Giants

EXTRAS: Bumgarner continues to impress

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EXTRAS: Bumgarner continues to impress

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. First there was Saturday's morning's gas leak that causedthe evacuation of Scottsdale Stadium. Then a swarm of beesdelayed Sundays game at Salt River Fields by 41 minutes.Whats going to happen tomorrow? Giants manager BruceBochy said.His eyes got wide as he pondered the pestilencepossibilities.Oh! Night game?" he said. "...BATS!
Bring your rabies vaccinations, just in case. Some garlicnecklaces wouldnt hurt, either.It was a wild scene at Talking Stick on Sunday afternoon.The swarm of bees finally settled in a cluster near a camera fixture at the endof the Giants dugout. Fire and pest experts told Bochy that the bees wouldntcause a problem after that.They said they should be fine with them settled in there,Bochy said. I said, Ok, lets play.That didnt stop Angel Pagan from almost locking himself inthe bathroom. But anyway, the second inning finally resumed without Arizona ace IanKennedy, and the Giants really seemed to enjoy putting on a 21-hit fest whilebeating the defending NL West champs 11-1.RELATED: Pagan quickly feeling at home with Giants
In the Giants other split-squad game against the MilwaukeeBrewers at Maryvale, Madison Bumgarner continued his sharp spring by strikingout four and not walking a batter in 2 23 innings. Shane Loux allowedBumgarners only run to score in a game that ended in a 1-1 tie.Brandon Crawford had two hits against Milwaukee and knockedin the Giants only run. Also, hard-throwing prospect Heath Hembree had a nicefirst game in a Giants uniform, punching out two in a 1-2-3 inning.I really wanted to see Bumgarner, Hembree, and Gary Brown,too, at Maryvale. But for beat reporters, the rule of thumb on split-squad daysis to go where the manager goes. So it was off to Talking Stick for what turned out to be a much longer game.(Travel tip: Don't get behind me in line at airport security. I never pick the right one there, either.)I have a hunchBochy wanted to see the Diamondbacks as much as he wanted to see some of hisregulars, including Pagan and Melky Cabrera.Bochy also wanted to see Brian Burres, his starting pitcher.You already know that Madison Bumgarner could open as theGiants No.2 starter, just so the Giants can avoid having three lefties in a row in case RyanVogelsong must be replaced in the rotation. Its been assumed that Eric Surkampwould be the lefty to take Vogelsongs spot if his strained back doesnt allowhim to go.But Burres is another lefty in camp with big league starting experience. And hell be given every chance to show what he can do -- as long as hecarries a bee smoker to the mound. Because of the 41-minute delay, he only wasable to throw one inning. Still, Bochy liked what he saw.Burres looked good, Bochy said. He kept the ball down,got good movement and they chased some pitches out there. He wanted to have asecond inning there, but the delay was just too long.He gives us some depth. (The front office) had someknowledge about him from his stint here before.Thumbnail sketch: Burres, 30, was signed by the Giants as a draft-and-followpick (31st round) out of an Oregon community college in 2000. He hada very solid minor league career and made it onto the 40-man roster to protecthim from being taken in the Rule 5 draft. But the Giants designated him in 2006to make roster room for free-agent infielder Jose Vizcaino, and the Baltimore Oriolessnapped up Burres off waivers. He has a 5.75 ERA in 106 games (56 starts) for theOrioles, Blue Jays and Pirates.Those numbers arent good, obviously. But Burres is a strike throwerand his changeup is considered a plus pitch. If the Giants need someone to fill in on astart-to-start basis, he at least gives them an experienced option.Well stay open minded, Bochy said. We think a lot ofSurkamp. We also know Burres can start. Well break with our best club.--Before leaving for Talking Stick, I chatted with TimLincecum about his Twitter account and his plans for it. He said he probablywont be on there every day, but that he looked forward to sending messages tofans through the social media site.Hes flabbergasted that he got so manyfollowers (almost 28,000) in such a short span.I enjoyed it for awhile there, I told him. For two days,I could brag that I had more Twitter followers than you.--Prospect hounds might be wondering why outfielder FranciscoPeguero hasnt seen action yet. Turns out he had another surgery on his rightknee in December. Its the same knee he had repaired in spring training lastyear. This one was considered a cleanup and Peguero said hes close to 100percent. He expected to be cleared to play in games in another two to threedays.--As mentioned, the Giants and Brewers played to a tie. Thatwas merciful, especially for Craig Whitaker.A former first-round pick, Whitaker, 27, has been in theGiants system for a decade now. He has battled multiple arm problems and missedall of last season because of a labrum tear in his shoulder that requiredsurgery.He was as surprised as anyone when, one day after playersreported to minor league camp, he found his name added to fill out the splitsquad at Maryvale.I havent faced a hitter since September, 09, he said.Not even live BP.Probably not the best scenario to break him in, I suppose.Whitaker has seen too much to be intimidated, though.Theyre just hitters, he said, matter-of-factly.--Former Giant Travis Ishikawa played for the Brewers atMaryvale, by the way. His key walk (from a 1-2 count) in Game 2 of the 2010NLDS wont be forgotten by Giants fans anytime soon.The Giants other split squad also saw a familiar face on thevisiting side. It was right-hander Joe Martinez, who remains a fanfavorite even though he wasnt with the team for long. His inspiring comebackfrom a skull fracture, which he sustained when struck by a line drive in 2009, made him apopular figure.I am almost certain that Martinez also got a World Series ring,since he did appear in four games (one start) for the Giants in 2010 before hewas shipped to Pittsburgh along with John Bowker for integral left-handerJavier Lopez.Martinez didnt have a great debut with the D-Backs on Sunday. Heallowed six hits in two innings, including a rocket off the bat of Aubrey Huffthat hit the base of the wall in right field. A parking-lot infield isn't the best thing for a ground-ball pitcher, either.--The Giants best highlight of both split-squad games mighthave been when Gregor Blanco managed to go from first to third on a wild pitch.Thats exactly what Bochy wants to see this spring.We havent done that in awhile, either, Bochy said. Thatswhat we want to do be aggressive on the bases. Its early, but I see goodsigns. Theyre not content just to grab the next base and bestation-to-station.Especially when theyre being chased by a swarm of angrybees.

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."