Tag:John Bowker
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: April 16, 2008 2:23 pm
Edited on: April 16, 2008 2:53 pm
 

Tulowitzki, Big Papi and the Lonesome Pine

Troy Tulowitzki was back in Colorado's lineup Tuesday night, which shouldn't exactly be a big deal, except for the fact that, with Tulo scuffling early this season, Rockies manager Clint Hurdle was moved to pull the plug on him Sunday.

Yep, while Boston manager Terry Francona gave slumping slugger David Ortiz a mental day off, on the other side of the country (but away from the media glare), Hurdle did the same with Tulowitzki. And nope, Hurdle and Francona didn't exactly come up with the idea while jointly attending a meeting of Slumping Team Leaders Anonymous.

"Good minds think alike," Hurdle quips. "We did not text. We did not call.

"I found it humorous that we go somewhere and someone asked me about Ortiz."

Good thing Hurdle can laugh at the situation, given Tulowitzki's .149 start and two errors. And good thing Tulowitzki has friends in the clubhouse who can help pick him up during the tough times.

Why, before Tuesday's game in San Diego, several Rockies were watching San Francisco play Arizona on the clubhouse televisions as the Giants' John Bowker rapped out two more hits, leaving him at a cool .600 (6-for-10) with seven RBI in his first three major-league games.

"You're down to the fourth-best player from Long Beach," Rockies third baseman Garrett Atkins teased Tulowitzki, who played his college ball -- like Bowker, Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria and Oakland's Bobby Crosby -- at Cal State Long Beach.

They tease because they care, of course -- and also because they know Tulowitzki is too good to remain down-and-out. He emerged as the Rockies team leader as a rookie last summer, dazzled with the glove, hit 24 homers, finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting, drew comparisons to Cal Ripken Jr. and pretty much set himself up to win several Gold Glove awards.

"He's done a lot of good things," Hurdle says. "He's been a good story from that standpoint. I think sometimes things are overplayed and sometimes things are underplayed.

"When all is said and done, he'll get other days off. He'll be hitting, and it won't be a story."

Tulowitzki is only 23, yet he signed a six-year, $31 million deal that will keep him in Colorado through at least 2013. A year ago, Tulowitzki became the second-youngest opening day starter in Rockies franchise history. Amazing (and utterly impressive) that a year later, it's a monumental event when he's ragged enough that he's out of the lineup.

"A lot of people have affection for the way he plays the game and swings the bat," Hurdle says. "I don't think of it as anything more than a day off."

In a perfect world, Hurdle says, Tulowitzki would play roughly 150 games a season -- which, gasp, would mean taking 12 games off.

"You'd set it up for 150, and he'd probably play in 155 without injuries," Hurdle says. "He's pretty good at playing through things, too. He's got a hockey mentality. He doesn't have to be 100 percent to take the field.

"Guys who are willing to play hurt, it's hard to take them out of the lineup when they're healthy."

Tulowitzki went 0-for-3 with a walk in Tuesday night's 6-0 loss in San Diego. Chances are he'll regain his stroke soon, and his next day off will be later rather than sooner.

And no disrespect to Bowker, whose start in San Francisco has been nothing short of amazing, and nothing against Atkins' sense of humor, which is sharp ... but in the Cal State Long Beach rankings, even a slumping Tulowitzki isn't No. 4.

Likes: The frequent use of the No. 42 by so many players on Tuesday night as baseball celebrated the 61st anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. Suggestion for Commissioner Bud Selig: How about simply having every player, manager and coach wear the No. 42 every April 15 beginning next year? Robinson remains one of the game's proudest moments, a time when baseball was out in front of society as a whole in righting a longtime wrong and awarding rights to African-Americans that they should have had years earlier. Baseball should continue to trumpet the day and make everyone aware of Jackie Robinson and his everlasting meaning. ... San Francisco Chronicle columnist Scott Ostler writing that "Alex Rodriguez makes $28 million this season, while the entire Marlins' payroll is $21.8 million. What's worse, I hear A-Rod hit on all their wives." ... Steve Poltz's Traveling disc. He's the guy who wrote the smash Jewel hit You Were Meant For Me, and he's a terrific lyricist with a knack for writing catchy tunes. Check him out at www.Poltz.com.

Dislikes: Tax day. Ugh. ... The end of spring break for the schoolkids. ... Erik Bedard on the 15-day disabled list so soon. ... Cleveland closer Joe Borowski, too. ... The persistent chill in the Midwest and East. I was cold just watching games from Detroit, Cleveland and Kansas City on television the past several days.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"When they borrow your money they won't pay back
"They been borrowin' from me all way, in fact
"Now they been borrowin', boy, all of my life
"I believe one day they gonna borrow my wife"

-- Champion Jack Dupree, My Next Door Neighbor

 
 
 
 
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