Wilson pushes limits in Giants' win


Wilson pushes limits in Giants' win

DENVER Brian Wilson cannot wait to hear the sellout crowdat AT&T Park for Fridays home opener.

It feels like its mid-August right now and we haventplayed in San Fran yet, said the Giants three-time All-Star closer, after arollicking, ankle-rolling save conversion in a 4-2 victory over the ColoradoRockies on Thursday. Well go to opening day and take in all the specialmoments and play a nice, nine-inning ballgame. We feed off the energy.
RECAP: Youth prevails as Giants top Rockies 4-2

But Wilson wont inherit a save situation if one comes inthe home opener. He threw 32 pitches while allowing a run and barely escaping theninth inning; a day earlier, he made his season debut with a mop-up inning andthrew 24 pitches.

So Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he more than likely wontuse Wilson for a third consecutive day especially following a highlycontrolled spring throwing schedule to make sure his right elbow didnt flareup again.

Wilson did receive a visit from trainer Dave Groeschner,though. Catcher Buster Posey signaled to the dugout after Wilson turned hisleft ankle on a 1-0 pitch to the Rockies Tyler Colvin. Wilson threw a warmuppitch, convinced Groeschner and Bochy that he was fine and continued theinning.

He walked Colvin with the bases loaded to force in a run.But then he got Marco Scutaro to fly out on a slider to end it.

Wilson also had a fair bit of Irish luck the batter beforeColvin, when pinch hitter Todd Helton scorched a line drive to second base.Emmanuel Burriss fell to his knees while watching the ball into his glove.

Bochy said he would've pulled Wilson for Santiago Casilla if his black-bearded closer hadn't retired Scutaro. He had to protect Wilson from throwing too many pitches. So Wilson straddled the line in more than one respect.

I guess its just Willies way, Bochy said. He had goodstuff. He was throwing strikes to the first two hitters. Hes working hard outthere.

Wilson did not ice his ankle after the game.

No big deal. Its really nothing, just one of those thingsthey have to check on a non-issue, Wilson said. Ive got two of em. So itdoesnt matter.

Wilson didnt bring the 95 mph gas from a day earlier,instead throwing mostly cutters and sliders with mixed results. That shouldntcome as a shock, considering he only went back-to-back once during the spring.

But when he needed to reach back, he hit 94 mph on a fastballto strike out Wilin Rosario.

Once I entered yesterdays game, I knew for a fact Id bethrowing today, Wilson said, with a bemused expression. Thats just how itworks. My pitch count got up high, but there was nothing out of the norm. Itwas nice to get that quote-unquote pressure situation out of the way.

Ah yes. The Wilson pressure situation. Bases loaded, gameon the line: A show weve all seen before. This time, he created it on TroyTulowitzkis double, Michael Cuddyers infield single and Jason Giambis pinchsingle to right field.

I feel more locked in when there are bases loaded,actually, Wilson said. Cmon, we all know that. Ive seen bases loaded a lot.

Its not like I want to pitch in that situation, but whenit comes down to it, I feel Ive been more successful than not.

The Giants were successful on their season-opening road tripwhen the pitching went to plan. They received quality starts from Barry Zito(on Monday) and Madison Bumgarner (on Thursday), and those accounted for theirtwo victories.

Its our game. Its what we count on, Bochy said. Itmeans you have a chance to win the game. As tough as this trip has looked withthe pitching and defense, really, we should be .500. We let one slip away. Andthe guys bounced back from really, two of the toughest losses you can have.

Weve been on the road so much. The guys have dealt with itgreat. But its time to go home and get settled into our ballpark.

Bumgarner saved them from a 1-5 trip with a solid effort.Barely 15 hours after the Rockies finished pounding out 22 hits and scoring 17runs Wednesday night, Bumgarner held them without a hit until the sixth inning,when left fielder Melky Cabrera came up just short on a diving attempt to catchColvins triple.

Bumgarner (1-1) started the game by getting Marco Scutaro tofly out to center. He didnt allow another ball to leave the infield untilColvins hit.

The difference between that sparkling, 7 13-inning startand his previous one, when he got lit up at Arizona?

I just tried to make pitches, he said, and not strikepeople out on the first pitch of the at-bat.

Bochy said Bumgarner in Arizona was amped up andoverthrowing. He went back to the slow lane while churning outs againstColorados hungry lineup. He said he never gave much thought to his no-hit bid.But after the game, he acknowledged that hes glad he wont have to wait untilMay 19 for his first victory.

Yeah, and I just thought about it, Bumgarner said. Ittook, what? A month and a half last year? Its good to have it out of the way.

Its also good to have that first trip out of the way. Anditll be good to sleep in their own beds for a change.

Now they just need to take this new-found offense they averaged5.5 runs per game, and scored at least four runs in every game on the trip and make sure it translates to the shores of McCovey Cove.

Hunter Pence changing positions to accommodate Andrew McCutchen

Hunter Pence changing positions to accommodate Andrew McCutchen

SAN FRANCISCO -- Andrew McCutchen has spent his entire career as a center fielder. With a new team comes a new position. 

Manager Bruce Bochy confirmed on Tuesday that McCutchen will move to right field for the Giants, with Hunter Pence sliding over from right to left. Bochy said he talked to McCutchen about the plan -- one the Giants had throughout the McCutchen chase -- after Monday's trade. 

"I'm looking forward to right field," McCutchen said. "That's one place people can't pick on me saying that my defensive metrics are so bad. I'm looking forward to playing right. I know there's a lot of room out there to run, so it's definitely going to be almost like playing center."

McCutchen said he's looking forward to picking Pence's brain about patrolling right field at AT&T Park. Bochy has already spoken to Pence and said his longtime right fielder is on board with the plan. 

"He's just so excited about getting Cutch on this club that he's good with anything or whatever is best for this club," Bochy said. "So that's the plan right now."

McCutchen has played 11,621 defensive innings in his career and all but 115 1/3 of them have been in center field. He briefly moved to right field last season but shifted back to center when Starling Marte was suspended for testing positive for a banned substance. McCutchen was a Gold Glove Award winner in 2012 but his defensive metrics tailed off in recent seasons. He was worth negative 28 Defensive Runs Saved in 2016 and was at negative 16 DRS last season. 

McCutchen had wanted to stay in center in Pittsburgh, but said it's a new case with a new team.

"I wasn’t too keen on (moving at first) because I felt that I had more there, that I could do something there (in center)," he said. "I honored (the Pirates) once they wanted me to play a little shallower and that backfired on me. I was basically asking for another shot but I didn’t get that chance or opportunity. But now that I’m going into the Giants organization and this is something they want me to do, I’m all for it.

"San Francisco has a huge field. It’s bigger than PNC Park. They’ve got Triples Alley and it’s called Triples Alley for a reason. For me, it’s another center field. I’m moving over a little and if it’s saving my legs and I can get more stolen bases, I’m all game and I’m all for it.”

Pirates front office raves about McCutchen after trading him to Giants


Pirates front office raves about McCutchen after trading him to Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — There was a sense of celebration within the Giants organization on Monday after the addition of Andrew McCutchen. He is easily their best outfielder, a potential solution atop the order, and a player who is known for being a tremendous presence in the clubhouse. 

If the Giants had any doubts, though, they surely felt better after seeing the quotes that came out of Pittsburgh. In a series of statements, Pirates officials made it clear this was a difficult trade to make, with chairman Bob Nutting calling it “one of the most emotionally agonizing decisions that we have had to make in my tenure.”

Nutting, in a statement, said that McCutchen’s smile and energy were infectious even as a teenager. Later, McCutchen got the Pirates to three straight postseason appearances. 

“He did so while always carrying himself with humility, dignity and grace,” Nutting said. 

Team president Frank Coonelly described the trade as painful. 

“(No) individual was more responsible for the success that we had from 2013 to 2015 than Cutch,” Coonelly said in a statement,” And no player was more disappointed than Andrew that we did not break through and win a World Series Championship for the City of Pittsburgh.”

McCutchen was Pittsburgh’s first-round selection in the 2005 draft and made his debut in 2009. In nine seasons with the Pirates, he was a five-time All-Star and a perennial MVP candidate. He won the award in 2013 and finished in the top five of voting for four consecutive seasons. 

General manager Neal Huntington said the decision to actually part with the franchise player was “incredibly difficult.”

“Watching Andrew patrol center field with grace, fly around the bases, drive the ball all around the ballpark, celebrate with his teammates or interact with his family, friends or fans has created lifelong memories for me and many, many others around the game of baseball,” he said.