Burriss hurts foot; Huff starts slugging
PEORIA, Ariz. — Despite their 8-7, 10-inning victory Wednesday over the Seattle Mariners, the Giants endured an ominous beginning to the Cactus League season, as infielder Emmanuel Burriss apparently aggravated his injured left foot.
Burriss, who considered himself fully healed after breaking a bone in his foot last July, hit a two-run double in the fourth inning and stole third base. He left the game after doubling again in the sixth inning.
“He said he felt something in the same foot, same area,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He looked very dejected and discouraged. It’s been a long road for him.”
With second baseman Freddy Sanchez (left shoulder) likely to begin the season on the disabled list and Juan Uribe expected to replace him in the lineup, Burriss entered Spring Training with a strong chance to make the Opening Day roster as a backup middle infielder.
Cleanup hitter Aubrey Huff immediately asserted himself by belting a two-run homer on the first pitch he saw from Mariners starter Doug Fister with one out in the first inning.
“He wants to make a good first impression,” Bochy said.
Huff downplayed his prowess. “[Fister] happened to throw a fastball right there,” he said.
Huff was more impressed with left-hander Madison Bumgarner, who threw two shutout innings.
“His pickoff move — holy cow! He caught me off guard,” Huff said. “He has one of the best pickoff moves I’ve seen.”
Bumgarner’s fastball was clocked in the 89-90 mph range, a tad slower than his best velocity readings. Then again, pitching coach Dave Righetti advised him not to overthrow. “He said, ‘You’re not going to make the team on the first day,’ and that makes a lot of sense,” said Bumgarner, who’s competing for the fifth starter’s spot.
Bumgarner said that he maintained his concentration despite the recent death of his half-sister, Dena Byrd. “I think it would be hard for me to get distracted,” he said. “It’s a huge loss, but when I get on the mound, everything goes away and it’s just me and the catcher.”
Bengie Molina, for one, doesn’t anticipate any retaliation directed toward Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder on Thursday, when the Giants and Brewers meet in Scottsdale.
“I think we don’t want anybody suspended to start the season,” Molina said.
Fielder angered the Giants last Sept. 6 when he punctuated his game-winning, 12th-inning homer with an obviously choreographed home-plate celebration.
Aaron Rowand more than did his job as San Francisco’s leadoff batter, collecting two hits and a sacrifice fly in five innings.
“It’s always exciting to be the first guy up there, especially in the first game,” said Rowand, who singled to open the game. “But nothing overwhelming.”
Three pitches after his game-opening hit, Rowand was on the move as he scored on Fred Lewis’ triple.
“It was actually kind of neat to get that out of the way right away,” Rowand said. “Hopefully, I’ll have to do that quite a bit this year.”
Referring to the game’s three-hour, 44-minute duration, one Giants coach sarcastically declared before heading for the team bus, “I can’t believe the sun’s still out.”
– Chris Haft