Results tagged ‘ Buster Posey ’

Bochy ‘fesses up on Penny hijinks; Velez glows

PHILADELPHIA — Now the story can be told. When Bruce Bochy managed the Padres and Brad Penny pitched against them as a visitor with Florida and the Dodgers, the velocity readings at the ballpark were about 5 mph slower than they should have been.

That’s because Bochy, knowing that Penny habitually checked the speed of his deliveries after every pitch, tried to mess with the right-hander’s head by ordering the velocity gurus to slow down his readings by 5 mph.

Penny casually mentioned this after throwing his eight shutout innings Wednesday night, and Bochy confessed to this crime Thursday.

Trouble was, Penny’s speed-run readings were still impressive. “I’d see ’94,’ ” Bochy said. When he reminded the crew to subtract 5 mph from the speed readings, the reply came, “We are.”

*****

Despite the Giants’ 2-1 loss Thursday, Eugenio Velez couldn’t resist a smile when he was asked to discuss his home run off his Dominican countryman, Pedro Martinez.

“Man, that’s my favorite pitcher,” Velez said. “I feel so excited because that’s the best pitcher I’ve faced.”

Velez jumped on the game’s first pitch, a fastball. He explained that this was the wisest approach to take against Martinez.

“With a pitcher like him, you have to be aggressive, always,” Velez said. “You’re going to see only one pitch [to hit], and then he’s going to make his pitch.”

*****

Bengie Molina, who returned to the starting lineup Thursday after an eight-game absence due to a tight right quadriceps, met with Bochy after Wednesday night’s game. Shockingly, they didn’t invite reporters to join them. But Bochy revealed that the talk was constructive and mostly involved Molina’s physical state. The chat apparently wasn’t dominated by Molina’s concerns about management’s plans for him in light of Buster Posey’s promotion, as was reported.

“We talked about [Molina's] start today and we’ll give him more time [off] if he wants,” Bochy said. “He wants to do all he can to help contribute to the cause here.”

*****

Asked what he thought the ideal scenario for Posey’s Major League debut would be, Bochy said, “I think it would be a start, to help him in his preparation.” That’s not likely, though, as long as Molina stays healthy and the Giants remain in contention.

– Chris Haft 

Lewis is a lucky charm; contemplating Bill Hall

CINCINNATI — Fred Lewis will take the Giants’ lineup to home plate for the umpires before Wednesday night’s game against the Cincinnati Reds.

That’s because he did it before Tuesday’s game, which the Giants won. And before Monday’s game, which the Giants won. Baseball folks are superstitious that way.

Typically, bench coach Ron Wotus does the honors. But the Giants will ride Lewis’ luck as long as they can. Besides, Bochy and Wotus pretty much know each ballpark’s ground rules. They can adjust to Lewis’ interpretation.

“We had to talk to him for a while to get them all figured out, but he was pretty close on them,” Bochy said jokingly.

*****

The Milwaukee Brewers have until Friday to try to engineer a trade for utility man Bill Hall, who they designated for assignment last week. I heard third-hand that the Giants might be among the interested teams. Now, I’ll readily admit that “third-hand” is a pretty flimsy source. Except that this particular source often knows what he’s talking about.

Still, it’s difficult to figure out why the Giants would need Hall. They’ve already got Juan Uribe as an infield handyman, and though they could use a spare right-handed-hitting outfield, it’s not a crying need. I’m guessing nothing will happen, though I’ve been wrong a few million times before.

*****

FYI: Catcher Buster Posey, who needed a few days off to nurse a minor injury, returned to Triple-A Fresno’s lineup Tuesday and went 2-for-5 with an RBI single and a run scored. 

– Chris Haft

Looking past Reds to Dodgers? Naaah

SAN FRANCISCO — Bruce Bochy seemed horrified at the mere thought that any of the Giants might — m-i-g-h-t — be looking past this weekend’s series against the Cincinnati Reds to the three-game set against the National League West rival Los Angeles Dodgers beginning Monday.

“We’re playing the Reds right now,” Bochy said before Friday night’s 10-5 loss to Cincinnati. “That’s our focus. That’s how it has to be.”

Fresh off the disabled list and a Minor League injury rehabilitation assignment, infielder Rich Aurilia said that he’d be more than happy to help Bochy point the less-experienced Giants in the proper direction, if necessary.

“Hopefully we can instill that in some of the younger guys. Just worry about winning tonight and not about what happens Monday,” Aurilia said.

Still … as a public service, here are the pitching matchups for the Dodgers series:

Monday: Hiroki Kuroda (4-5, 4.44 ERA) vs. Jonathan Sanchez (5-9, 4.49);

Tuesday: Randy Wolf (5-6, 3.55) vs. Joe Martinez (2-0, 5.87);

Wednesday: Chad Billingsley (11-6, 3.73) vs. Tim Lincecum (12-3, 2.20)

Los Angeles right-hander Jason Schmidt was in line to face his ex-teammates, but he returned to the disabled list with a shoulder injury.

*****

Get this: Buster Posey hit his third home run for Triple-A Fresno on Friday night. As a shrewd witness in Fresno observed, the pitcher who yielded Posey’s homer, Clay Hensley, happened to allow Barry Bonds’ 755th career homer in August 2007. Hensley was then pitching for the San Diego Padres.

*****

Shortstop Edgar Renteria probably would have preferred a more pleasant 34th birthday. His double error in the fifth inning handed Cincinnati an unearned run. With two outs, Renteria fumbled Willy Taveras’ grounder, then threw wildly past first base. That allowed Taveras to reach second base and score on Alex Gonzalez’s subsequent single.

Nevertheless, I will leave AT&T Park tonight with a higher opinion of Renteria than I had when I arrived here. A Reds coach who I deeply admire told me before the game that Renteria’s positive influence, particularly on younger Latin American players, has been obvious. This echoes what a Giants coach recently told me. I suppose I feel somewhat ashamed that people had to point this out to me; this is something I should be able to observe myself. But Renteria is extremely soft-spoken and goes about his business in an unassuming manner, never calling attention to himself. I’m sure Renteria’s intangibles are an asset. I’m also sure he prefers to operate below the radar, so to speak.

*****

Also:

– The Reds have won six consecutive games against the Giants.

– Eugenio Velez extended his hitting streak to 13 games. He’s batting .429 (24-for-56) in this span.

– Pablo Sandoval recorded his fourth multiple-hit game in a row, hiking his batting average to .336.

– The last time San Francisco committed five errors in a game — June 25, 2005 at Oakland in a 6-3 loss — the club took that hangover into its next performance, a 16-0 loss to the A’s which had to have been one of the Giants’ worst defeats since moving to San Francisco in 1958. I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that the current Giants won’t follow up Friday’s dud with another one.

– Chris Haft

Sandoval continues to amaze; Lincecum, Posey linked

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — In the eighth inning of the Giants’ 5-1 loss to Seattle on Monday, Pablo Sandoval singled through the right side of the infield. Given Sandoval’s .442 batting average, that wasn’t startling.

What WAS startling was that Sandoval hit a pitch that skipped in the dirt. It was just another example of the 22-year-old switch-hitter’s free-swinging tendencies — and of his considerable skill.

“Some guys are meant to get hits all the time,” veteran Rich Aurilia marveled.

Hitting coach Carney Lansford said, “We have people coming out early to work with guys on that swing.” Lansford was joking … we think.

Another event worth remembering was the first on-field collaboration in an organized game between right-hander Tim Lincecum and Buster Posey, who caught the final three innings. If the baseball gods smile upon the Giants, this will be the first of many times Lincecum and Posey work together. It was believed to be the first time that winners of the Golden Spikes Award (given annually to the nation’s top collegiate player) formed a battery.

“He needs to get back there,” Lincecum said. “It’s good for both of us to get a feel for each other. It’s a little different because we haven’t gotten a chance to see what kind of pitcher and what kind of catcher we are.”

Lincecum related that Posey, who didn’t call pitches in college, understandably struggled with this task.

“He’s like, ‘I don’t know what [signs] to give you, man,’ ” Lincecum related good-naturedly. “He’s just throwing down numbers and stuff. I was like, ‘OK, sounds like a good pitch.’ ” 

Thoughts from Giants 10, Dodgers 8

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Barry Zito owns a 5.79 ERA after two Cactus League starts, but so far this spring he has looked more assertive on the mound than he sometimes has during his two seasons with San Francisco. That’s no accident, Zito said after he lasted 2 2/3 innings in the Giants’ 10-8 exhibition victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Glendale.

“Personally, I’m on a mission to trust myself and let it fly,” Zito said. “I’ve done that for two games.”

Other highlights from the Giants’ third Cactus League victory in four games:

Catching prospect Buster Posey not only collected his first two hits of the spring but also collected his first RBI with an eighth-inning infield single.

Dave Roberts collected his first hit of the spring with an excellent at-bat in the eighth inning. A left-handed batter facing left-hander Brent Leach, Roberts worked the count to 3-2 before stroking a bases-loaded single that extended the Giants’ lead from 7-6 to 9-6.

Left-hander Alex Hinshaw took his first step toward salvaging what has been a rough spring by pitching 1 1/3 innings for the save. After stranding a runner on first base while recording the eighth’s inning final out, Hinshaw survived shortstop Juan Uribe’s dropped pop-up to strike out Chin-lung Hu and leave runners at the corners.

Has anybody noticed that the Giants have 14 home runs in eight games?

– Chris Haft

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 100 other followers