Tag:Mike Fontenot
Posted on: October 29, 2010 2:25 am
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Put him in coach, Fontenot ready to play

SAN FRANCISCO -- Poor Mike Fontenot.

There he was, ready to play in the first World Series game of his life.

There he was, in the on-deck circle to bat for relief pitcher Javier Lopez in the eighth inning as the Giants were en route to a 9-0 crushing of Texas in Game 2 on Thursday night.

There he was, being introduced by the public address announcer as the next batter with San Francisco comfortably ahead 6-0.

There he was ... U-turning back to the dugout when manager Bruce Bochy elected to hit Aaron Rowand when Texas summoned lefty reliever Mike Kirkman.

"Fontenot, he's entered a game in the World Series," said Giants veteran Mark DeRosa, who has been sidelined for most of the season with a wrist injury. "He told me that when he got back to the bench.

"He said, 'I played.'"

Indeed, because he was announced as a pinch-hitter, you will find Fontenot's name in the Game 2 box score. No plate appearance, but, hey. He played. Sort of.

Maybe next time.

Likes: The Willie Mays statue in front of AT&T Park rightfully gets all the recognition, but the Juan Marichal statue a little further down Third St. next to McCovey Cove is very cool, too. The statue captures the incredibly high leg kick of Marichal, who had the grace of a ballerina. You'd swear it would topple over with a good gust of wind. ... Went for a long run along the Embarcadero here down toward the ballpark, and you forget how many delivery trucks it takes to make sure a ballpark is well-stocked for a postseason game until you see them all parading through around 10 a.m. or so. ... Jokes about manager Bruce Bochy's cap size never get old. Especially because he's making all the right moves right now. ... The energy in this city is incredible. Orange and black Giants garb being worn everywhere. ... Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central High ready to debut in the state football playoffs on Friday night against those big, bad Dundee Vikings. My Falcons advanced to the Division 6 state title game last year, and Coach (and friend and classmate) Jack Giarmo has 'em ready to rock again. Go get 'em, Falcons.

Dislikes: Early morning flights, like the one I'm on very shortly here as I type these words!

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Goodbye to all my friends at home
"Goodbye to people I've trusted
"I've got to go out and make my way
"I might get rich you know I might get busted
"But my heart keeps calling me backwards
"As I get on the 707
"Ridin' high I got tears in my eyes
"You know you got to go through hell
"Before you get to heaven"

-- Steve Miller Band, Jet Airliner

 

Posted on: October 18, 2010 9:33 pm
 

Batting around Giants Game 3 lineup options

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants went home from Monday's off-day workout expecting lineup changes for Game 3 but not quite sure what they would be.

Infielder Juan Uribe underwent an MRI exam on his bruised wrist and manager Bruce Bochy indicated he would not know whether Uribe would be a go until Tuesday.

"Yes, it will impact our lineup," Bochy said as the Giants worked out Monday. "If he's good to go, he'll be out there. So it's just a matter now of waiting to see how he feels and the results from the MRI."

The best guess as to the Giants' Game 3 lineup goes something like this: Edgar Renteria likely will play shortstop, either Uribe or Pablo Sandoval will start at third base and Aaron Rowand probably will play center field.

Bochy wasn't definitive as he finished preparations for Game 3, but there were indications that the Giants had seen enough -- for now -- of Mike Fontenot's shaky third base defense and of leadoff man Andres Torres' continued struggles (3-for-25 this postseason with 12 strikeouts).

On whether Uribe would play short or third if he's able to go at all, Bochy said, "I can't answer that right now. I'll talk to the guys as far as the whole lineup. But getting back to Uribe, he will impact how we go. We have a couple of options. We know whether Pablo is at third or Edgar plays short, Uribe at third, or if Juan can't go, you've got Edgar and Pablo."

A bit later, Bochy made it crystal clear: "If Juan is not available, yes, Pablo will be out there."

As for Torres, Bochy left that hanging, too -- with hints left all over the place.

"I'm not prepared to tell you what we're going to do until I talk to the players," Bochy said. "I know Andres is battling it right now."

So assuming Renteria is at short, Uribe or Sandova (likely Sandoval) is at third and Rowand in center, that leaves one more big question: Who will supplant Torres atop the lineup?

Hot-hitting Cody Ross is one option. Rowand is another. So is Renteria.

Looking at the numbers against Phillies starter Cole Hamels, Ross or Renteria would appear to be the best options. For his career, Ross is batting .300 (9-for-30) against Hamels with a .323 on-base percentage, four home runs and six RBIs. Renteria is at .250 (6-for-24) with a .333 OBP. Rowand is only hitting .200 (3-for-15) with a .200 OBP.

"Ross has done it [batted leadoff]," Bochy said. "When Torres wasn't in there, Row's done it. Edgar has done it. So these are things that we're talking about now."

Likes: No surprise that Tony La Russa will be back with St. Louis in 2011. How would any manager in his right mind leave a team whose centerpieces include Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Matt Holliday. ... Supposed to be beautiful 70 degrees when Game 3 of the NLCS starts here at 1:07 p.m. local time Tuesday. ... Critics are giving solid reviews to the new Elton John/Leon Russell disc The Union. But I may have to buy it just for the goofy cover shot of two weirdos at the piano. ...

Dislikes: Sure am glad I wasn’t on the road when Junior Seau drove off the cliff in my home town. Glad my wife wasn't on the road, too.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"I'm just a guitar in the pawn shop on the corner
"Hey come on by and listen to my song
"I've seen at least a million of those tiny smokey barrooms
"And I've helped to heal some heartaches
"And I've helped to sell some beer
"And the last one to help me
"Just couldn't wait to sell me
"For 20 dollars and left me hanging here
"But I dream about the spot light
"And the roaring of the people
"And I wonder if I'm ever gonna hear 'em sing along"

-- Jamey Johnson, The Guitar Song

Posted on: October 18, 2010 2:17 am
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Posted on: October 18, 2010 2:16 am
 

Andres the Giant not so giant

PHILADELPHIA -- The most painful part of Sunday's 6-1 loss for San Francisco might have been watching the continued struggles of leadoff man and center fielder Andres Torres.

After fanning four times against Philadelphia starter Roy Oswalt, Torres now is 3-for-25 this postseason with 12 strikeouts.

He's whiffed six times in nine at-bats in this NL Championship Series.

Suffice it to say, if only for his own good, the Giants are going to have to make a move with their lineup for Game 3 Tuesday in San Francisco.

"It's obvious his timing's off," manager Bruce Bochy said. "This kid has had a great year for us. He's a big reason why we're here."

Not only did Torres help the Giants take off once Bochy installed him as an everyday player by the end of April, he made a gutsy comeback from appendicitis a couple of weeks earlier than doctors expected. Stricken on Sept. 12, Torres was returned to the lineup Sept. 24.

After never having played more than 75 games in a season, Torres appeared in 139 for the Giants this season. His 570 plate appearances more than tripled his previous career high of 185 in Detroit in 2003.

"There's no question he's struggling, but other hitters are, too," Bochy said. "He's fighting it a little bit.

"He got here early and was working on some things. But you get in a rut like this, you start battling yourself a little bit. I think that's the case with Andre. He's certainly a guy who makes us go when he goes. It would be nice to get him going, no question."

As for whether Aaron Rowand might replace Torres in the lineup, or even whether Pablo Sandoval could play third instead of Mike Fontenot -- who had a rough day defensively Sunday -- in Game 3, Bochy was not prepared to address that in the immediate aftermath of Game 2.

"These are things we'll talk about on the flight back," he said. "Facing a left-hander [Cole Hamels], you'll see a couple of changes."

Likes: The late Harry Kalas on the Citizens Bank Park big screen leading the crowd in "High Hopes" after a Phillies win. ... Tim Lincecum's reaction to the whole wolf-whistle thing in Game 1 in Philadelphia on Saturday. He handled it perfectly -- with humor. ... Looks like Texas and the Yankees is going to be quite the shootout. Both the ALCS and NLCS are setting up very well for those of us who like lots of drama. ... The cheesesteaks at Carmen's in Philadelphia's Reading Terminal. ... Glad to see Michigan State remain undefeated, fun to see highly ranked Ohio State and Nebraska go down. What a great Saturday in college football. You just never know. ... Another great run Sunday along the Schuylkill River on a gorgeous fall day. Fun cruising by the blues band that was playing in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum, entertainment for a charity walk raising money for breast cancer.

Dislikes: Aw, terribly sad to see June Cleaver -- Barbara Billingsley -- pass away over the weekend. One more harsh reminder of time marching on.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Here comes my baby, flashin' her new gold tooth
"Here comes my baby, flashin' her new gold tooth
"Well she's so small, she can mambo in a pay phone booth
"Now flip, flop and fly, I don't care if I die
"Now flip, flop and fly, I don't care if I die
"Ah, don't ever leave me, don't ever say goodbye
"I'm like a Mississippi bullfrog, sittin' on a hollow stump
"I'm like a Mississippi bullfrog, sittin' on a hollow stump
+I got so many women, I don't know which way to jump"

-- Big Joe Turner, Flip, Flop and Fly

 

Posted on: October 17, 2010 4:40 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2010 5:31 pm
 

Manuel tweaks slumping Phils' lineup

PHILADELPHIA -- If Sunday night's Game 2 of the NL Championship Series is not a must-win for Philadelphia, it's the next-closest thing.

More worrisome for Phillies manager Charlie Manuel than losing Game 1 is the trend toward silence from the Philadelphia bats.

Which is why he's shaking up the top of the lineup for Game 2, flip-flopping Chase Utley and Placido Polanco in the Nos. 2 and 3 spots. Against Giants lefty starter Jonathan Sanchez, Utley will bat second (out of his usual third spot) and Polanco will hit third (down from No. 2 in Game 1).

"Same reason I always do it," Manuel said Sunday when quizzed about his reasoning. "I want have right-handed hitter in between [the two lefties, Utley and Ryan Howard]. Polanco's hitting third."

Clearly, Manuel also is reacting to the presence of Javier Lopez, the Giants' situational lefty, on the other side. Lopez got two huge outs in the eighth inning of Game 1 when he was summoned to face Utley and Howard. He dispatched Utley with a ground ball, struck out Howard, and his evening was finished.

So far in four games this postseason, the Phillies as a team are hitting just .212. They've scored a total of only 16 runs, and their on-base percentage is just .300.

They went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position against the Giants in Game 1 and, against Tim Lincecum and the San Francisco bullpen, did not advance a runner into scoring position after the third inning.

There was some speculation that Manuel might return shortstop Jimmy Rollins to the leadoff slot for Game 2, a thought fueled in part by Manuel saying late Saturday night that he would think about it.

After sleeping on the notion, though, Manuel discarded the idea and left Rollins in the sixth slot for Game 2, same spot in which he batted Saturday.

"Because when I looked, I like him right where he's at," Manuel said. "I look at how he's been doing and how we lined up against Sanchez. Victorino's got some hits against Sanchez [6-for-15 lifetime], and Jimmy is 1-for-16 against him. Utley's got a few hits [3-for-11].

"I looked at the way we lined up, and I like Jimmy where he's at right now."

It isn't only Sanchez against whom Rollins is scuffling. In four postseason games this fall, Rollins is hitting .067 [1-for-15].

Which makes it easy to understand Manuel's reluctance to move him back atop the lineup, because that's no small part of the reason the Phillies' offense has been sluggish.

So far in the playoffs, the top two slots in the Philadelphia order are hitting .161 [5-for-31].

Giants manager Bruce Bochy, meanwhile, elected to keep his lineup the same for Game 2 as it was in Game 1 -- including leaving Mike Fontenot at third base instead of Pablo Sandoval.

Posted on: March 18, 2010 11:43 am
 

Cubs hope Rudy Jaramillo is a hit

MESA, Ariz. -- One of the Chicago Cubs' biggest additions will not step into the batter's box this season. Nor will he throw a pitch.

Nevertheless, the Cubs think new hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo's presence is felt in a big way.

One of the most respected hitting coaches in the game, Jaramillo comes to the Cubs after a 15-year run in Texas. During that time, hitters under Jaramillo's tutelage won 17 Silver Slugger awards, four Most Valuable Player awards and three RBI titles. He worked with such hitters as Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro, Ivan Rodriguez and, yes, Alfonso Soriano during Soriano's two seasons with the Rangers (2004-2005).

Soriano, who dropped off the table offensively last season (.241, 20 homers, 55 RBI), is one reason the Cubs awarded Jaramillo, 59, a three-year, $2.4 million deal. The Cubs must get him going if they are to succeed in 2010.

So far, he's delivered a similar message here in the desert to what Soriano heard from him in Texas: Stay back on the ball. You see it longer that way. And load your power on your right (back) leg while preparing to spring forward with your swing.

"Same thing as when I play in Texas," Soriano says. "He tells me every day what I have to do. He reminds me, your power comes from your right side. It's like a teacher."

The best hitting coaches are exactly that, like an old teacher who had an exceptional way of making the complicated things seem simple.

From Jaramillo's perspective, new team and new league, he's mostly just trying to get the lay of the land this spring.

"I'm just still trying to win these guys over," he says. "I'm not trying to over-coach them. The key is to win their trust as we go. Situational hitting, two-strike approaches, things like that."

He knows all about the struggles last year of Geovany Soto (.218), Mike Fontenot (.236) and others. He knows Kosuke Fukudome hit just .259 last year after hitting .257 the year before, and how Piniella dreams of getting Fukudome up to the .280-.285 range.

"You've got to give him time," Piniella says. "He's basically familiarizing himself with all of the hitters. He's got a nice program going. We're pleased, we really are. But it's going to take him a little time."

Says general manager Jim Hendry: "I think Sori is going to benefit from Rudy. When you add a guy like Rudy, you're getting one of the best in the game."

"I still have a lot of learning to do," Jaramillo says. "Hitters, opposition parks ... that will come with time. I feel like I'm running out of time [with spring training down to just two weeks left], basically.

"But now, as they start sending some kids out [to the minors via roster cuts], I can focus one on one with some of our guys and try to win their trust."

Likes: Leadoff man Juan Pierre looks just as quick in a White Sox uniform as he did in every other uni he's worn. But how will the 10-year National League veteran (Rockies, Cubs, Marlins, Dodgers) take to the American League? "They've still gotta throw it over the plate," he says, smiling. "And the bases are still 90 feet apart." ... Douglas Thompson's biography of Clint Eastwood is an entertaining read, as you would expect from a book that's entitled Clint: The Biography of Cinema's Greatest Ever Star. One of the best anecdotes comes from the filming of A Perfect World, when Kevin Costner walked off the set when an extra kept flubbing his lines. Eastwood simply told Costner's double to step in and filmed that scene and another without the high-maintenance actor. To hear Thompson tell it, Costner was stunned -- and properly chagrined -- when he reappeared later and Eastwood essentially told him they moved on and that's not how you behave. ... A terrific tournament run came to an end (sigh) when the Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central Falcons were beaten in the Regional Championship of the Michigan High School boys' basketball tourney Wednesday by Napoleon 45-43.

Dislikes: How about the USA Today story Wednesday about pet funerals? Some folks are paying $2,000 or $3,000 for a casket, viewing and funeral for Fido. That's insane. Look, I dig my pets (two cats and a dog) as much as the next person, and my wife probably digs them even more than me. But I'd have her committed (and she me) over a suggestion to put out major bucks for an elaborate kitty funeral. People are nuts.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"And he yells, and he roars
"Loves the Stones, hates the Doors
"Thinks the Beatles sing for girls
"He's a moonshine guy in a six-pack world"

-- Jason & the Scorchers, Moonshine Guy

 

Posted on: March 14, 2009 5:06 pm
Edited on: March 14, 2009 9:17 pm
 

Lou: Fontenot to play second, bat sixth for Cubs

 MESA, Ariz. -- All you Chicago Cubs fans who appreciate Mike Fontenot's hustle and grit, know that you sure aren't alone. Manager Lou Piniella essentially named him as the everyday second baseman Saturday morning before the club's Cactus League game with the Los Angeles Angels.

"Fontenot's basically winning the second base job right now," Piniella said. "He's played really well this spring.

"If that's the case, we'd rather keep him at second base as much as possible."

There was some thought coming into the spring that veteran Aaron Miles would be the second baseman, with Fontenot spotting in at both second and third behind Aramis Ramirez.

A month into camp, those ideas essentially have changed. Fontenot is hitting .371 with a.421 on-base percentage and making all the plays at second.

More conscious than ever about balancing his lineup with left-handers following last October's playoff debacle, Piniella also likes the left-handed Fontenot's strength. Even though he's only 5-8 and 170 pounds, Fontenot popped nine homers in 243 at-bats last summer.

Piniella right now plans to bat Fontenot sixth, lefty Kosuke Fukodome second and switch-hitter Milton Bradley in the cleanup slot.

"It breaks things up," Piniella said of batting Fontenot sixth. "I don't want to get caught with two left-handed hitters hitting sixth and eighth at the tail end of the lineup.

"Two, four and six is a real nice way to break things up."

Meanwhile, lefty Sean Marshall is throwing to well this spring that he's making another decision for the Cubs. The fifth starters' slot was open entering camp, following Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly and Rich Harden.

Marshall has been lights-out, compiling a 0.68 ERA over 13 1/3 spring innings, and has emerged as the clear favorite as the fifth starter.

That probably would bump veteran Aaron Heilman into the bullpen, and it adds drama to the status of Jeff Samardzija.

"What we're looking for more than anything else is what we're going to do in the seventh inning," Piniella said, referring to his bullpen. "How we set up our pen in the seventh will dictate what happens everywhere else."

They're still unsettled on whether Carlos Marmol or Kevin Gregg, acquired from Florida during the winter, will replace Kerry Wood as closer. Likely, Marmol will wind up being that guy. Either way, one of them will pitch the eighth and the other the ninth.

Heilman probably will become the seventh-inning guy if Marshall nails down the fifth-starters' slot. Piniella is somewhat concerned that Marshall's move from the pen to the rotation will leave him with only one lefty reliever, Neal Cotts, though there are some options in camp, including veteran Mike Stanton and Jason Waddell.

As for Samardzija, 24, the Cubs continue to evaluate whether it would be best for both him and the team if he breaks camp as a long reliever or returns to Triple-A as a starter. The guess here is it may be very difficult for Piniella to resist bringing that arm north with him.

Likes: Nice chat with Milton Bradley on Saturday morning. I hope this three-year deal works out for him in Chicago. Yes, he has had issues. But he is an intelligent man, and quite likable when he doesn't have a chip on his shoulder. ... The way Jarrod Saltalamacchia's last name curves around the number on the back of his jersey, bending like one of those swimming pool noodles. If there were any more letters in that name, they would have to begin and end on his pants, not his jersey. ... The completely underrated song on Bruce Springsteen's latest disc, Working on a Dream, is Tomorrow Never Knows. It's spare, simple and excellent. ... Of the "fast-food" pizza delivery chains, I'll take Papa John's in a rout over Pizza Hut and Domino's.

Dislikes: Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol was wild against Los Angeles on Saturday, hitting two Angels in the third inning. Someone must have told Marmol that they were hitters from The Netherlands disguised in Angels uniforms. ... Aw, hate to see Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central bow out of the Michigan boys high school basketball tournament, but it's true. My Falcons were defeated by Dundee 38-23 on Friday night in the district championship game. Sounds like Dundee played a little defense.

Sunblock Day? It's the gorgeous part of the year in Arizona now. Warm sun, around 80. It's supposed to creep up to 90 in a few days, but for now, it's perfect.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Does anyone know where the love of God goes
"When the waves turn the minutes to hours?
"The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
"If they'd put fifteen more miles behind her
"They might have split up or they might have capsized
"May have broke deep and took water
"And all that remains is the faces and the names
"Of the wives and the sons and the daughters."

-- Gordon Lightfoot, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

 

 

 

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