Tag:San Francisco Giants
Posted on: February 27, 2011 1:09 pm
 

Stuff my editors whacked from the column

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Outtakes from the Twins' camp regarding why Michael Cuddyer may have missed the World Series had Minnesota advanced in October, plus a rookie pitcher to watch:

-- Yes, Michael Cuddyer says, getting bounced from the playoffs by the Yankees (again) last October still hurts. But things might not have worked out well for him regardless last October even had the Twins played in the World Series.

Not only did he undergo arthroscopic surgery on his knee in mid-October, but he was stricken with appendicitis two days after that. All the time, he was going to push the knee surgery back until the offseason. The appendicitis? That might not have cooperated.

"If we had been in the World Series ... I was in the hospital watching Game 2," Cuddyer says. "I was thinking, 'That could be us.' And I was thinking, 'That could be me in San Francisco, laying in a hospital.

"It would have been good if we were in the World Series. But it would have sucked if I was in a hospital bed while it was going on."

Weird thing is, as Cuddyer watched from his hospital bed, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver were talking about Giants center fielder Andres Torres -- and how he was felled by appendicitis in early September but made it back in time for the postseason.

-- One more piece of inside dope on Renaissance man Cuddyer:

"He's a gadget guy," Twins designated hitter Jim Thome says. "He's got all the music, all the information. He's a big trivia guy. He knows all about baseball. Somebody asks who scored 155 runs in whatever year, he knows.

"We go to him. He's the leader of our clubhouse."

-- Keep an eye on young minor-league right-hander Kyle Gibson, 23, tabbed No. 34 on <em>Baseball America's</em> list of top 100 prospects. Gibson could be the next great Twins homegrown starter. At the very least, the man who moved from Class A to Triple A last summer likely will pitch for the Twins at some point this summer.

"He's what you want," Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson says. "His makeup, his attitude, everything about him."

Gibson throws four pitches well -- fastball, change-up, curve and a sinker/slider that is his best pitch.

"He's not your typical kid coming up," Anderson says. "He talks about pitching, changing speeds, pitching to the side to get away from a hitter. He's going to be one you'll hear about."

Sunblock Day? Not one day that you haven't needed sunblock since camps opened. Consistently in the 80s with warm sunshine.

Likes: Unquestionably, one of the best sights of spring: Twins minor-league hitting coach Riccado Ingram in camp and feeling great after being diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor two years ago. He's been through chemotherapy, radiation and, praise be, it looks like he's out of the woods. What a great, great thing. ... Former infielder Jeff Reboulet visiting Twins camp. Reb, one of the good guys, is home in Dayton, Ohio, and working as a financial advisor (yes, he has some pro baseball clients), while teaming with his brother to run a sports academy in his spare time. ... Former Twins manager Tom Kelly, Hall of Famer Paul Molitor and former catcher Terry Steinbach in uniform instructing and running drills. ... Longtime radio man John Gordon retiring at 70 after 25 years with the Twins -- but still planning to broadcast 89 games this year. Team president Dave St. Peter and broadcast partner Dan Gladden talked him into it. ... Perfect tonic to re-charge the spring training batteries: An hour by the pool and dinner at Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Mmmm.

Dislikes: Minnesota bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek, the longest tenured coach in the majors (this will be his 31st season), missing the first several days of spring camp following surgery to repair a detached retina in his right eye. He may wind up missing all of spring camp as the eye heals. Get well soon, Stelly. Spring camp with the Twins just isn't the same.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Now you're lookin' at a man that's gettin' kind of mad
"I had lots of luck but it's all been bad
"No matter how I struggle and strive
"I'll never get out of this world alive
"My fishin' pole's broke the creek is full of sand
"My woman run away with another man
"No matter how I struggle and strive
"I'll never get out of this world alive"

-- Hank Williams Jr., I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive

 

Posted on: February 9, 2011 7:32 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2011 7:43 pm
 

Woodjock on hold while Peavy focuses on pitching

While White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy concentrates on regaining his health this spring, Woodjock will be placed on ice.

Dreamed up by Peavy last spring, Woodjock 2010 was a fundraiser that allowed major league players to play out their rock and roll fantasies. Peavy, Bronson Arroyo, Bernie Williams, Barry Zito, Aubrey Huff, Gordon Beckham, Tim Flannery and others all participated in the Scottsdale, Ariz., concert last March that raised money for Team Focus, Strikeouts for Troops, Autism Speaks and White Sox Charities through the Jake Peavy Foundation.

There was supposed to be a Woodjock 2011, too.

"As cool as it was, as much as I love it, I didn't want any distractions," Peavy told me this week. "I didn't want any distractions for the team or for my teammates.

"I want them to know I'm sold out to the cause. I'll bypass Woodjock this year and it will return bigger and better next year."

About 1,200 people attended last spring's fundraiser. The way Peavy figured it, all sorts of athletes put on charity golf tournaments. But you don't often see a ballplayer hosting a charity concert.

But, alas, with Peavy returning from major arm surgery, he intends to direct all of his energy to the field this spring and low-key everything else.

"We'll have some troops out, still, and we'll have a nice dinner," says Peavy, whose charity work with the military started when he played in San Diego.

As for Woodjock, Peavy says, "Stay tuned for 2012. We're going to bring the house down."

Likes: Pitchers and catchers reporting means spring is right around the corner, doesn't it? Check back here beginning next week to join me for the annual Camp Tours. We'll move from clubhouses to batting cages to restaurants and roadside Dairy Queens with the greatest of ease. ... What a fun story San Diego State basketball has been this winter. Can't wait for the SDSU-Brigham Young game on Feb. 26 on CBS.

Dislikes: Contract stories. I know it's an essential part of today's game. But when the Cardinals and Albert Pujols are bickering over what will wind up being a contract in the neighborhood of $300 million ... and when the overwhelming odds are that he will stay in St. Louis ... well, let's just cut to the end story, sign the contract and move on.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Don't want to be an American idiot
"One nation controlled by the media
"Information age of hysteria
"It's calling out to idiot America"

-- Green Day, American Idiot

Posted on: November 30, 2010 9:50 pm
 

Shortstops on the move, Rays' Bartlett next?

Shortstops fell quickly from the board Tuesday, which likely will lead to more urgency in Tampa Bay's trade talks surrounding Jason Bartlett over the next few days.

Juan Uribe signed with the Dodgers, Miguel Tejada agreed to terms with the Giants and the Cardinals acquired Ryan Theriot from the Dodgers for reliever Blake Hawksworth.

Meanwhile, even after striking a deal with Tejada, the Giants, according to sources, are one of several clubs engaging the Rays in conversations regarding Bartlett.

With Reid Brignac ready to play shortstop every day for the Rays and Tampa about to be decimated by the free agent market, general manager Andrew Friedman is investigating multiple scenarios. While All-Star outfielder Carl Crawford is expected to leave, the Rays also expect gaping holes in their bullpen.

Already this winter, set-up man Joaquin Benoit has signed with Detroit. Closer Rafael Soriano is expected to leave (for the Angels, perhaps?) and Grant Balfour, Randy Choate and Chad Qualls each declined arbitration on Tuesday.

Consequently, the Rays are said by rivals to be casting a wide net for relief help.

Aside from the Giants, the Orioles and Padres have expressed interest, according to sources. The Cardinals kicked the tires as well before nabbing Theriot for Hawksworth, who would have fit one of the areas the Rays are attempting to re-load.

San Diego could offer closer Heath Bell, who is eligible for free agency after 2011 and is expected to be moved sometime between now and the July trade deadline. Having lost Tejada to the Giants on Tuesday and having declined to offer arbitration to David Eckstein, the Padres are down to Everth Cabrera, Jerry Hairston Jr. and rookie Matt Antonelli as serviceable middle infielders.

Bartlett is eligible for arbitration for the third consecutive season before he can become a free agent after the 2011 season.

 

Posted on: November 30, 2010 9:23 pm
 

Giants agree to terms with Miguel Tejada

Moving quickly to plug the hole in their infield, World Series champion San Francisco agreed to terms with shortstop Miguel Tejada on a one-year, $6.5 million deal Tuesday just hours after postseason hero Juan Uribe officially signed with the Dodgers.

Tejada's deal with the Giants, confirmed to CBSSports.com by a high-ranking baseball official, will not be formalized until after he passes a physical. Because the Padres did not offer Tejada arbitration, they will not receive a compensatory draft pick from the Giants. The deal was first reported by Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.

Part of what made Tejada attractive to the Giants, aside from the fact that he generally misses only a game or two a season, is that he can play both shortstop and third base. With serious questions surrounding Pablo Sandoval's ability to lose weight, the Giants could line up next year with Sandoval at third and Tejada at short ... or with Tejada at third and someone else at shortstop.

That someone else could be Tampa Bay's Jason Bartlett. Trade talks between the Giants and Rays are continuing even after the Giants reached an agreement with Tejada, according to multiple sources. One source described talks between the Giants and Rays as "fluid."

Tejada, 36, started last season at third base in Baltimore, then returned to his old position, shortstop, when the Padres acquired him in a trade just before the July 31 deadline. Overall in 2010, Tejada hit .269 with a .312 on-base percentage and a .381 slugging percentage with 15 homers and 71 RBI.

In 59 stretch-run games with San Diego, he batted .268 with eight homers and 32 RBI.

If Sandoval follows the workout regimen prescribed for him this winter and loses 15-to-20 pounds, he and Tejada likely will make up the left side of the San Francisco infield.

But a trade could change that, as could the presence of Mark DeRosa, who missed almost all of 2010 with a wrist injury. DeRosa can play multiple infield positions, including third base, and outfield. He could spell Sandoval at third.

Either way, Tejada currently is lined up to play short -- unless general manager Brian Sabean acquires a true shortstop over the next several weeks.

Posted on: November 2, 2010 2:28 am
 

Giants get their ring around the Posey

ARLINGTON, Texas -- When it was finished and the Giants had won their first World Series title since 1954, you expected 23-year-old catcher Buster Posey to leap up and say something about going to that place where Mickey Mouse lives.

Talk about a storybook season with a fairy-tale ending.

When Posey was behind the plate for rookie Madison Bumgarner's sensational Game 4 start, the duo formed the first all-rookie battery to start a World Series game since Spec Shea and Yogi Berra in Game 1 in 1947.

He also became the fifth-youngest catcher in World Series to homer in Game 4 behind, among others, Johnny Bench and Tim McCarver.

He's also the third Giants rookie to homer in the World Series -- the first since Jimmy Ripple in Game 3 of the 1936 Fall Classic -- and only the second rookie in World Series history to bat third in a lineup (Berra in 1947 was the first).

Amid the champagne and jubilation afterward, what was Posey thinking?

Something that would make his parents -- or any parents -- proud.

"It's one of those things where you want to thank your mom and ad for all the work they've put in," Posey said. "Getting me where I needed to be, buying bats and balls."

Perfect.

And to be a World Series champion?

"I can't put it into words," said Posey, who batted .300 with a homer and two RBI in his first World Series. "Unbelievable.

"Unbelievable."

Somehow, you get the feeling that this won't be the last time we see the kid on the big stage.

Posted on: November 1, 2010 2:24 am
Edited on: November 1, 2010 2:27 am
 

Giants own firm grip on Series with 3-1 lead

ARLINGTON, Texas -- How good a position are the Giants in following their 4-0 whitewashing of the Rangers in Game 4 here Halloween night?

Teams that have taken a 3-1 series lead are 38-6 in World Series play.

And of those six teams that came back to win ... well, nobody's done it since the 1985 Kansas City Royals.

"We're one game away," Giants outfielder and postseason hero Cody Ross said. "We can all feel it. We can smell it, taste it, everything ... all the senses.

"We just have to keep grinding."

That, or keep pitching. With Tim Lincecum lined up to start Game 5, the Giants already have shut the Rangers out in two of these four games so far. Texas thus becomes the first team since the 1966 Los Angeles Dodgers to get shut out in at least two games during one single World Series.

A strong Orioles staff featuring Dave McNally, Jim Palmer and Wally Bunker pitched three shutouts against the Dodgers that fall.

A Rangers' lineup that led the American League in batting average and ranked fourth in both runs scored and on-base percentage has been completely overwhelmed.

"It's certainly pitching as advertised," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Co. "Those guys pound the strike zone. They've got good stuff. They've got velocity. They can spin the baseball, they can change speeds and they keep their defense engaged. And that's what you like to see out of pitching, keeping the defense engaged.

"They've done a great job. We've got to figure out some ways to put some runs on the board against them."

With Cliff Lee slated to start Game 5 on Monday, C.J. Wilson Game 6 on Wednesday and Colby Lewis Game 7 on Thursday, the Rangers have the starters they want going. But if they can't score, it's not going to do much good.

Likes: San Francisco closer Brian Wilson's "Aqua Man" T-shirt he was wearing Sunday. ... Hank Aaron in the house to present the Hank Aaron award to Cincinnati's Joey Votto and Toronto's Jose Bautista. Great to see Aaron still connected. ... Cooper's Old Time Pit Barbecue in Fort Worth. Biggest pork chops I've ever seen (thus the "Home of the Big Chop" monikor). And outstanding beef brisket. ... Lyle Lovett. ... Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central opening the Michigan state football playoffs with a 62-14 cruise over Dundee on Friday night.

Dislikes: Missing Halloween. ... The three minutes between innings of postseason games. Yes, baseball needs to make its money, but, yaawwwwn, man does that make these games stretch out.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"So many dragons lurking out in the fog
"So many crazy people mumblin' monologues
"It's not the tales of Stephen King that I've read
"I need protection from the things in my head
"Like...
"Vampires, mummies and the Holy Ghost
"These are the things that terrify me the most
"No alien, psychopath or MTV host
"Scares me like vampires, mummies and the Holy Ghost"

-- Jimmy Buffett, Vampires, Mummies and the Holy Ghost

Posted on: October 31, 2010 11:33 pm
 

Giants move to one win from Series title

ARLINGTON, Texas -- From the most unexpected of places, the San Francisco Giants struck to seize firm command of this World Series.

Rookie starter Madison Bumgarner?

Heck no. That kid, just 21, has been pitching like a veteran since making his big-league debut in late June.

No. Where the lightening came from in the Giants' 4-0 antler-busting Game 4 World Series win was ... drum roll, please ... from Fort Worth-native Aubrey Huff, who was ensconced in the lineup as manager Bruce Bochy's designated hitter.

Imagine, a National League club marching into an AL yard and flexing its DH muscle. Huff cranked a two-run homer in the third inning, smashing a cutter from Rangers starter Tommy Hunter deep into the Texas night to deliver the Giants a 2-0 lead.

The blast immediately interrupted the Rangers' hard-earned momentum from Game 3 a night earlier. It gave the Giants an early lead that allowed Bumgarner to pitch relaxed with some wiggle room. And it returned the swagger to a club that momentarily was knocked off course, however briefly, on Saturday night.

The game stayed 2-0 until the Giants scratched another run across in the seventh, then it went to 4-0 when Buster Posey, the other half of the first rookie battery to start a World Series game since Yankees right-hander Spec Shea and catcher Yogi Berra in Game 1 in 1947, blasted a Darren O'Day breaking ball over the center-field fence.

But Huff's homer was all the Giants would need. Talk about the Giants Huff-ing and puffing and staring people down in the wake of their ongoing DH struggles. In interleague play this year -- six games in AL parks -- San Francisco DH's combined to go 2-for-22 with just one homer and two RBI.

In Game 3 here, a flat 4-2 loss for the Giants, their DH, Pablo Sandoval, went 0-for-3. Buried within that was a grounded-into-double-play and a strikeout.

Huff's swing kick-started the Giants back to life, and put them in the best position yet to win their first World Series since moving to San Francisco in 1958.

How good is their position? Teams that have taken a 3-1 lead are 37-5 in World Series play.

 

Posted on: October 31, 2010 12:34 am
 

Giants have decision to make on slumping Burrell

ARLINGTON, Texas -- There already were questions surrounding whether the Giants had enough hitters to fill out a lineup that demanded a designated hitter in the AL park at the World Series.

Now, with Pat Burrell regressing back to his toothless Tampa Bay days, the Giants really are short.

Burrell, batting fifth in San Francisco's 4-2 Game 3 loss Saturday, struck out swinging in all four at-bats.

Worse, he now is 0-for-9 in this World Series with eight strikeouts.

Working on mysteries without any clues, Burrell looks like a player in need of a benching at the most inopportune time.

"He's a veteran guy that's been up and down before," Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens said. "He knows what he needs to do to get back on track. He's a student of the game, and he's already looking at video.

"We're going to go over it tomorrow. It's not easy."

The World Series overall hasn't been kind to Burrell, who now has whiffed in 13 of his 23 Fall Classic at-bats in 2008 and 2010.

Saturday, he became the 13th player to whiff four times in a World Series game, and the first to do so since Philadelphia's Ryan Howard in Game 2 last year.

Manager Bruce Bochy said after Game 3 that he does not know whether he'll sit Burrell in Game 4 Sunday.

"I'll talk about it after I get back," Bochy said, referring to conversations he'll have with his coaching staff between Saturday night and Sunday's game. "Their guy [Colby Lewis] threw well. He threw a nice game for them, and we had a few guys who were off tonight a little bit.

"But give their pitcher credit. He pitched a nice ballgame."

Burrell's first three strikeouts were against Lewis. Then he whiffed against Rangers closer Neftali Feliz to start the ninth.

 
 
 
 
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