EXTRA BAGGS: D'Backs laud Lincecum's stuff


EXTRA BAGGS: D'Backs laud Lincecum's stuff

PHOENIX Tim Lincecums average fastball was a shadeunder 90 mph and he topped out at 91. He said he didnt throw a single slider.Ordinarily, this would be cause for alarm.And maybe it should be. Neither Lincecum nor Giantsmanager Bruce Bochy expressed any concern over the pitches that the two-time CyYoung Award winner threw in Friday nights season-opening, 5-4 loss to theArizona Diamondbacks.His stuff was good, Bochy said.For what its worth, the Diamondbacks concurred.As far as his stuff tailing off? No, I dont thinkthats the case, Arizona leadoff hitter Willie Bloomquist said. I think itsmaybe guys see him more and more and they know what to expect off him. Hesstill got No. 1, A-plus type stuff. Give the credit to the guys in heretonight. They figured out a way to beat him and thats not always an easy thingto do.Said Justin Upton, whose leadoff double in the sixthignited Arizonas winning rally: He was pretty dominant after the firstinning, so I dont want to say we got to him. But after you get a few at-batsoff of a guy, you start to get a feel for him."Arizona manager Kirk Gibson was coy in his pregame mediasession when asked about Lincecum saying he wouldnt throw his slider. Gibsonsanswer was something along the lines of, Well, yeah, sure. Thats what hessaying.Chris Young thought his homer in the first inning came ona slider. Lincecum said no, it was a changeup.Regardless, Gibson called the pitch a mistake.Early on, we beat on his mistakes, Gibson said. What acompetitor that kid is. He just has a way about him. Hes hard to predict. Andhes always a challenge. I know hes done very well against us, but I think thelast four games weve done well against him.Its true. Lincecum is 0-4 with a 6.85 ERA in his lastfour starts against Arizona, dating to last August. Prior to that, he was 7-2with a 2.50 ERA in his first 15 outings against them.One big difference: Paul Goldschmidt. Last seasonsmidsummer call-up has three homers off Lincecum in 11 at-bats.Asked about Lincecums velocity, Gibson practically ranfrom the question.I think someone said that a couple years ago, he didntlose a game the rest of the season, Gibson said. I better not comment onthat.--Ian Kennedy, by the way, hasnt lost to an NL West teamsince 2009. Hes now 11-0 against the division this year and last.--Brandon Crawford (sprained left thumb) said he ditchedhis protective padding under his fielding glove after five innings because itwas too bulky. It didnt contribute to his error, though, on Aaron Hillshard-hit grounder that ate him up.A play I shouldve made, he said.--There are those who will take issue with Bruce Bochysdecision to let Aubrey Huff face sidewinding lefty Joe Paterson with two outand two on in the seventh. Brett Pill was on the bench.But I didnt have a problem with that. Huff does OKagainst lefties, and late in the game on opening day, you dont want to lift aveteran like him for some one like Pill, who has only a few weeks of big leagueexperience. (Remember Huffs hit off Atlantas Matt Dunn in the NLCS?)--Paterson is a former Giants farmhand. The Diamondbacks pilfered him in the Rule 5 draft a couple of years ago. Javier Lopez is very good at his job, but Arizona is paying their guy about 4 million less.
--Third base umpire James Hoye must be a USC alum. He rangup Crawford twice on check swings. One of them didnt look close to a swing.--If we learned anything today, these 18 games between theGiants and Diamondbacks are going to be entertaining. Gibson and Bochy clearlyenjoy competing against each other and they both have the personnel to putrunners in motion. Theres going to be a lot of cat-and-mouse going on.Gibson was particularly illuminating in his pregamesession:Theyre very tough. Theyre very hungry, Gibson said.Theyve reshaped their club and theyre going to bring new challenges to usall. But were confident well play a good ballgame and the result will be inour favor.They won the World Series (in 2010) and so everyonefocuses on what they do, and then make adjustments, he continued. We did lastyear. Now the Giants made adjustments. Theyre a totally different team.The matchup should be even better in Game Two. DanielHudson was throwing the best of anyone in Arizona's camp. Ditto for MadisonBumgarner. And on it goes...

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

SAN FRANCISCO — The field at AT&T Park is covered with patches and small piles of dirt right now, showing the signs of a winter hosting holiday parties and concerts, and a week with plenty of rain. 

For Evan Longoria, though, that grass was a beautiful sight.

A month after a trade that had him switching coasts, Longoria was introduced at a press conference at AT&T Park and ran the usual gauntlet with team employees and season-ticket holders. He spent some time this week looking for housing in the Bay Area, but soon he’ll be back in Scottsdale, getting to know new teammates and preparing his body for the 2018 season. 

Longoria said his workouts have been a bit different with a new staff, but the goal remains the same. He is a player who prides himself on taking the field every day, and that’s one of the traits that drew the Giants to Longoria. He has played at least 156 games in five consecutive seasons, and 160 in four of those seasons. 

It’s no accident that Bruce Bochy has mentioned durability during every media session this season. Andrew McCutchen has a similar track record, and the Giants lineup certainly could use some stability, especially at third base, where seven different players made double-digit starts last season. Longoria will change that. 

“I have a desire to play every day, and I think that that is infectious,” he said. “Players that may feel the grind of a long season or might be in a little bit of a funk offensively or defensively or with pitching, something like that can give you a boost when you have guys around that you know come to play and compete on a daily basis, no matter what the circumstance is.”

[RELATED: Just a number? Longoria says slow down with concerns of Giants' aging roster]

For Longoria, who turned 32 early in the offseason, the circumstance has changed for the better. After years on the unforgiving turf at The Trop, he comes to a park and division featuring nothing but natural grass. 

“I hope it helps,” he said. “Going on the road (with the Rays), my body definitely felt better when I played on grass. I’m sure that it will help. It’s definitely not going to be a negative. Not playing on the turf anymore is something that crossed my mind as soon as the trade happened.”

Longoria expects to benefit from another aspect of AT&T Park, too. The Rays finished dead last in the majors last year with an average of 15,670 fans per game. Even though their sellout streak ended, the Giants still had an average of more than 40,000 per night. Asked about playing outdoors, Longoria smiled and added, “in front of fans.”

“The environment here is obviously much different, so it’s going to be nice to step into that on a daily basis and play in front of a fan base that’s obviously very storied,” he said. “It helps with energy. It helps with motivation.”

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

Andrew McCutchen has been one of the best players in the National League for years now. The 31-year-old is a five-time All-Star and was named the 2013 NL MVP. 

Not only do his stats stand out, McCutchen is also one of the most entertaining players in baseball. And that's clearly going to continue in San Francisco. 

On Thursday, McCutchen was asked about the famous seagulls of San Francisco flying around the outfield at AT&T Park. 

"I definitely made a few friends out there over the years. Steve the Seagull out there, I know him," McCutchen said on KNBR. "He comes in every now and then. We have a little pow-wow when I come to San Francisco. Yeah, we get along well, me and the guys, me and the birds. They know when to come in that's for sure." 

Denard Span, who the Giants traded to acquire Evan Longoria, had a much different relationship with the seagulls. 

McCutchen is clearly the opposite of Span in this regard though. He seems about as calm as can be when it comes to the birds paying him a visit. 

"They chill, we have some conversations. It's all good," says McCutchen. 

One other aspect McCutchen can't wait for in the outfield at AT&T Park, is getting to know all the fans. Specifically, not being a part of a special chant Giants fans have for opposing outfielders. 

"I'm lookin' forward to fans not callin' me bums anymore," McCutchen said with a laugh. "I'm glad I'm on the winning side. I'm glad I'm on the San Francisco Giants side. I can't wait to meet all the fans."