Giants notes: Bochy returns, 'ready to roll' after minor heart procedure

Giants notes: Bochy returns, 'ready to roll' after minor heart procedure

DENVER — Bruce Bochy returned Friday to the news that his ace had been involved in a dirt bike accident, but that didn’t put the manager in a bad mood. Bochy was all smiles on his first day back from a minor heart procedure, meeting individually with several players, joking with staff and reporters, and even challenging one to a basketball game. 

“I feel great. I’m ready to roll,” Bochy said. “I feel great. It’s good to be back with the club and get in the rhythm, I guess you could say. I’m glad to be back.”

Bochy said he had been feeling an atrial flutter after workouts and he got checked out Monday. His heart doctor took tests and said it was an easy fix. He had an ablation procedure Tuesday and was kept for observation overnight. 

“I felt I could have gone to Kansas City, but they wanted to wait,” Bochy said. “When this started happening more frequently it was time to get something done.”

Bochy said everything is back to normal. His doctor put him through a battery of tests, including an angiogram.

“He said you may have a bad knee, but you don’t have a bad heart,” Bochy said. 

--- The big news today was Madison Bumgarner, obviously. Here’s that story. It’s mentioned in there that Ty Blach will start Tuesday, and Dave Righetti also said Matt Cain will stay on turn. So it’s Cain, Blach, Johnny Cueto and Matt Moore against the Dodgers. 

Blach is available for an emergency tonight but otherwise he’ll throw a bullpen session Saturday to prepare for the Dodgers. He said it’ll be a bit longer than normal to get the pitch count back up, but he’s not worried about how deep he can go in his return to the rotation. 

“I think I’ll be pretty strong,” Blach said. “My arm feels good. I expect to be able to stretch it back out. I should be good to go.”

Blach will take over Bumgarner’s rotation spot for now and Chris Stratton is here to provide length for the bullpen. The Giants do believe that Tyler Beede is just about ready for his big league audition, but there’s no point in jamming him in as a long reliever right now. If something else happens in the rotation, Beede is the next man up.

--- Trevor Brown’s rehab assignment is officially over. He is staying with Triple-A Sacramento after being officially optioned there Friday. 

Michael Morse and Mac Williamson had a travel day Friday. They’ll start with the River Cats this weekend. 

--- If you missed it, FanGraphs’ Eno Sarris was the latest podcast guest. It’s an interesting one if you’re into metrics and pitch velocity and all that.  

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

PEORIA — Jeff Samardzija spent a couple minutes after Thursday’s start talking to reporters about how deep he thinks the Giants lineup can be. It’ll be a hell of a lot deeper if Hunter Pence keeps hitting like this. 

After a slow start to the spring, Pence is charging. He had three hits against the Padres: a triple that bounced off the top of the wall in right-center, a hard single up the middle, and a double to center. The more encouraging plays for the Giants happened in left field. Pence chased down a drive to the line in the third inning, leaving the bases loaded. He opened the fourth by going the other direction and gloving a fly ball to left-center. 

"A good game for Hunter, both ways," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's getting more comfortable out there. You can see it with the jumps he's getting right now. It takes a little while when you change positions, but I think he's going to be fine out there."

The Giants appear set to have Austin Jackson and Pence atop the lineup against left-handed starters, and that duo could see plenty of time early. Seven of the first nine games are against the Dodgers, who have four lefty starters. 

--- Evan Longoria had a double off the right-center wall on Wednesday after missing a week with a sore ankle. He had a single the same way in his second at-bat Thursday. More than the at-bats, Longoria has impressed with his soft hands and steady arm at third. The ankle looks fine, too. 

“My ankle feels pretty good,” Longoria said. “I don’t think it’s going to be an issue going forward.”

--- It’s been a quiet spring for Andrew McCutchen, but we saw the wheels tonight. McCutchen easily stole second after a two-run single in the fifth. When Evan Longoria bounced one to the left side, shortstop Freddy Galvis tried to go to third for the lead out, but McCutchen beat that throw, too. He got up and put his hands on his hips, as if to say, "Why'd you even try that?"

--- Samardzija allowed three homers in a six-batter span in the third. He allowed three homers in an inning in his previous start, too, but he said he’s not concerned. Samardzija deemed it a sequencing issue. He’s working in a new changeup and threw it in situations he normally wouldn’t; Eric Hosmer took advantage of a floating one, crushing it to deep, deep right for the third homer. 

--- With a runner on, Brandon Belt put down a perfect bunt to foil the shift. Belt does that every spring, particularly against NL West teams, but rarely during the regular season. Maybe this will be the year?

Belt later crushed a homer to deep right. That had to feel good for a number of reasons. Belt is fighting a cold and he learned earlier in the day that his college coach, Augie Garrido, had passed away.

Josh Osich goes back to his roots looking to unleash all the potential


Josh Osich goes back to his roots looking to unleash all the potential

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — For most pitchers, spring training is a time to experiment and add a pitch or two. Josh Osich is using this month to go the other direction. 

Osich spent the offseason watching film of his 2015 season, when he looked like he might one day be the closer in San Francisco, and decided that he needed to get back to his roots. That means the curveball, which he tried so hard to mix in last year, is now far back in the cupboard. The four-seam and two-seam fastballs are once again the focus, with an emphasis on changing eye levels more than he did a year ago. The changeup and cutter will round out his arsenal for the most part. 

Osich’s raw stuff is still as good as just about any lefty reliever in the league, and he hopes to take advantage of that while putting a rough 2017 season in his rearview mirror. He had a 6.23 ERA last season and 1.73 WHIP.

“It’s just one of those learning years,” Osich said. “I tried to live at the bottom of the zone and I was, but I was actually below the zone. So then I would fall behind and need to throw a strike and that’s when guys would hit me.”

Osich, 29, had a 2.20 ERA and 1.12 WHIP during that 2015 season that he keeps going back to. He walked eight batters in 28 2/3 innings, a far cry from the 27 he walked in 43 1/3 last year. While watching the 2015 version of himself, Osich saw that his hands were higher, and that’s something he’s working to replicate. He’s also trying to slow his pace to the plate. So far, the results are nothing but encouraging. Osich allowed one hit and struck out one in a 2 1/3 inning appearance on Wednesday night. Manager Bruce Bochy let him extend himself to keep the good vibes going. 

In six appearances this spring, Osich has allowed just four hits over seven scoreless innings. He has seven strikeouts and one walk. 

“O, it just seems like he’s got confidence,” Bochy said. “He’s kept it simple, he’s not tinkering with different pitches. He’s throwing more strikes, and more than anything he’s just trying to pound the strike zone now with quality strikes. That’s all he has to do. You look at him and he’s hitting 95 with a couple of good off-speed pitches. That works here.”