Giants

EXTRAS: Bochy hopes for a family meeting on the mound

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EXTRAS: Bochy hopes for a family meeting on the mound

PEORIA, Ariz. Giants manager Bruce Bochy has called thenames of hundreds of relievers over his 17-plus seasons as a major leaguemanager.

But hes never called another Bochy.

He had that chance Thursday night, when his son minorleague right-hander Brett Bochy was added to fill out the travel roster forthe night game against the Seattle Mariners at Peoria.

I didnt know he was coming over, said the manager, who ended up bypassing his son because Heath Hembree was scheduled to throw the ninth inning. Oh,its awesome. Its a special situation.

Brett Bochy was a closer who put up eye-popping numbers atthe University of Kansas before blowing out his elbow. The Giants spent alate-round draft pick on him, knowing he faced a long rehab process from TommyJohn surgery.

I know he worked hard after the Tommy John, the elderBochy said. I hope before I leave spring training, to get him in a game andcall him in there. I just told him, You cant make any comments if I take youout. Ive got to protect you like all the pitchers.

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Brett Bochy, 24, posted a 1.38 ERA in 35 games for Low-A Augusta(a 53-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 39 innings, too) and was called up as aringer for Single-A San Jose in the Cal League playoffs. Hes expected toreport to San Jose to begin this season.

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Ryan Vogelsong came out of his bullpen session with noissues, Bochy said. Hes scheduled to throw live batting practice on Saturday.If all goes well, hed throw one more time to live hitters before hed get in agame.

The Giants can take it slow with Vogelsong, and perhaps evenplace him on the disabled list to carry another player for the season-openingroad trip. Because of a day off on the first trip, the club could choose tooperate without a fifth starter until its ninth game, on April 15.

One other thing: Vogelsong still has to be run through thegauntlet of PFP (pitchers fielding practice) and hitting. That last partshould come quickly for the former Kutztown University shortstop.

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Brandon Belt raised his stock, and not only because he went3 for 5 in the Giants 7-5 victory to raise his average to .375. His louddouble came off a tough left-hander, Hong-Chih Kuo. Just more evidence thatBelt, no matter what uniform he wears in three weeks, should not be platooned.He should be out there every day.

Really nice game, Bochy (the manager) said. He saw the ball well. Goodtwo-strike approach.

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Shall we also point out that Brandon Crawfords two-run homerun came against Kuo?

Expect the Giants to sit Crawford against some (most?)left-handers this season, as they seek to protect him from getting overexposedat the plate. But ask Crawford about that plan and he wants no part of beingprotected. Hes told me on several occasions that he likes hittingleft-handers. The only reason he hit .133 in 30 at-bats against them lastseason, he said, is that its tough to hit a left-handed curveball when youonly see one a month.

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Barry Zito paid for a fastball mistake to Mike Carp, who hita two-run home run. But those were the only runs that Zito allowed in fourinnings. He had his good curve working and said he continues to feel betterfrom the stretch than the windup. He feels his changes from the stretch willmake him quicker to the plate, too, which should help him contain opposingbaserunners.

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Another day, another Maysian feat by Gregor Blanco. He hit achopper over the first basemans head, and when the right fielder bobbled itfor an instant, he bokked it for second base and made it safely. He tagged andtook third base on a fly ball to center and later scored.

I asked Bochy today what was his most exciting developmentin camp. He mentioned Brian Wilson, Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez makingprogress, but he mostly was impressed by the athletic baserunning that hesseeing in nearly every one of these games. Blanco is the leading supplier ofthat. Makes it hard for me to envision the Giants leaving him off the roster.

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Bochy also mentioned that players were doing a much betterjob picking up signs. Its rather disturbing to think they didnt do a dutifuljob of that in the past, no? (Except for Juan Uribe. Famously, he never knewany of the signs).

RELATED: Turning two still a major concern for Sanchez

Regardless of what happened last year, Bochy said, We feelwe can put something on and its clicking right along.

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Hembree continues to look more poised with everyouting. Hes not a candidate to make the opening-day roster, but you can bet aguy who throws strikes with a 98-mph fastball would be useful at some pointthis season.

Good command, good stuff, Bochy said. Hes looking morecomfortable. Hes a power guy and they can take a little longer to comearound.

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The Giants made two more expected cuts, optioning infielderCharlie Culberson and outfielder Roger Kieschnick to Triple-A Fresno.

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A lot happens in a week, huh? Since I jetted off for my typicalmid-spring break, Posey made his much-anticipated debut, he launched a home runfor his first hit, Sanchez appeared in a game for the first time since June and Wilson hit 96 mph on theradar gun for the first time in ... a long time. And from the looks of things, Jeremy Affeldt managed to avoidstabbing himself in any extremities, too. Im sure there will be plenty more to report in theweeks ahead.

Hearty thanks to Rael Enteen for doing such an enthusiastic job inmy absence. Itll be me for the duration of the spring. When do the movingtrucks arrive, again?

Good news, bad news for Chris Shaw's first week in the Arizona Fall League

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MiLB/Sacramento River Cats

Good news, bad news for Chris Shaw's first week in the Arizona Fall League

Every time the Journey song “Lights” plays throughout AT&T Park, the lyrics When the lights go down in the City ring too true for the Giants’ offense. There’s a power outage in San Francisco. 

The savior to this issue can soon be prospect Chris Shaw, who turns 24 years old on Oct. 20. Shaw, along with five other Giants prospects, is continuing his 2017 season among a multitude of baseball’s best young up-and-comers in the Arizona Fall League. As he takes the field for the Scottsdale Scorpions, Shaw’s bat is far from the top focus for the Giants. 

After playing right and left field at Boston College, the Giants turned Shaw into a first baseman once they selected the 6-foot-4, 235-pound lefty in 2015. This year, the Giants’ front office decided to make a change. As the big league team continued to look for their own answers, Shaw saw himself in left field in 94 of the 125 games he played between Double-A and Triple-A this season. 

“I saw improvements through the course of the year,” Brian Sabean said about Shaw’s outfield defense on The Giants Insider Podcast. “The problem is playing left field in our left field isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do.” 

The AFL is all about reps in left field for Shaw as the Giants have already said he will get a long look in spring training. He earned that right after a breakout year at the plate.

One week into the AFL though, Shaw’s bat is way behind. Through four games, Shaw is batting a pedestrian .133 (2-for-15), both hits being singles. But even in such a slow start there are positives. 

Shaw has walked three times to only two strikeouts. His only downfall at the plate once he reached Triple-A Sacramento was his on-base percentage fell from .390 in Double-A to .328 at the higher level. With the River Cats, Shaw struck out 106 times, leading the team, while taking his base 20 times.

One week in the desert, Shaw is showing more patience and putting the ball into play more often. The ball simply isn’t finding grass.

In the outfield, every ball Shaw sees -- practice or game -- during the AFL is a step in the right direction for he and the Giants. He is yet to make an error in his short time at the AFL. The big lefty will never be a guy to make the spectacular play, but if he improves his instincts with the glove and improves his eye at the plate, the Giants can finally have their left fielder of the future. 

Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster

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USATSI

Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster

LOS ANGELES — Shortstop Corey Seager has been left off the Los Angeles Dodgers' roster for the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs.

The Dodgers announced Seager's surprise omission due to a back injury on Saturday, several hours before Game 1 at Dodger Stadium.

Los Angeles also dropped reliever Pedro Baez from its roster. Infielder Charlie Culberson and outfielder Joc Pederson were added.

Chicago made only one change from the last playoff round, adding reliever Hector Rondon and removing reliever Justin Wilson.

Seager complained of back soreness during the Dodgers' NL Division Series clincher in Arizona on Monday, and 2016 NL Rookie of the Year didn't participate in team workouts this week. Still, manager Dave Roberts said Friday that he was very optimistic that Seager would play in the NLCS.

Seager was an All-Star selection this season while batting .295 with 22 homers and 77 RBIs as a key part of the top of the Dodgers' lineup.

Kike Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Culberson all worked out at shortstop Friday for the Dodgers. The versatile Taylor was the Dodgers' center fielder during the NLDS, but he made 96 appearances in the outfield this season and 44 in the infield, including 14 games at shortstop.

Pederson is batting .071 with no homers since July, but the Dodgers could need him in center field if Taylor plays shortstop.

Culberson famously homered to clinch the Dodgers' NL West title in announcer Vin Scully's final home game last season, but the infielder spent most of this season at Triple-A, appearing in only 14 games for the Dodgers.

Rondon was the Cubs' closer in 2014 and 2015, but moved to a setup role last season after Aroldis Chapman's arrival. He appeared in 61 regular-season games this year, going 4-1 with a 4.24 ERA in an up-and-down campaign.

Chicago acquired Wilson in a trade with Detroit on July 31, adding a veteran left-handed reliever who had 13 saves for the Tigers this season. The Southern California native wasn't great in his two months with the Cubs, posting a 5.09 ERA with 19 walks in 23 appearances.

Manager Joe Maddon chose Wilson for the NLDS over Rondon, only to switch it up against the Dodgers.