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Friday, February 17, 2006

Pitchers and Catchers Report

The Giants' pitchers and catchers reported to spring training wednesday and had their first workouts thursday morning in Scottsdale, Arizona. The main headlines were the weight loss of Armondo Benitez, the polite complaining of Jason Schmidt, and the Barry Bonds reality show. Apparrantly Benitez, who reported two weeks early to Scottsdale to workout with trainer Stan Conte, has lost 20 pounds off his hefty frame from last season. This is very good news, as weight and conditioning issues caused him to tear his groin and miss most of 2005. Benitez says he is "two weeks away from top game shape" and I think we will see a solid spring out of Benitez. I think with the improved conditioning, we will see an increase in velocity. I doubt he will ever be that 97-99 mph guy again, but 94-95 consistantly with the split and the slider going would work just fine.

Jason Schmidt has reported in a little different way. Schmidt was asked if he was glad the Giants excersised his option at 10,000,000 rather than bought him out at 3,000,000. He said he likes San Francisco and all, but Schmidt basically said no, in a polite way. Schmidt actually talks about the mediocre pitchers getting nice deals this winter, the thin market, and how he thought he would be a hot commoditiy despite his subpar year last season. Schmidt basically wanted to burn the Giants for 3 million and then go get a nice multi-year deal one more time incase he has another average season. Talk about greed and loyalty (or lack there of) in sports, maybe I am reading too far into it, but it sounds like Schmidt could care less if he was with the Giants or not, as long as he could get a free 3 million dollars on top of whatever deal he signed this winter. I will still root for Schmidt and I still hope he rebounds and wins 20 games, gets his fastball back and becomes a Cy Young candidtate again, as long as he is in orange and black. However, when you look at those comments, you can't help but think that Schmidt is doubting himself a little bit.
Among other arrivers at the first day of camp was Pedro Gomez and the crew that is getting ready to follow Barry Bonds around for the season and air a weekly series on his pursuit of Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron. This should be interesting. I wonder that if the show goes well, people change some oponions on Bonds, this has to be one of the reasons why he is letting them do this. Barry wasn't there yet, but they did hound manager Felipe Alou with questions, one of which being about Bonds hitting 2nd in the lineup. Jeff Fassero and Alfredo Simon were a few no-shows for the first workout. Simon should be there within the next few days, due to visa problems. Fassero had some personal issues, but he should also be there within a day or two.
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