Wilson wants to lay fears to rest


Wilson wants to lay fears to rest

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Somewhere along the way last summer,everyone stopped fearing the beard. Instead, Giants fans feared for BrianWilsons health.

Wilson wants to put those fears to rest.

I know Ill start the season healthy and finish ithealthy, said Wilson, after throwing 15 pitches in a scoreless inning Monday.But I know theres speculation.

As far as trying to ease peoples minds, Ive doneeverything possible to make sure the fans, the organization, you guys (in themedia) understand Im healthy, Wilson continued. Youre not me. Youre not myarm.

His arm looked fully functional against the Kansas CityRoyals. Wilson was throwing 92-93 mph and appeared to hit his spots. He gave upone single and struck out one.

Wilson had gone nine days since his last Cactus Leagueappearance, when he threw 35 pitches in a St. Patricks Day outing against theAs. The Giants backed him off with what manager Bruce Bochy described as armfatigue; Wilson threw twice in minor league camp, and gave up two runs onSaturday.

Wilson said his elbow, which limited him to two appearancesafter Aug. 15 last season, was not an issue.

That day my mechanics were a little erratic, he said. Iwasnt able to find an arm slot. I went from nine, 13 pitches to 35 pitches. Wefelt it was probably necessary to have a few outings of 20 pitches, monitored,to find an arm slot for the cutter rather than go out there and try tocompete.

Finding an arm slot has been Wilsons goal this spring as hepitches with slightly different mechanics. He sacrificed weightlifting forflexibility training this offseason and is noticeably more streamlined than inpast seasons. He said his troublesome back and hip have not been an issue forhim this spring and his increased flexibility allows him to throw with a longerstride.

Im used to pitching a certain way, Wilson said. Now thatthe hinges are a little looser, we have to refine the arm slot. That takes twoor three outings, tops.

In retrospect, Wilson said he should have thrown in minorleague camp from the very start this spring. But hes happy with where hes at.That includes his velocity, even if hes not sitting at 96 mph like in pastyears.

Lets be honest. Id like to throw 110, he said. But Ican only gauge on what the hitters are doing. I can see on a few of myfastballs, theyve been late. As far as Im concerned with getting outs on myfastballs, its what Ive been looking for.

Left-hander Javier Lopez said Wilsons progress this springshould be a mental boost for the club, which feeds off the closers energy andenthusiasm.

Its what we were all expecting, knowing his drive and hiswork ethic, Lopez said. You can see the aggressive style hes always had, butthe stuff coming out of his hand has that electric feel.

Lopez paused, knowing that Electric Feel is the title ofTim Lincecums entrance music.

Oh, I guess thats Tims song, Lopez said. It has anelectric look, lets go with that. Its the look he had in 2010. Its comingout good and you can see it in his body language and his confidence level.

Wilson likely will take Tuesday off and pitch Wednesday.Bochy has said he wants Wilson to throw on consecutive days before the end ofthe spring, and maybe even finish up the eighth before coming on for the ninth.

Wilson can feel the regular season coming, though. And hepledged to be ready for it.

I really like baseball, he deadpanned. Ive been itching.Ive been waiting for it. I know its necessary to go through the progression,to warm up. You dont want to peak right now. Once the season starts, its forreal and Im kind of raring to go.

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

SAN FRANCISCO — The field at AT&T Park is covered with patches and small piles of dirt right now, showing the signs of a winter hosting holiday parties and concerts, and a week with plenty of rain. 

For Evan Longoria, though, that grass was a beautiful sight.

A month after a trade that had him switching coasts, Longoria was introduced at a press conference at AT&T Park and ran the usual gauntlet with team employees and season-ticket holders. He spent some time this week looking for housing in the Bay Area, but soon he’ll be back in Scottsdale, getting to know new teammates and preparing his body for the 2018 season. 

Longoria said his workouts have been a bit different with a new staff, but the goal remains the same. He is a player who prides himself on taking the field every day, and that’s one of the traits that drew the Giants to Longoria. He has played at least 156 games in five consecutive seasons, and 160 in four of those seasons. 

It’s no accident that Bruce Bochy has mentioned durability during every media session this season. Andrew McCutchen has a similar track record, and the Giants lineup certainly could use some stability, especially at third base, where seven different players made double-digit starts last season. Longoria will change that. 

“I have a desire to play every day, and I think that that is infectious,” he said. “Players that may feel the grind of a long season or might be in a little bit of a funk offensively or defensively or with pitching, something like that can give you a boost when you have guys around that you know come to play and compete on a daily basis, no matter what the circumstance is.”

[RELATED: Just a number? Longoria says slow down with concerns of Giants' aging roster]

For Longoria, who turned 32 early in the offseason, the circumstance has changed for the better. After years on the unforgiving turf at The Trop, he comes to a park and division featuring nothing but natural grass. 

“I hope it helps,” he said. “Going on the road (with the Rays), my body definitely felt better when I played on grass. I’m sure that it will help. It’s definitely not going to be a negative. Not playing on the turf anymore is something that crossed my mind as soon as the trade happened.”

Longoria expects to benefit from another aspect of AT&T Park, too. The Rays finished dead last in the majors last year with an average of 15,670 fans per game. Even though their sellout streak ended, the Giants still had an average of more than 40,000 per night. Asked about playing outdoors, Longoria smiled and added, “in front of fans.”

“The environment here is obviously much different, so it’s going to be nice to step into that on a daily basis and play in front of a fan base that’s obviously very storied,” he said. “It helps with energy. It helps with motivation.”

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

Andrew McCutchen has been one of the best players in the National League for years now. The 31-year-old is a five-time All-Star and was named the 2013 NL MVP. 

Not only do his stats stand out, McCutchen is also one of the most entertaining players in baseball. And that's clearly going to continue in San Francisco. 

On Thursday, McCutchen was asked about the famous seagulls of San Francisco flying around the outfield at AT&T Park. 

"I definitely made a few friends out there over the years. Steve the Seagull out there, I know him," McCutchen said on KNBR. "He comes in every now and then. We have a little pow-wow when I come to San Francisco. Yeah, we get along well, me and the guys, me and the birds. They know when to come in that's for sure." 

Denard Span, who the Giants traded to acquire Evan Longoria, had a much different relationship with the seagulls. 

McCutchen is clearly the opposite of Span in this regard though. He seems about as calm as can be when it comes to the birds paying him a visit. 

"They chill, we have some conversations. It's all good," says McCutchen. 

One other aspect McCutchen can't wait for in the outfield at AT&T Park, is getting to know all the fans. Specifically, not being a part of a special chant Giants fans have for opposing outfielders. 

"I'm lookin' forward to fans not callin' me bums anymore," McCutchen said with a laugh. "I'm glad I'm on the winning side. I'm glad I'm on the San Francisco Giants side. I can't wait to meet all the fans."