Feb. 19, 2011
URBAN ARCHIVEGIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEOMychael UrbanCSNBayArea.com
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- One of the annual rites of spring training is the manager's speech to his team before the first full-squad workout.Some skippers keep it short, some go long, some go mostly off-the-cuff, some have agonized over every aspect of the address for quite some time before delivering it.The messages may vary, but every one of big-league ball's 30 managers, in giving this first speech, essentially gets to cut the ribbon on his team's grand opening.Only one of them gets to deliver his speech to the reigning World Series champions, though, and this year's honor was that of Bruce Bochy, who greeted the first full gathering of the 2011 Giants on Friday -- with the 2010 Giants very much on his mind."It was special," Bochy said. "When I stood up and started talking to them, I looked around and thought about last year and how proud of these guys and what all it took for them to accomplish what we did. It was a pretty neat feeling to stand up there and look at the world champions."Bochy's message?"We're coming off a great year," Bochy said. "I hope these guys have had time to savor what they've done, because it really is unbelievable. But it's time to get to work. We won't let go of those memories; you never let go of them. But at the same time, you have to concentrate on what's ahead of you, and we have some work to do."I think these guys have earned the attention they're getting, but with that said, success is never final. You have to earn it over and over again. We know that. It's a new year, it's a new season, it's a new race."So it's time for us to get back to work."WHERE'S WILSON?
Closer Brian Wilson didn't participate in the workout, extending to four days his absence from on-field festivities, but Bochy continued to characterize Wilson's sore back as a minor issue that calls for and receives more caution than concern.
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Wilson on Friday was extremely confident that he'd be taking part in Saturday's workout, but Bochy has let it be known that the Giants know Wilson too well to let him gung-ho his way back onto the field. Also on the medical front, backup catcher Eli Whiteside has been told to cool his jets for another couple of days to allow the swelling to subside in his tweaked right elbow. An MRI exam and X-rays showed nothing more than a build-up of fluid.PANDA AT THE PLATE
The workout was hastily rearranged as a concession to the forecast of heavy rain expected to hammer Scottsdale no later than early afternoon, so the live batting practice -- Giants hitters vs. Giants pitchers -- opened the show instead of closing it, and Pablo Sandoval played a starring role.Facing minor-league righty Felix Romero, Sandoval blasted a home run into the picnic area high above the right-field wall on his very first swing. He also homered to left-center, prompting more praise from Bochy, who has been extolling the virtues of Sandoval's dedication to improved fitness since first seeing the slimmed-down Panda in person."First swing, it looked like he wanted to make a statement," Bochy said. "He can change our offense if he's back to where he was a couple years ago."ME FIRST, ME FIRST!
Another highlight from batting practice was the matchup of the day, pitting Tim Lincecum against a group that included Pat Burrell, Aubrey Huff and Mark DeRosa.Burrell volunteered to play the leadoff man, and he lined Lincecum's very first offering into right field for what would have been a clean single in any game. It had to feel pretty good to Burrell, who'd surely like to quickly prove that whatever ailed him during the World Series last year has been cured, but Huff couldn't resist trying to take some wind out of his close friend's sails, saying after the workout that Burrell wanted to bat first because he figured the first pitch from the Freak would be his slowest of the day.Whatever the case, Burrell's line drive was the last hard contact that Lincecum would allow while methodically buzzing through his workout with game-ready nastiness.The rain did eventually come, by the way, and it was pretty nasty, too, bringing high-speed winds with it. Getting the tarp on the infield could have devolved into a massive blue kite flying through Old Town had the crew not worked so doggedly.