Giants spring training Day 31: Bumgarner dominates in lengthy outing

Giants spring training Day 31: Bumgarner dominates in lengthy outing

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Giants had Madison Bumgarner set for four or five innings on Wednesday. The ace blew right past that in one of the most efficient outings you’ll see in a Cactus League game. 

Bumgarner allowed just one hit over six scoreless innings and he worked so quickly that the Giants actually had to come up short of his scheduled pitch count. As he hit the 70-pitch mark, Bumgarner had already thrown six innings and taken two at-bats. 

“Every time out it’s a little better, a little better,” he said. “Today was by far the best. I’m pretty happy with where I’m at.”

If Bumgarner looks this sharp on March 15, what will he do until the April 2 opener? Perhaps, he’ll turn to his other on-field passion. Bumgarner was 0-for-2 as the first Giants pitcher to hit this spring, striking out twice and throwing his bat into the stands down the third-base line on one swing. How did he grade the first day in the batter’s box?

“Pretty not very good,” he said. 

Manager Bruce Bochy had Bumgarner hitting eighth, and he said it’s something he’ll look at in the regular season if the Giants have multiple speedy leadoff types in the lineup. That process will ramp up in the coming weeks, as pitchers take more and more at-bats and start to get back into the flow. On the mound, Bochy doesn’t need to see much more. 

“That’s just a great outing for him,” Bochy said. “He pounded the strike zone and had everything going. You look at an outing like today and you think he’s ready, but he needs a couple more outings. He’ll tell you that.”

CUETO WATCH: Over at the minor league facility, Johnny Cueto also looked to be near regular season form. Making his second appearance of the spring, Cueto allowed two hits and struck out three in 3 2/3 innings. He threw 53 pitches. 

Cueto still has not fully ruled out a WBC cameo. There’s a small chance that he joins the Dominican Republic team for the final round. 

LINEUP CHANGE? Bochy had Eduardo Nuñez hitting second and Joe Panik seventh against lefty Tyler Skaggs, and he said the staff is talking about that as an option for real games. 

“Nuney, you saw what he did today,” Bochy said. 

Nuñez manufactured the first run of the day, doubling in the sixth and stealing third ahead of an RBI groundout by Mac Williamson. He hit righties better last season, but his .751 OPS was still way ahead of Panik’s .596. 

HIGHLIGHT REEL: Nuñez and Panik teamed up for a nifty double play to end the third inning. Nuñez snagged Yunel Escobar’s grounder and made a tricky overhand throw from the ground to Panik, who hung in on the bag and made a strong throw to first. They’ll have easier opportunities later this spring. Bochy said he’s going to get Nuñez a few starts at shortstop.

STARTER WATCH: Ty Blach’s first inning out of the bullpen was a nightmare: Five straight hits and four Angels runs. Bochy seemed more interested in what happened next. Blach came out for the eighth and cruised.

“What I like about it is the next inning he goes out and really has a solid inning,” Bochy said. “He didn’t let it fluster him.”

In the race for the No. 5 spot — which has tightened up quite a bit — Blach didn’t do himself any favors Wednesday, but he certainly showed some mettle. 

STOCK RISING: Michael Morse crushed a double off the left-center wall that was about two feet from being a homer and he later added a tie-breaking single. His spring average is up to .304 with a 1.016 OPS, and he’s moving well at first base.  

“Mo is swinging it well,” Bochy said. “He’s really seeing the ball well. It’s evident he worked hard to come in and try to make the club.”

Another couple of weeks like this might do it. After a slow start, Morse has five hits in his past three games, including two homers. 

“Early on, everything was there but I was just missing off the end of the bat,” he said. “Now I’m seeing the ball deeper and getting it on the barrel more.”


Reports: Giants dismiss Dave Righetti as pitching coach, reassign others


Reports: Giants dismiss Dave Righetti as pitching coach, reassign others

In a shocking move, the Giants appear to be moving on from longtime pitching coach Dave Righetti and other coaches.

According to FanRag Sports, the Giants will reassign Righetti within the organization, likely to a front office position. Righetti has been with the team since 2000 and has served as Bruce Bochy's right-hand man since he took over as manager in 2007.

Bench coach Ron Wotus and hitting coach Hensley Meulens will also be reassigned, according to FanRag Sports.

Bullpen coach Mark Gardner will also be reassigned within the organization, according to USA Today.

The coaching staff shake-up comes on the heels of the Giants finishing in last place in the NL West with a 64-98 record.

On Thursday, The Mercury News reported that the Giants interviewed current Red Sox hitting coach.

More to come...

Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role


Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role

SAN FRANCISCO -- A familiar face is returning to the Giants organization to serve a key front office role.

The Giants announced Friday that David Bell, their former third baseman, has been hired as Vice President of Player Development. General manager Bobby Evans said Bell will oversee all aspects of player development, including hitting, pitching, strength and conditioning and the operations of the minor league affiliates. 

"He was the perfect fit," Evans said. "His experience is so strong and encompasses so many aspects of the game. He’s got a really strong base of experience and background and understanding of the game, and he has a passion for the game and working with young players. He really showed a desire to pursue this opportunity." 

Bell, 45, played 12 major league seasons and spent 2002 with the Giants. He hit 20 homers that year as the starting third baseman and scored the winning run in the final game of the NLCS. Since retiring, Bell has served as a minor league manager for the Reds and a big league coach for the Cubs and Cardinals. He spent last season as the bench coach in St. Louis. 

Shane Turner had previously served as farm director, but at the end of the minor league season he was asked to take a role as a special assistant in baseball operations. While Evans did not announce any other changes Friday, there are expected to be other moves within the organization's depth chart. At least one member of the coaching staff is still in the running for a managerial opening.