Results tagged ‘ Kevin Pucetas ’

Posey stays hot; what will Giants do?

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Giants will face some heavy thinking if Buster Posey sustains his offensive surge.

Posey collected two hits for the second day in a row Saturday in the Giants’ 8-7 split-squad exhibition loss to Oakland. The rookie catcher, renowned as San Francisco’s top position-player prospect, lifted his batting average to .368 and his slugging percentage to .632.

Because Posey has been expected to begin the season with Triple-A Fresno so he could gain experience, manager Bruce Bochy was asked if the 22-year old might be forcing the Giants’ braintrust to reconsider that plan.

“It’s good to see Buster swinging like this,” Bochy said. “It’s really a matter of time. Buster can hit. As we get deeper into spring I can answer those questions a little better. It’s early, but he’s doing what we wanted him to do.”

Bochy plainly stated that he won’t bury Posey on San Francisco’s bench. “We want to continue his development. We don’t want him sitting,” Bochy said. “It’s a matter of if we think he would get enough playing time to warrant being on the club to help us or to continue his progress so we have him ready.”

Bochy added that Posey “possibly” will start a game at first base to help the Giants gauge whether he could play there occasionally. But Bochy also reiterated that he won’t sacrifice Posey’s growth as a catcher to experiment with him at other positions. “I like the way he’s catching. I want to keep him sharp back there,” Bochy said.

*****

In quick succession:

– Tim Lincecum will receive four days’ rest, his full regular-season complement, before making his next start Tuesday against Cleveland. Madison Bumgarner will start Monday night’s split-squad game against Texas while a host of relievers will work the evening’s other split-squad game against San Diego.

– Kevin Pucetas remained in contention for the fifth starter’s spot by throwing three hitless innings in the Giants’ other split-squad contest, an 8-4 victory over Seattle. Pucetas is unscored upon in seven innings spanning three appearances and has allowed three hits. He has walked none and struck out three.

– Right-hander Joe Martinez, the fifth starter candidate who allowed four runs in one inning in his lone spring appearance, believes that the inflammation in his throwing elbow will have subsided enough to allow him to resume throwing in a couple of days.

– This isn’t shocking news, but Bochy made his strongest declaration yet regarding second baseman Freddy Sanchez’s unavailability for the April 5 regular-season opener at Houston. “He’s not going to be ready,” Bochy said of Sanchez, who’s recovering from a left shoulder injury. “He’s come along fine, but there’s not enough time.”

– First baseman Travis Ishikawa (torn ligaments in left foot) might be ready to resume playing in about a week, Bochy said.

– Right-hander Matt Cain admitted that he elevated some breaking pitches while allowing Oakland five runs and eight hits in 2 2/3 innings. However, Cain still hasn’t walked a batter in 8 2/3 innings this spring. “It obviously means you’re around the strike zone,” Cain said, pleased with this development.

– Right-handed reliever Santiago Casilla, stuck in the Dominican Republic with visa problems, finally arrived in camp and struck out the only batter he faced, Ryan Sweeney, to end the fifth inning against Oakland.

– Chris Haft

Wellemeyer may get No. 5 shot

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Todd Wellemeyer might receive a legitimate chance to challenge Madison Bumgarner for the fifth spot in the Giants’ starting rotation, manager Bruce Bochy indicated Wednesday.

When Wellemeyer signed with San Francisco last week, Giants officials said that the right-hander was being regarded more as a long reliever than as a candidate for the rotation. But Bochy said that Wellemeyer’s presence “makes it more competitive” as he, Bumgarner, Joe Martinez and Kevin Pucetas vie for the rotation’s lone opening.

Some observers believe that Bumgarner, the Giants’ top pitching prospect who’s just 20 years old, would benefit from more Minor League seasoning before taking his inevitable place in the club’s starting five.

*****

Aaron Rowand is 10 pounds lighter than he was last spring, and not because Bochy asked him to bat leadoff.

“I don’t know if he had a crystal ball at his house,” Bochy said.

Rowand took it upon himself to lose weight before Bochy called him to discuss life at the top of the order. Rowand said that he weighs 215, compared to around 225 last Spring Training. He finished the season at 205, reflecting the schedule’s physical rigors.

The center fielder said that he slimmed down by improving his diet and adding bicycling to his workout regimen. Rowand estimated that he rode approximately 2,000-2,200 miles, hitting the pedals four times a week at an average of 25 miles per excursion. 

“I’m 32,” Rowand said. “I need to start doing more cardio stuff.”

– Chris Haft

Reporting Day leftovers

The world “leftovers” in the headline isn’t meant to be dismissive. After all, leftovers are usually good for a couple of days. So snack on these morsels as you wait for the Giants to officially start Spring Training:

– Manager Bruce Bochy said Saturday that players will engage in conditioning exercises at the end of workouts instead of at the beginning. “One of the primary reasons I changed it was that I want these guys to have their legs fresh as they’re going through fundamentals and the pitchers are throwing on the side,” Bochy said.

– Left fielder Fred Lewis visited Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., in December to approve baseball spikes made specially for him. Lewis underwent surgery last September to have a bunion removed from his right big toe and actually has another bunion on his left foot that hasn’t yet proved bothersome. The shoes, he said, contain a mesh material around the toes to provide flexibility. Lewis expects to be ready to play in the Giants’ Feb. 25 Cactus League opener against Cleveland, although he hasn’t tried moving side to side or cutting sharply on his feet. “I feel like a little kid in a candy store,” Lewis said. “I can’t wait to get out there on the field. I feel like I have something to prove all over again.”

– Bochy named right-handers Kevin Pucetas, Joseph Martinez and Ramon Ortiz and left-hander Pat Misch as candidates to start if Martians abducted a member or two of the existing rotation (my words, not Bochy’s). Pucetas owns a 32-7 Minor League record but hasn’t pitched above Class A; Martinez led the Eastern League with a 2.49 ERA for Double-A Connecticut last year; Ortiz will prepare to pitch long relief as well as start; and Misch started 20 games in 2008 for Triple-A Fresno and the Giants.

– Bochy indicated that left-hander Randy Johnson’s training regimen will be adjusted to accommodate the 45-year-old’s history of back problems. “When you’ve been in the game as long as he has and you’ve had the success that he’s had, he has a routine and we certainly don’t want to change it,” Bochy said. When a reporter mentioned that the Arizona Diamondbacks protected Johnson last spring by prohibiting him from hitting in exhibition games, Bochy said, “We do want him to take a few swings so when he gets in a game he doesn’t hurt himself.” Bochy won’t completely baby Johnson either, judging from his response when another reporter mentioned PFP (pitchers’ fielding practice). “He’ll spend some time there, maybe not as much as a Jesse English,” Bochy said, humorously referring to the rookie right-hander who finished 13-7 last year for Class A San Jose.

– Chris Haft

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