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Showing posts from February, 2009

Starting Pitching Looks Good Early

After Saturday's game, the Giants have now had all five of their projected starting pitchers throw in a Cactus League game, and Bruce Bochy, Dave Righetti and Co. have to be happy with what they've seen thus far. The Giants top young arms, Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum (fresh off his newly signed 1 year, $650,000 deal; more at bottom of post), threw well in their first starts of the spring and in the most recent outing, the Giants got 2 hit-less innings from Barry Zito on Saturday. Zito allowed no base runners and struck out a batter in those two innings and hopefully it means the 30 year-old lefty is on the right track. Over the previous two springs, Zito hasn't really had many outings to feel good about, but this was certainly one of them. Jonathan Sanchez is another guy who opened some eyes in his appearance as well. Sanchez didn't start his game, but came in after Randy Johnson's 2 inning, 1 hit start and dominated the Royals. Sanchez went 3 innings and stuck out 4

Bats Show Up In Spring Opener

The big question coming into the spring was whether or not the Giants were going to score enough runs to match-up with their brilliant starting pitching. They certainly displayed enough in Wednesday's Cactus League opener against the Indians. Travis Ishikawa headlined the day as he hit two impressive home runs and went 3-3 overall with 4 RBI. Ishikawa's first shot was a majestic home run that bounced on top of the roofing in right-field then out of the complex. His second jack was more of a line drive shot and left the yard in about 3.5 seconds. Oh yeah, he all also added an RBI single in there as well. With the Giants recently passing on Joe Crede, it means that Ishikawa will get a real look at first base this spring and the 25 year-old looks ready. The Indian's broadcasting crew was mentioning just how sweet Ishikawa's swing looked and I absolutely concur. The kid looked really balanced today and swung at pitches in the strike zone. If he keeps that up, not only will

Giants Spring Training Notes

What has been a relatively quiet spring training in Scottsdale so far is about to start picking up. The Giants have a scheduled intresquad scrimmage planned for Tuesday, followed by Wednesday's Cactus league opener against the Indians. The only Giant who is leaving the team and heading off to the World Baseball Classic is Jonathan Sanchez . The Giants' 26 year-old lefty has been penciled in to start the Puerto Rican squad's third game of the tournament. The interesting thing here is that Sanchez is also battling the recovering Noah Lowry for the fifth starters spot in the Giants' rotation. Now, Sanchez had a leg up on Lowry before pitchers and catchers reported and absolutely nothing has changed. Sanchez's delivery has apparently been toned down and smoothed out a little bit which is hopefully going to keep him in the strike zone more often and he's looked in control in his first 2 sessions throwing to hitters. Lowry on the other hand, is still trying to w

Spring Battles To Watch

With spring training now in full swing, and cactus league games less than a week away, I thought now would be a good time to take a closer look at the top five battles that will be going on in Giants camp over the next 6 weeks. The battle for the 5th starters job, the starting second basemen spot, the final bench and bullpen spots as well as the fight for the bulk of the at-bats at first base will all be under the microscope as the Giants try attempt to field their first winning team since 2004. The 5 th Starters Spot : The most publicized battle this spring has been and will continue to be the battle for the fifth starters spot. There are only 2 contestants in this one so it's pretty cut and dry: Either Jonathan Sanchez or Noah Lowry will be in rotation come April, but not both (unless an unforeseen injury takes place). Noah Lowry leads the Giants in wins over the last 4 years, even after missing all of '08, so he's been very important to the pitching staff, when healthy.

Full Squad Workouts Begin

Wednesday marked the first day of full-squad workouts, but there was still plenty of buzz about the pitchers, and even gold ' ol Joe Crede was back in Giants news. One of the newest Giants showed up and looked good, according to our good friend over at Giants Jottings. I reported a few weeks back that Edgar Renteria showed up for the fanfest looking about 15-20 pounds lighter than he ended the season at with Detroit. Renteria looked lighter on the field as well as he supposedly put together a strong fielding session followed with a solid batting practice. The Giants, once again, have a lineup built around contact hitters, so Renteria will have to rebound and carry his share this year if the Giants are going to improve on last years league's worst offense. The 33 year-old shortstop is still being significantly overpaid in this market ($18.5 million over the next 2 seasons when he should have gotten $10 over 2 years max) but as I said when he signed, if he reverts to the wa

Posey Impresive in Opening Workouts

Finally, instead of contemplating on Joe Crede and discussing the ongoing Manny Ramirez saga, we have some real baseball to talk about as Spring Training 2009 has officially begun. Most of the buzz from the first few days of Giants camp has surrounded young Buster Posey . The Giants number one pick (and fifth overall) from 2008's amateur draft showed up to spring training and looked like a top five pick is supposed to. Posey hit a shot over the left-field fence on his first swing in his first spring batting session and he didn't stop there. According to those in attendance for the workout, Posey was ripping the ball all over the yard and was the only Giant hitter to hit a ball out of the park on each of the first two days of workouts. Just by looking at some of the photos taken from the batting sessions, and from the limited at-bats I saw him take for Florida State in last year's College World Series, you can tell this kid has a special swing that's balanced and fini

Pitchers and Catchers Report

Spring Training 2009 has officially begun for the Giants as pitchers, catchers and various other position players reported to camp on Saturday. There wasn't much going on as today was just the reporting date and the first official workout isn't scheduled until Sunday, but there were a enough tidbits to come up with a small post on reporting day. Apparently Noah Lowry isn't 100 percent healthy after all as he has reported some shoulder stiffness upon arriving in Scottsdale. The lefty was supposed to be on schedule to take part fully i n pitchers workouts on Sunday, but his recent set-back will likely limit any throwing he may do. However, Lowry thinks he'll be fine in due time and also adressed the the questions regarding the starting rotation. He hinted that he would expect a move of some kind if everyone is healthy come April, even a possible trade. There have been whispers of Lowry possibly starting the year off in Fresno as he still has a minor league option left, bu

Free Agency Picks Up

Over the last 48 hours, a few of the top remaining free agents have found homes. It looks like Adam Dunn will be playing in D.C. for the next 2 seasons as he signed a two-year $20 million deal with the Nationals. Bobby Abreu also found a home, signing a bargain basement one-year, $5 million deal with the Angels. With those two back-up options off of the market, it would seem that the Dodgers need Manny Ramirez now more than ever. If they loose out on ManRam , they won't have a shot at legitimately replacing him. Whatever small percentage chance the Giants had at signing Manny Ramirez has likely gone out the window now under the current circumstances. The Dodgers are going to go all out for Manny and the Giants aren't going to be ready to compete with what they'll eventually offer. My guess is that Manny returns to LA for 3 years and $65 million within the next week or so. The Giants aren't likely to guarantee Manny anymore than one year, two years tops, but would prob

Giants Re-Sign Richie

It took the weekend for Rich Aurilia to finally except, but the man who debuted for the Giants all the way back in 1995 will be back with the team this season. Now, Aurilia officially signed a minor league deal so he won't count against the 40-man roster during spring training, but unless he absolutely tanks, and others blossom, Rich will be back in the utility role for the Giants once again in 2009. I am not surprised by this move at all since it was well publicized that the Giants had a deal on the table for Richie. He can play first and third in a pinch and those are two places the Giants will likely be going young at in 2009 with Pablo Sandoval and Travis Ishikawa. The only question I have about this deal is that it is exactly like the deal the Giants signed Juan Uribe to back in late January and I don't think the Giants will end up having room for the both of them. Since Bruce Bochy is planning to carry a 5-man bench, that would likely lead to the team carrying 2 infielder

Giants Notes: Lowry Healthy

The annual Giants Fanfest took place this weekend at AT&T Park and some pretty good news came out of it. The Giants trainers and manager Bruce Bochy declared that Noah Lowry is healthy and is on track to report with fellow pitchers and catchers to participate fully in workouts when spring training begins in a week. This is great news for Noah who tweaked his forearm last spring and it ended up costing him the whole 2008 season. I think a lot of people have forgotten how important Lowry is to the Giants star ting rotation. Even after missing all of 2008, he still leads the team in wins since 2005. And if Lowry is indeed ready to go and shows so early on in the spring, it would provide the Giants with 6 legit options for a 5-man starting rotation. It's still unclear how Lowry will react to the daily grind of getting back into game shape so if you wondering why the Giants don't go off and deal Jonathan Sanchez for a hitter, that's part of the reason. However, I really d

Barry Zito Gearing Up For Rebound

We have officially hit February and pitchers and catchers are starting to pack their bags as spring training reporting dates are only 2 weeks away. One Giant that could be reporting early is the newly determined Barry Zito. The 30 year-old lefty has gone through a new workout regime this winter, in effort to break out of the funk he's been in over the previous two seasons. The Giants' top earner has been working out with the teams' closer, Brian Wilson, and has put an extra emphasis on strengthening himself this winter through the use of weight training. Zito has seen his fastball drop in velocity over each of the last two seasons (all though he did get it back up into the 87-88 mph range toward the end of the year) and whether that's attributed to strength and conditioning isn't clear, but getting stronger won't hurt anything. 2009 is a very big year for Zito. It's still early enough in his contract where he can turn things around and start changing the min

Events And Tickets in San Francisco

San Francisco is an amazing place to visit. There are tons of things for tourists to do in the city by the bay, from hanging out on the beach and eating at the famous fisherman's wharf to hitting the City at night for a Giants game and a good old fashion night on the town. I wanted to go ahead and write about some things to do in San Francisco for anyone planning on visiting who's never been, or for those that live in the bay area that are looking for something new to do. First off, this is a Giants Blog, so you know I need to mention the San Francisco Giants. My favorite thing to do in San Francisco during the spring, summer and fall is attend Giants games at the beautiful AT&T Park. Now the Giants don't get the Yankees or Red Sox Tickets coming to town for interleague play this season, but there still will be plenty exciting match-ups coming up in 2009 and plenty of cheap San Francisco Giants tickets available as the Giants write another chapter in their rivalry