Willie Mac awards Torres with advice; first cuts made
GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Andres Torres owns a creditable .310 batting average. But as a switch-hitter who’s naturally bats right-handed, he’s susceptible to flaws hitting left-handed.
So Torres listened intently the other day when one of the best left-handed hitters in Giants history — heck, in all of history — summoned him for a chat. Hello, Mr. Willie Lee McCovey.
Sitting in front of the Giants dugout at Scottsdale Stadium, McCovey watched Torres take batting practice and noticed that the outfielder was wagging his bat excessively as he waited for the pitch. That might work for Barry Bonds, but not for Torres, who needs to hit line drives and grounders to capitalize on his speed.
“Wrapping” his bat — angling the barrel toward the pitcher — produced too many harmless fly balls.So McCovey advised Torres on Sunday to hold his bat straighter. “He told me to be more ‘quiet,’ because I was doing too much movement,” Torres said Tuesday.
Torres stuck with his old habits in Monday’s exhibition against Texas, but he tried McCovey’s method on Tuesday in batting practice and in the Giants’ 7-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians. Torres went 1-for-3 in the game and believes that McCovey’s advice will help.
“You have more time to go straight to the ball,” Torres said. “It makes sense.”
Second baseman Freddy Sanchez, who remains limited to hitting balls off a tee, sounded doubtful about appearing in an exhibition to test his recovering left shoulder before the Giants leave Arizona on March 31.
“That hasn’t even been discussed,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez added that he has practiced tee hitting seven times so far. Taking “soft-toss” batting practice — hitting balls flipped underhanded — will be the next step in his progression.
Buster Posey started his first game of the spring at first base and played error-free, though he was challenged occasionally by relatively unfamiliar plays — such as when he had to throw to Tim Lincecum covering first base in the third inning.
“He looks more and more comfortable over there,” manager Bruce Bochy said of Posey, who went 1-for-3 and is batting .429.
It’s fairly obvious, isn’t it? The more the Giants utilize with Posey like this, the more evident it is that they’re intensely curious about finding any way they can to get him on the field (and in the batter’s box) on the Major League level.
The Giants announced their first round of roster cuts after Tuesday’s game. First baseman Brett Pill was optioned out while shortstop Ehire Adrianza, second baseman Nick Noonan, outfielders Wendell Fairley and Thomas Neal and catchers Johnny Monell, Hector Sanchez and Jackson Williams were reassigned to Minor League camp.
Also, right-hander Steve Johnson cleared waivers and was offered back to the Baltimore Orioles, his previous organization.
San Francisco selected Johnson, 22, for $50,000 in last December’s Rule 5 draft. Under terms of the draft, if the Giants determined that Johnson wouldn’t make their Opening Day roster, he had to be offered back to Baltimore for half of the $50,000 purchase price. Johnson recorded a 5.79 ERA in three Cactus League appearances.
The moves left the Giants with 56 players in Major League camp.
— Chris Haft