Giants

Giants spring training Day 16: Rollins IDs similarities between Kershaw, Bumgarner

Giants spring training Day 16: Rollins IDs similarities between Kershaw, Bumgarner

PEORIA, Ariz. — Two years ago, Jimmy Rollins spent a season playing shortstop behind Clayton Kershaw. On Tuesday, he lined up behind Madison Bumgarner. 

Rollins is one of the few big leaguers who has shared a clubhouse with the two left-handed aces, so during a recent interview, I asked him to compare Kershaw and Bumgarner. One trait stood out. 

“When it’s game day, (Kershaw) is all on,” Rollins said. “It’s intense, it’s his job, it’s his game, it’s his mound — almost a ‘Don’t get a reliever up’ type of mentality. Playing against MadBum, it was the same thing. When he took the mound he expected himself to go nine. ‘I’m not turning the ball over,’ and when he did, it’s like, ‘Alright, I get it.’ Not willingly, but more reluctantly.”

Rollins was the everyday shortstop for the Dodgers in 2015. Two years later, he’s trying to secure a much different role. Rollins, 38, is in the mix to win a utility infielder job, and he’s off to a decent start. He has had good at-bats over the first week and on Tuesday he showed the arm is still there on a relay throw from center. The Giants will move him around quite a bit this spring, with second base likely to be the biggest challenge for a player who has spent most his life standing at shortstop. Manager Bruce Bochy said Rollins will start at second on Thursday. 

Rollins hopes he has many more days behind Bumgarner. He certainly has had more than enough time against him. Rollins is 7-for-32 against Bumgarner, with no extra-base hits or walks, and 10 strikeouts. 

“I swung at a two-strike pitch that Madison threw in L.A. and I was like, you know what, I’m going to take a shot at a fastball,” Rollins said. “He threw a curveball and the ball bounced two feet in front of the plate and I’m just swinging like I’m trying to hit a home run. He stuck me out. ‘Alright, well. I gave it a shot and that didn’t work out. Don’t ever do that again.’ Sometimes you have those matchups that you can’t figure a guy and he was that for me. 

“He has a lot of deception with his move, stepping over, sideways-slinging, but he has good control. He can backdoor a curveball when he wants to. He can cross-fire and bag you up.”

Rollins talked much more about facing the Giants and Bumgarner during the interview, which aired on my podcast today. You can stream it here or download it on iTunes here. 

GAME RECAP: Bumgarner had a seven-pitch first inning but gave up two runs in the second. He got his work in, as they say … Mark Melancon made his second appearance of the spring. It’s six up, six down so far … Josh Osich had another wild outing, walking two and giving up an RBI single … Chris Marrero, who hit a walk-off in the opener, scorched a two-run single off the wall in dead center. He was held to just a single because he tripped rounding first. Still, another good display of his power.

PROSPECT WATCH: Ray Black, the 100 mph man, walked one and struck out one in his debut. He sat 95-96 mph with a good slider. "It's good to see him healthy," Bochy said. "He's made some good adjustments. He's feeling good. Knock on wood, he stays healthy. That's a big arm. You'd like to see him healthy all year and let him take the next step."

FAMILIAR FACE: Hector Sanchez pinch-hit for the Padres in the seventh and drew a walk. Sanchez remains El Iman, The Magnet. He has already missed time this spring because of two separate foul tips. For more on former Giants, here’s a look at all the familiar names in other camps as non-roster invitees. 

STOCK RISING: It can’t hurt Gordon Beckham’s cause that he did a decent job in a surprise start in left field. Beckham caught two liners but got turned around by a ball to the track in the second inning. He’s trying to make this team as a utility infielder/outstanding clubhouse guy, and Bochy said he'll mix him in as a left fielder.

“He’s a good guy to have on the team,” Bumgarner said, before joking: “A talented player, too … except for today when he couldn’t throw the ball home or catch the ball.”

TRAINER’S ROOM: Will Smith played catch for the second straight day. It looked like a normal game of catch, which is good.

QUOTABLE: "He came in and said, 'Wow, I got a 1-2-3 inning in spring training. I think that's the first 1-2-3 inning I've had in five years here.'" -- Bochy on what Bumgarner said to him after a quick first.

 

POLL: Giants memorable moments -- Winning '10 World Series vs. Winning '14 World Series

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AP

POLL: Giants memorable moments -- Winning '10 World Series vs. Winning '14 World Series

NBC Sports Bay Area is looking back at the Giants' 60 Memorable Moments since the franchise moved from New York to San Francisco. Tune into Pregame Live at 6 p.m. to see the next two moments you can vote on! Then, after the Giants and Padres conclude on Friday, tune into Postgame Live to see which moment will be crowned most memorable!

1. Giants defeat Rangers in 2010 World Series thanks to Edgar Renteria's three-run homer (New winner -- Defeated Travis Ishikawa's walk-off homer wins 2014 NL Pennant)

(From former Giants outfielder and current NBC Sports Bay Area analyst Andres Torres)

I got to the field early, around 1:30pm because it was the World Series and you're pumped. Around 3pm, Edgar came to me and said 'Andres, I'm going to hit a homer today.' I'm like 'Okay, I believe him.'

Then we had batting practice, we came in, had something to eat, then we had soft-toss as we got closer to the game. And Edgar said to me 'Remember, I told you I'm going to hit a homer.'

Then in the seventh inning, he hits it, and we see the outfielder going back and back and back and then the ball's gone!!!

I was so pumped and when he came back to the dugout from homeplate, I started yelling in Spanish 'You told me you were going to do it. You told me you were going to do it.' I said it twice because he said it to me twice that he was going to do it. We were so pumped!!!

It was amazing. He called it twice, twice!!! We were World Champions and he was the MVP and it was amazing. Edgar was a leader in the clubhouse. He played a long time and made sure we were all doing the right things, especially me and Pablo (Sandoval). He's a great friend and that was a special moment, I loved it...it was like wow!! It was so cool!!!

VS.

2. Giants defeat Royals in 2014 World Series, Madison Bumgarner closes Game 7 with five shutout innings of relief

(From Alex Pavlovic)

A few minutes after he threw a 119-pitch shutout in Game 5 of the 2014 World Series, Madison Bumgarner was approached by Royals manager Ned Yost. The two were headed in opposite directions as they gave postgame interviews, but Yost wanted to take a moment to congratulate Bumgarner. 

"Great game," he told him. "You know what? I sure am glad I don't have to see you again."

Bumgarner smiled. He had one more trick up his sleeve that month, and it would win the Giants a third World Series, stun the baseball world, and cement the left-hander's place as the best big-game pitcher of his generation. 

Bumgarner came out of the bullpen in Kauffman Stadium in Game 7 and threw 68 pitches over five innings, carrying an early 3-2 lead all the way to the finish line. Essentially making a second start in four days, Bumgarner allowed two hits and struck out four, finishing one of the best postseason runs in baseball history. He earned a five-inning save, lowering his 2014 postseason ERA to 1.03 over an astounding 52 2/3 innings. 

"As soon as I saw him warming up and we had the lead, I knew it was over," said Game 7 starter Tim Hudson. "I knew the big fella was going to get it done."

Hudson lasted just 1 2/3 innings before turning it over to Jeremy Affeldt, who got the ball to Bumgarner. The Giants scored twice in the second and took the lead on Michael Morse's single in the fourth. Joe Panik had the defensive highlight of the night, diving and glove-flipping to Brandon Crawford to start a huge double play in the third. From there, it was the Bumgarner show. 

A misplay in the outfield put Alex Gordon on third with two down in the ninth, but Salvador Perez popped up. The Giants had a third title in five years. 

"This group of warriors continues to amaze me," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Nobody wanted it more than them."

VOTE HERE:

What the search for new Giants front-office executive could look like

What the search for new Giants front-office executive could look like

SAN FRANCISCO — This is not how the Giants hoped to spend October. 

For a second straight year, the team’s top decision-makers will spend the month conducting interviews rather than watching postseason games. Last October, the Giants underwent coaching changes. This time around it's the general manager who is gone, and Larry Baer and Brian Sabean are looking for a new head of baseball operations to carry the department forward. Bobby Evans was just the eighth person to hold the GM title since the franchise moved to San Francisco, so the process is a new one for ownership, and Baer said he plans to be meticulous. 

The Giants hope to have a new executive in place by the GM meetings in early November and certainly will have their search done well in advance of December’s winter meetings in Las Vegas. Until then, Sabean will handle any day-to-day responsibilities. 

“I don’t want to set a timetable,” Baer said Monday. “We have the benefit of Brian being able to steer the ship here until we have somebody.”

Given the timing of the Evans move, the Giants can afford to be patient. There are no major decisions to be made until late November when 40-man moves must be made and contracts must be tendered to arbitration-eligible players. While free agency starts soon after the World Series ends, few players sign before Thanksgiving, and the Giants don't have any major decisions to make with their own free agents. 

There’s another reason for the Giants to be patient, too. Their wish list is expected to include several executives on teams headed to the postseason, and often times it’s difficult to conduct interviews until a team is eliminated. In the meantime, ownership is busy building the list. Initially, the Giants expect to hire just one executive to report directly to ownership, although over time that person surely would want to revamp the baseball operations department. 

Baer said Monday that he would be open to becoming the first team to have a female run the baseball operations department, and there are several highly qualified candidates, including MLB’s Kim Ng and the Yankees’ Jean Afterman, a San Francisco native. 

The Giants also are expected to look at executives who currently serve as the No. 2 for successful organizations. Often times you’re not given permission to interview someone for a lateral move, but because this will be a head of baseball operations role, the team could potentially poach a GM from an organization like Tampa Bay or Atlanta, for example, arguing that the Giants’ job is a promotion. 

The initial list also will include those who have served as general managers in the recent past but no longer do so. Ownership believes this is an all-in, 24/7 job, and there is some preference to hire a person who has previous experience with the demands of leading a baseball operations department.