Giants

Johnny Cueto impresses Bruce Bochy, Giants staff with bullpen session

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AP

Johnny Cueto impresses Bruce Bochy, Giants staff with bullpen session

PHOENIX -- Johnny Cueto always stands out in spring training, because while every other pitcher in the row tries to show Giants coaches how well he's throwing, he seems to be playing a light game of catch.

Saturday was the exact opposite.

Cueto, about nine months removed from Tommy John surgery, threw in front of the Giants' staff at Chase Field and opened eyes with his 40 fastballs.

"He threw really, really well," manager Bruce Bochy said. "I think he surprised a lot of us with where he's at as far as his stuff, how hard he threw, his command."

Cueto's progression has been just about seamless, and he has matched the rehab work by dropping more than 20 pounds. Beyond the weight loss, he has toned up, replacing fat with muscle.

"Right now I feel like I'm a 25-year-old kid," Cueto said through interpreter Erwin Higueros. 

"I think this is the best shape I've seen Johnny in," Bochy said. "He looks very determined to get back as soon as possible."

Knowing how long the recovery process is, Bochy wouldn't commit to Cueto making an appearance this season. But the Giants always have targeted Sept. 1 as a return date, and Cueto has told members of the organization that he would like to return in the first half of August. On Saturday, he certainly looked like a pitcher capable of hitting that mark.

[RELATED: Bochy to 'keep pushing' despite ejection and another loss]

Cueto has thrown five bullpen sessions and started throwing his changeup off flat ground. He will throw the changeup in a bullpen session next week, and a week later will mix in breaking balls.

It is full steam ahead, with the goal of returning in time to make a few starts this season that set him up for a big return in 2020.

"My arm is telling me it wants to pitch," Cueto said.

Shaun Anderson 'wanted that seventh' in Giants' 3-2 loss to D-backs

Shaun Anderson 'wanted that seventh' in Giants' 3-2 loss to D-backs

Giants starter Shaun Anderson needed just 81 pitches to get through six innings Sunday against the Diamondbacks.

With the game in the balance and the pitcher's spot due up fourth in the top of the seventh, no one would have blamed Bruce Bochy for pinch-hitting for Anderson. But the Giants skipper let the rookie hit for himself and sent Anderson back out to start the bottom of the seventh.

"He got better as he went [along], and he was better early today," Bochy told reporters after the Giants' 3-2 extra-innings loss in Arizona. "The kid did a real nice job. That's why I let him hit there with two outs, nobody on. He was throwing the ball really well, did a great job in this ballpark."

Eduardo Escobar led off with a single, and Christian Walker followed with a ground-rule double. At that point, Bochy knew it was time to take out Anderson.

"You love his makeup, the way he battles out there -- he keeps his poise," Bochy said of Anderson. "I said earlier, he's got the strength and stamina you like from a starter. He maintains his stuff deep in the game."

Anderson was attempting to get through seven innings for just the second time in his young career. Instead, he went six-plus innings, allowing five hits and two earned runs, walking one and striking out two on 93 pitches.

"I felt great," Anderson told reporters. "We were going to attack Escobar. He got a hit. And I felt good about facing Walker, too. I was going to get a ground-ball double play, and and he ended up getting a hit. But overall, I felt great. I wanted that seventh."

[RELATED: Bumgarner's trade value not high?]

Anderson appreciated the faith Bochy showed in him to try to get through the seventh inning of a tie game.

"I hope I can continue to bring that confidence for him, and he can continue to have me roll out there for the seventh," Anderson said. "I wanted that seventh. He and I both knew that."

Giants vs. Diamondbacks lineups: Alex Dickerson looks to remain hot

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USATSI

Giants vs. Diamondbacks lineups: Alex Dickerson looks to remain hot

The Diamondbacks have a problem -- his name is Alex Dickerson. 

The #ForeverGiant after just two days of being on the team has four extra-base hits and tallied nine RBIs -- the most by any player in their first two games with the Giants.

Not to mention, Dickerson was hitting just .176 in his first six games at the Triple-A level. He returns to the lineup batting in the seventh slot as the Giants finish up the series against Arizona in Phoenix.

Unfortunately, the Giants have one problem to deal with as well -- Merrill Kelly. He was sensational against the Orange and Black in his last outing, shutting them out in 5 1/3 innings.

Here are how the lineups look to shape up on Sunday. You can follow the action on NBC Sports Bay Area or by downloading and streaming on the MyTeams app.

San Francisco Giants (33-42)

Joe Panik, 2B
Mike Yastrzemski, RF
Evan Longoria, 3B
Brandon Belt, 1B
Stephen Vogt, C
Kevin Pillar, CF
Alex Dickerson, LF
Brandon Crawford, SS
Shaun Anderson, P (2-2, 4.08 ERA)

Arizona Diamondbacks (38-40)

Tim Locastro, CF
Ildemaro Vargas, 2B
David Peralta, LF
Adam Jones, RF
Eduardo Escobar, 3B
Christian Walker, 1B
Nick Ahmed, SS
Caleb Joseph, C
Merrill Kelly, P (7-7, 3.99 ERA)