Giants spring training Day 21: Alguacil expected to miss two weeks

Giants spring training Day 21: Alguacil expected to miss two weeks

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — When Jose Alguacil took to Twitter on Sunday morning to thank fans for their thoughts and prayers, he mentioned that he received about 250 text messages. A few of those were from his manager, so Alguacil sent a photo back to Bruce Bochy. 

“He looks like he went 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali,” Bochy said. “But other than that, he’s in good spirits.”

Alguacil underwent surgery Saturday night to fix a broken nose and close a deep laceration at the base of his forehead. He was hit by a foul ball while sitting alongside the dugout Saturday at Surprise Stadium, but Giants officials were pleased with the final diagnosis, noting that it looked much worse when Alguacil first went down. He also suffered small fractures in his eye socket. Alguacil was hit square in the face, in the eye area, but his sunglasses took a good portion of the force. 

Bochy said Alguacil could be off the field for as long as two weeks, but he’s expected to show up at Scottsdale Stadium at some point in the coming week. He was kept at a local hospital Sunday night for observation, but the scare hasn’t hurt his sense of humor. 

“He’s doing well,” Bochy said. “He says he wants to throw (BP) to three groups tomorrow.”

With Alguacil out, Shawon Dunston will serve as the interim first base coach. Another change Sunday was more subtle. The coaching staff did not put out folding chairs alongside the dugout, and the visiting Royals followed suit. 

THE ACE: The Giants lost their eighth straight spring game, although that doesn’t really matter. Actually it doesn't matter at all. Bochy said such a streak would only concern him if it came late in camp. They got off to a good start Sunday, with Madison Bumgarner striking out four in three sharp innings. He allowed one run. 

Bumgarner and the other Giants pitchers still are not hitting in games, but they have accelerated their pre-game work and they’ll soon ditch the DH. Bumgarner is looking forward to it. After hitting .186 last season, he has a goal in mind. 

“I felt like I still got a decent amount of hits last season, but I got a lot more opportunities,” he said. “If you can keep it up in the 200s, you’ve got to feel like you’re doing your part as a pitcher.” 

Bumgarner’s average dipped, but his on-base percentage was about the same. He drew a career-high 10 walks, doubling his previous best. 

THE OTHER ACE: Johnny Cueto is scheduled to make his spring debut on March 11, Bochy said. He will slot in behind Bumgarner. 

GAME RECAP: Mac Williamson went the other way for his first homer of the spring … Buster Posey had two hits, including a very Posey-like single to right that drove in a pair … Mark Melancon’s  perfect spring run ended, but he kept the Royals off the board after walking two and giving up a bunt single. Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik turned a slick double play to end the threat.

ROSTER MOVES: The Giants made their first round of cuts, reassigning C.J. Hinojosa, Carlos Alvarado, Andrew Suarez and Juniel Querecuto to minor league camp. Ray Black was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento.

TRAINER’S ROOM: Conor Gillaspie (sore throwing arm) will probably miss another day of action. Eduardo Nuñez (shoulder) should be back in the field on Tuesday. He has been limited to DH duty. 

QUOTABLE: “I’m ready to get there. I’m tired of answering questions from my fellow teammates on when I’m leaving. Thankfully that’s tomorrow. I don’t have to say ‘Monday, March 6’ anymore.” — Posey on leaving for the WBC.

Giants' outfield picture becoming clearer after latest round of roster cuts

Giants' outfield picture becoming clearer after latest round of roster cuts

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants moved closer to setting their opening day roster on Monday when they made a significant round of cuts to their spring training roster. 

A total of 15 players were reassigned or optioned, bringing the total to 31 players remaining in camp. Many of the players cut Monday entered the spring competing for jobs. 

In the outfield, Mac Williamson and Austin Slater were optioned to Triple-A and Chris Shaw was reassigned to minor league camp. Williamson had a huge spring and was the likeliest of the trio to push for an opening day spot, but he'll start his year in the minors. Steven Duggar was not among the cuts, and he remains an option to make the team, with the Giants also looking at Gregor Blanco, Gorkys Hernandez and Jarrett Parker for backup spots. Hernandez and Parker are out of minor league options. 

Tyler Beede was optioned and Andrew Suarez was reassigned to minor league camp, leaving three players vying for the final two rotation spots. Ty Blach and Chris Stratton have been the favorites all along, although both struggled the last time out and Derek Holland has had a strong spring. 

Both backup catchers -- Trevor Brown and Hector Sanchez -- were reassigned, along with Orlando Calixte, who saw time in the big leagues last year. Joan Gregorio, Jose Valdez, Justin O'Conner and Kyle Jensen were also reassigned. Chase d'Arnaud, who appeared to be making a strong push, was on the list, too, leaving Josh Rutledge as the only competition for Kelby Tomlinson for the final infield spot. 

Finally, Derek Law and Roberto Gomez were optioned to Triple-A. Josh Osich remains and appears the frontrunner for a bullpen job. Julian Fernandez, the Rule 5 pick, also remains in camp. 

The Giants break camp on Friday.

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.