Giants spring training Day 1: Cueto's arrival delayed, Bumgarner's contract

Giants spring training Day 1: Cueto's arrival delayed, Bumgarner's contract

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Johnny Cueto eased his way into big league camp last spring as he tried to recover from a long 2015 postseason with the Kansas City Royals. In Year 2 with the Giants, Cueto will again be delayed in letting loose on the mound. 

Cueto won't report until later in the week, the Giants said, as he stayed back in the Dominican Republic to tend to his ailing father. The Giants expect Cueto to miss the first two or three days of workouts. 

The rest of what should be a very strong rotation arrived in the clubhouse Monday, the day pitchers and catchers reported. Matt Cain and Jeff Samardzija live in the area and Matt Moore had a short trip after his first FanFest. But Madison Bumgarner was seen for the first time since Game 4 of the NLDS, and he made his rounds, offering bear hugs to longtime teammates. Bumgarner, who is back to the huge-beard look, said he had a "quiet offseason." 

He watched most of the postseason on TV, noting with a smile that, "I sure would have liked to have been there." He liked what he saw in December, when the Giants signed Mark Melancon. "He's the complete package when it comes to a closer," Bumgarner said. There was a rumor that Bumgarner would participate in the World Baseball Classic, but Bumgarner said the timing wasn't right. It is something he would like to do, however. 

As for the big Bumgarner story, he said there have been no recent contract discussions. The Giants have Bumgarner under team control through 2019, and while both sides would like to hammer out a big extension at some point, it's unlikely it happens this spring. 

STOCK RISING: Today is like the first day of school, as players, team employees and beat writers do a whole lot of hand-shaking and ask over and over again, "How was the offseason?" One thing that did stand out in my informal discussions with guys was how many mentioned how much they like Nick Hundley, the new backup catcher. He apparently made quite the impression on teammates and team employees at FanFest.

STOCK FALLING: The idea to expand the footprint of Scottsdale Stadium. The Giants had briefly considered purchasing an open lot behind the bullpens and building some sort of addition to the facility, but it ultimately didn't make sense. The lot is now being turned into condos. 

ICYMI: The main story on Day 1: Cain is ready to fight for his rotation spot.

FAMILIAR FACE: The Giants will see plenty of Gregor Blanco this season, starting in the spring. The Diamondbacks work out about 10 minutes away in North Scottsdale. Cain said it'll be weird facing the guy who saved his perfect game. 

"I might have to hit him a few times," he cracked. "He was fun to have around. He was such a bridge from the American guys to the Latin guys."

It'll be interesting to see who takes that role. Blanco was fluent in English and made himself a big part of things like the clubhouse's fantasy football league, but he also was a mentor for the younger players who were still learning the language. Santiago Casilla was, too. 

QUOTABLE: "Which way is the field?" -- One of the many veterans in Giants camp for the first time. Melancon and Hundley were the only free agent additions to the 40-man roster, but there are still a ton of new faces around when you add up the veteran non-roster invitees, prospects, and players who were acquired in the middle of last season. 

Bumgarner undergoes surgery on pitching hand


Bumgarner undergoes surgery on pitching hand

A day after a line drive fractured a bone in his pitching hand, Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner underwent surgery to stabilize it.

A specialist in Arizona added three pins to Bumgarner's fifth metacarpal bone in his left hand on Saturday, the Giants announced. 

Bumgarner told reporters on Friday that the pins will remain in his hand for four-to-six weeks. Then, he will begin to fully work towards a return to the rotation.

The 28-year-old suffered the fracture in his final start of spring training, and was set to start Opening Day against the Los Angeles Dodgers on March 29. In 21.0 innings over six appearances this spring, Bumgarner posted a 3.43 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. 

Bumgarner injury just the latest in recent run of misfortune for Giants

Bumgarner injury just the latest in recent run of misfortune for Giants

Eight years ago in this very space, I postulated that Brian Sabean had done a lucrative deal with Satan.Co to win the Giants’ first World Series in 56 years. He never denied it, so I took that as silent affirmation.

Now, it seems Beelzebub has brought the bill, to be paid in full on receipt of same.

The San Francisco Giants, who needed as few things as possible to go wrong to start this season, just got two full-on groin shots in the space of less than a week, the second of which was delivered when Madison Bumgfarner fractured his hand trying to repel a line drive from Kansas City second baseman Whit Merrifield during Friday’s Cactus League game.

The injury did not look serious at first because, well, because Bumgarner pretends to be made of adamantium, but an X-ray revealed the fracture and though no time for recovery was listed, Bumgarner may return to health before the Giants do.

And yes, I know spring training is no time for fans to lose hope for a cheery season, but you take the fact as they present themselves, and the Giants are already 40 percent down from their projected starting rotation. Jeff Samardzija is already on the disabled list with a hinky pectoral muscle, and as the Giants know all too well, things like this tend to come in sixes, if not eights.

The 2010 Giants hit on every midseason trade and parlayed that good fortune and the assets already on board to a storied October run. A year later, Buster Posey got Scott Cousin-ed, and his broken ankle snapped the team’s hope of repeating.

The Giants then won in 2012 and ’14 without too much incident, but starting midway through 2016, continuing into last year when Bumgarner flipped his dirt bike, and now down to today, it’s been nothing but seeds and stems for Giantvania.

The rumor mill has been quick to offer up possible replacements for the Bumgarner vacancy (though not for his expected results), but at a time in the game’s development when the best and most progressive-thinking teams are talking about four-man rotations and Staff on every fifth day, a strategic development that requires strength in numbers, the Giants have neither that strength nor those numbers.

Their best internal choices are veteran Derek Holland, who might already have been penciled in as Samardzija’s replacement, and phenom-in-training Tyler Beede. But that essentially uses up the in-house bank of usable goods, so Sabean can either buy something very off-the-rack or hope he and Bruce Bochy can fake it long enough for Samardzija (three to four weeks) and then Bumgarner (six to eight, according to ESPN's Buster Olney).

This seems awfully daunting, especially for a team that has buzzard’s luck and a rotting bat rack for a season and a half. But with six days before the regular season starts in Los Angeles against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers...oh, the hell with it. If you’re a Giant fan, start drinking, and continue until further notice. The evil lord of the netherworld will tell you when it’s time to stop.