornell.

Dislikes: Glad to see baseball remove the silly off day from the middle of the League Championship Series, which probably will force teams to use four starters throughout (as opposed to the way the Yankees were able to take advantage of off days and breeze through the entire postseason with just three starting pitchers last fall). But there's still too much time between the LCS and World Series, and this does nothing to move the World Series up and prevent it from being played in November. A very inauspicious start by Commissioner Bud Selig's special committee for on-field matters. ... Dwight Gooden's ongoing saga. Driving under the influence of drugs, leaving the scene of an accident, and all with a child in the car. That's pathetic. ... The fact that in this blog the other day I referred to the movie Ghost Writer as Ghost Rider. I know it's Ghost Writer. As in, someone who writes a book for someone else in that someone else's voice. Ugh. Obviously I need more spring training. Still not quite in mid-season form.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"I still love Tom Petty songs
"And driving old men crazy"

-- Gaslight Anthem, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues


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