Results tagged ‘ Kevin Frandsen ’

Sandoval returns as first baseman; Romo in, Frandsen down

SAN FRANCISCO — In returning to the Giants’ lineup Friday after missing four games with tightness in his right elbow, Pablo Sandoval moved across the diamond from third base to first.

The change made sense, at least from the viewpoint of Sandoval’s care and feeding. He’ll be required to make fewer challenging throws as a first baseman, thus reducing the risk of re-injury.

But, as manager Bruce Bochy said, “If we felt there was a risk, he wouldn’t be out there. He’s comfortable throwing now.”

Bochy also admitted, “Is he 100 percent? Probably not,” adding that Sandoval’s stay at first base “could (last) a while.”

Sandoval leads all Giants regulars in hitting (.304 entering Friday), explaining the club’s eagerness to welcome him back. “We need his bat in the lineup,” Bochy said.

Sandoval’s shift will trim Travis Ishikawa’s playing time at first base. Ishikawa had been surging, going 7-for-11 in his previous three games to raise his average from .219 to .262. Expect Ishikawa, a superior defender to Sandoval, to enter games in the late innings when the Giants are tied or ahead.

Juan Uribe will continue to play third base while Sandoval mans first, a position he played 17 times for the Giants last year.

*****

Right-hander Sergio Romo’s activation from the 15-day disabled list prompted the Giants to option infielder Kevin Frandsen to Triple-A Fresno. Frandsen went hitless in 16 at-bats during his six-game stint with the Giants.

“There’s not a lot of playing time for him here right now,” Bochy said. We don’t want him sitting here. It’s not going to help his career.”

Frandsen impressed the Giants with his polished defensive skills at shortstop, a position he’s still learning. “He’s a lot more under control and playing with a lot more confidence,” Bochy said.

Frandsen left the clubhouse before reporters were admitted. “Like anybody, you don’t want to go [to the Minors], but he understood,” Bochy said.

*****

The Giants have been invited to tour the White House on Wednesday while they’re in the nation’s capital to play the Washington Nationals. A Giants media relations official said that President Obama won’t be around, so the ballclub won’t get the royal treatment that championship sports teams receive when welcomed by the Chief Executive.

Velez, not Frandsen, sent down; Renteria returns; Tim’s dry wit

SEATTLE — In a mild surprise, the Giants optioned Eugenio Velez to Triple-A Fresno to clear room for infielder Juan Uribe, who was reinstated from the bereavement list Friday.<p/>

Velez actually had begun to hit proficiently despite playing sporadically. He collected two hits in each of two starts during the San Diego series, hiking his batting average from .111 to .194.

But the Giants want Velez to play more regularly. And manager Bruce Bochy indicated that with only Bengie Molina and Pablo Sandoval available to catch, San Francisco can use the versatility of Frandsen, who has sharpened his skills at the position behind the scenes. Bochy said that Frandsen’s skills behind the plate exceeded those of a typical “emergency” catcher.

Also, as expected, Edgar Renteria returned to shortstop after missing six games with a strained right hamstring. Though Renteria entered Friday hitting a pedestrian .256, he ranked second on the club with 17 RBIs upon being sidelined. Bochy acknowledged that the Giants could have used Renteria during the San Diego series, which consisted of three low-scoring one-run defeats.

“He’s such a professional hitter,” Bochy said of Renteria. “We missed him. We played such tight ballgames. A guy like that could have made a difference in all those games.”

*****

Seattle-area native Tim Lincecum held a dugout news conference for local media hungry for a word from The One Who Got Away.

Lincecum said all the right things, including when he was asked about whether he dwells on the Mariners’ bypassing him in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. “Not any more,” Lincecum said. “It’s just one of those things that happened and you go with it. I’m happy where I am.”

Lincecum spun a good line when asked what he remembered about Randy Johnson, who he grew up watching when the left-hander starred for the Mariners in the ’90s.

“The mullet and the fastball,” Lincecum said. “Not necessarily in that order.”

– Chris Haft

 

Leftovers from Giants 2, Mets 0 (5/17/09)

SAN FRANCISCO — A lot happened in this riveting game that couldn’t be squeezed into game coverage. In no particular order:

– Breaking down Matt Cain’s triumph was relatively simple. He limited Carlos Beltran, Gary Sheffield and David Wright, New York’s 3-4-5 hitters, to one hit in their first three plate appearances. In the series’ previous three games, that trio combined for 16 hits in their first three plate appearances.

– Kevin Frandsen went 0-for-4 in his (likely brief) return to the Giants, but he still contributed to the victory. He made a slick short-hop pickup as he charged Sheffield’s sixth-inning grounder, and he quickly collaborated with second baseman Emmanuel Burriss on an eighth-inning double play.

– After stealing 13 bases in the series’ first three games, the Mets had none in this one. Bengie Molina threw out Wright at second base in New York’s lone attempted theft.

– Cain on his three consecutive walks in the second inning: “I felt good. I was just missing a little bit here, a little bit there. He [plate umpire Brian Knight] wasn’t giving a ton either. So it was going to have to be that [kind of] day where you’re going to have to get it over the plate a little bit.”

– Brian Wilson, downplaying his ability to bounce back from absorbing defeats Thursday and Friday in the series’ first two games: “That’s what every closer is supposed to do.”

– Chris Haft 

One final Zimmerman item; thoughts on Renteria (and Frandsen)

SAN FRANCISCO — Giants third-base coach Tim Flannery delivered the final word on the 30-game hitting streak that ended for Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman on Wednesday. Well, maybe you could choose from more than one word. Such as “classy.” Or “impressive.”

Zimmerman grounded into a force play in the ninth inning to end an 0-for-3 afternoon. Up came the Giants, trailing 6-2. Thursday, Flannery related that he approached Zimmerman, who was playing third base, before the bottom of the ninth and said, “We’re going to score four, tie this thing up and get you a chance to hit again.”

Zimmerman’s response, according to Flannery, was, “At this point, I’d rather take the win.”

Flannery was bowled over by Zimmerman’s selflessness. “Think about that,” he said. “How many guys would do that?”

*****

Should Edgar Renteria’s hamstring injury force him onto the 15-day disabled list, it’s tempting to assume that Kevin Frandsen would be recalled from Triple-A Fresno to fill the roster spot.

However, Juan Uribe is perfectly capable of starting at shortstop short-term. As much as many people want to see Frandsen back in San Francisco, he’d go to waste sitting on the bench behind Uribe and second baseman Emmanuel Burriss.

Unless, of course, the Giants’ braintrust decides that it wants Frandsen, who has played some shortstop at Triple-A, to handle the position instead of Uribe while Renteria mends. Otherwise, the Giants could call up just about anybody.

Many others would like to see first baseman Jesus Guzman get a shot. But he’s another guy who’d go to waste on the bench and should ascend to San Francisco only if he’s going to play more than semi-regularly.

*****

The note about Sergio Romo was filed shortly before he made his injury rehabilitation debut for Class A San Jose at Visalia. He pitched a scoreless inning, walking one and striking out one. Expect Romo back soon.

– Chris Haft

 

Frandsen optioned to Triple-A; Guzman reassigned

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — It’s official. The Giants announced Tuesday morning that infielder Kevin Frandsen has been optioned to Triple-A Fresno, meaning that Emmanuel Burriss will be San Francisco’s Opening Day second baseman.

The Giants also reassigned infielder-outfielder Jesus Guzman to Minor League camp. Guzman, who hit a robust .412 but couldn’t find a position, likely will try find one at Triple-A. He said he had not been told what spot he will play.

Though the Giants didn’t announce it, it’s believed that right-handers Justin Miller and Brandon Medders were reassigned to Minor League camp. Miller confirmed the move.

– Chris Haft 

Frandsen’s departure looks ominous

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Tuesday morning, before many of the Giants had even arrived for the team’s pregame workout, infielder Kevin Frandsen met with manager Bruce Bochy, then changed back into his street clothes and left the training complex. A transaction has not yet been announced, but it seems fairly obvious that Frandsen won’t be on the Giants’ Opening Day roster and that Emmanuel Burriss will be San Francisco’s starting second baseman.

– Chris Haft

Omar speaks on Burriss, Frandsen; Cain just wants to pitch

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Omar Vizquel, the still-popular former Giant, didn’t endorse either Emmanuel Burriss or Kevin Frandsen in the showdown for San Francisco’s second base job. But when Omar talks, he’s worth listening to, regardless of the subject. He paid sincere compliments to each player before Monday’s Rangers-Giants exhibition.

“Burriss showed a lot of improvement last year,” said Vizquel, who occasionally teamed up the middle with Burriss when the latter played second base. “I think everybody’s surprised at how well he did, coming from Single-A ball and taking the challenge to play short and second and do everything the right way. Obviously he’s young and has to learn all the habits and everything that happens in the major leagues.

“And Frandsen, a couple years ago, I thought he was the player everybody was looking to be the regular second baseman for awhile and then he got hurt. And when you get hurt you have to [take] a long time again to get used to everything. I don’t know how he’s doing this year, but he’s got the tools to be a Major League everyday player someday.”

***

It’s fair to suppose that Matt Cain, whose determination is beyond question, is dead set on not enduring another season like the previous two, when he posted respectable ERAs yet finished with dreadful records (7-16, 3.65 in 2007, 8-14, 3.76 in 2008) due to poor run support.

But Cain reminded reporters that the wins and losses assigned to a starting pitcher often depend on factors he can’t influence. So he’ll once again focus on lasting as long as he can in each game — a mindset that has enabled him to average 202 2/3 innings in his three full big league seasons.

“I try to keep that same goal, and I feel like that goal will pay off,” said Cain, whose solid effort against Texas (seven innings, four hits, one walk, eight strikeouts) was marred by two home runs.

Cain said that he employs different mental devices to push himself.

“You almost make it a little competition (with) yourself, staying in as long as possible, or you try to outdo the other pitcher — ‘Oh, he’s going back out there? Then I’m going back out there.’ You drive yourself in different little ways as well as trying to win.”

Both Cain and Tim Lincecum have been reluctant to throw their sliders, but since each has only one exhibition start left, the time to refine that pitch is at hand, if not overdue. Cain admitted this: “It’s kind of hit-and-miss right now. That’s kind of a big pitch. I need to be more consistent with it.” He concluded that his slider might react better out of the dry Arizona air, a common complaint from pitchers regarding their offspeed deliveries.

***

Jesus Guzman homered with two outs in the ninth and the Giants trailing, 5-4, to force extra innings. He’s now hitting .412 with five homers, a team-high (along with Juan Uribe) 15 RBIs, a .922 slugging percentage and a .444 on-base percentage.

But we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Because of his lack of polish at any position, he won’t make the Opening Day roster. Expect him to receive plenty of defensive tutelage at Triple-A, though.

– Chris Haft

Decision near at second base? Just part of the intrigue

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — It was tempting to derive significance from Emmanuel Burriss’ second consecutive start at second base on Sunday. Previously, Giants manager Bruce Bochy had alternated Burriss and Kevin Frandsen day by day, virtually without fail.

But Bochy declined to say that this meant Burriss, who’s hitting .362, had won the second base tug-of-war with Frandsen, who’s batting .286.

Asked if anything should be read into Burriss’ back-to-back starts, Bochy replied, “Right now, no. I knew with (Pablo) Sandoval down (with a mild left ankle injury) that I was going to split the game at third. Instead of moving Franny from second to third, I was going to give him the back half of the game there.” Frandsen replaced Rich Aurilia, who started his second game of the spring at third base, in the fifth inning.

Still, the Giants’ apparent interest in seeing what Frandsen can do at other positions creates the appearance that Burriss will secure the second base job. If it’s any comfort to Frandsen’s faithful legion of fans, he’d still have a good chance to make the Opening Day roster as a reserve.

The returns of Keiichi Yabu and Ramon Ortiz from Minor League camp constituted another intriguing development. Installing a long reliever in the bullpen would make it easier for the Giants to open the season with an 11-man pitching staff (and keep an additional deserving position player on the roster, such as Frandsen, Andres Torres or Eugenio Velez). The Giants have experimented with their existing bullpen candidates by using them in multiple-inning stints. But Yabu, who often pitched in long relief last year for the Giants, and Ortiz, a former starter, could be better-suited for the role than anyone remaining in big league camp.

Bochy didn’t hide the Giants’ intentions while indicating that either Yabu, who yielded the game’s only run on Richie Weeks’ fifth-inning homer, or Ortiz could return.

“We’re staying open-minded here,” Bochy said. “… It (recalling players during Spring Training who have been sent to the Minors) is not unusual at all. We tell these guys that when you go down there, you’re not out of the picture. If we have the opportunity, we’ll bring you back. They’ve been doing what they need to be doing, and that’s throw the ball well down there.”

This final item isn’t controversial, Earth-shaking or intriguing at all. Just worth mentioning. Giants first baseman Travis Ishikawa turned in probably the club’s finest defensive play of the spring when he hurled himself to his right, snared Mike Lamb’s grounder and righted himself in time to flip the ball to Yabu covering first for the out.

Ishikawa looked like the reincarnation of J.T. Snow.

“That’s a highlight play right there,” Bochy said.

Ishikawa, a genuinely modest individual, couldn’t hide his delight.

“Those are the kind that you dream about, feeling like you get full extension and completing the play,” he said. “Offensively, I might not always be there, but (I’ll be) giving my all on defense as well.”

At various times this spring, Ishikawa has benefited from the tutelage of Snow and Will Clark, who made first base the glamorous position that it was when Orlando Cepeda and Willie McCovey roamed the bag (and the batter’s box) for the Giants. 

“You’ve got two of the better first basemen who ever played,” Ishikawa said, referring to Clark and Snow. “What better first baseman’s dream is that? Two Gold Glove-winning first basemen working with you — it doesn’t get better than that.”

– Chris Haft

 

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