Tuesday, February 26, 2008

One More Day Until The Games Begin

Very nice day today. The temperature was predicted to be higher than it has been since before Thanksgiving. As I write this, I sit in shorts and a t-shirt in front of the open sliding door and the thermometer says the weatherman was right....77 on the nose. Finally, "typical" Spring Training weather returns to Scottsdale.

After stretching and running the Giants split into groups with the outfielders taking flyballs, the thirdbasemen taking groundballs and the firstbasemen practicing fielding short hops. At the same time, the catchers were practicing fielding popups fired from a pitching machine pointed straight up. Additional drills of some sort were going on at the practice field.

After the infield drills the players had one round of BP (with coaches throwing). Nate Schierholtz was the HR king today with three. Fred Lewis had two. Aaron Rowand, Daniel Ortmeier and Eliezer Alfonzo each had one. More and more each day the crack of the bats are growing louder and louder as the players look more and more comfortable at the plate. As they were finishing the 4th BP group, I concluded this must be another short day as it looked like everything was going to be over by about 11:20. I was happily wrong about that.

After batting practice, the team all gathered between the mound and 2B as the coaches explained something to them. The players then broke up into two "teams" with each going to a different dugout. They played a sort of simulated game, where Shawon Dunston and Dave Righetti pitched while a full defensive team (including pitchers) made the plays on balls batted by the opposing team. It wasn't a true game, because the coaches manipulated the situations so that every possible baserunning situation was covered and pitchers got a chance to bunt a little. There really was only one LONG inning, instead of the teams going from offense to defense every 3 outs. One team batted for 20 or so outs while the other team fielded. Then they switched places. Every position player on each team got at least 1 AB with a few getting 2. The coaches gave both offensive and defensive signs to add to the realism.

There were no HRs on either side. The biggest blow of the day was a triple to deep CF off the bat of that noted speedster........Pablo Sandoval. Even though it was technically batting practice, both Dunston and Righetti threw quite a bit harder than normal BP. Even so, there was only 1 strikeout by a position player. In his first AB, Aaron Rowand struck out swinging.

Each team "scored" several runs.......but I'm not sure which team scored the most. As they left the field to end the day......players from both sides were arguing over who "won". The "game" was a very spirited affair with a lot of ragging and chatter coming from both dugouts. It was great to see something resembling a game after all of these months.

As I noted in the photo captions, Benjie Molina took BP but did not participate in the other drills or in the simulated game. Omar Vizquel was absent, which had me fearing for the condition of his sore knee. When I returned to the condo, my fears were confirmed as I learned Omar will have knee surgery and will be out 4-5 weeks. They claim Frandsen will work out more at SS....which means that Durham has won the 2B job (if he hadn't before reporting to camp) and lord knows who will be playing 3B. Scott McClain was taking BP with the big boys and I assume this injury will allow him to get more playing time this spring (absent a trade). It also should allow Eugenio Velez and Ivan Ochoa a little longer look-see. All in all....not a good thing. Omar needed this spring to get his batting stroke back.

It felt so good sitting in the sun watching almost real baseball, that I just had to go over to my pre and post game haunt...the Blue Moose for a beer and a sandwich after practice. Hey the fans have to get into regular season "playing" form too.

Well, thats about it for today. Tomorrow is supposed to be a 4 inning intra-squad game. This time a REAL game with live pitching and 3 outs per inning. I am told that they will be bringing a few pitchers over from the Minor League camp to do most of the pitching. The rationale is that the Giants have split squad games on Friday (the second day of ST games) and they will need all of their Major League pitchers for that. That's OK by me. I am looking forward to seeing some of the lower Minor League kids pitch. I'm getting a little tired of photographing the same guys day after day anyway.

By the way...the predicted high for the first Spring Training game on Thursday??? An even 80 degrees. I may just have to drink a beer or two on Thursday too.


Trevor said...

Any word on what minor league arms will throw? It would be interesting to see Henry Sosa go vs. the big club. Also would like to see Kelvin Pichardo and Sergio Romo after what he did in the fall.

Giantfan9 said...

Nope......haven't heard a word about who will be throwing.

Mike said...

How has Richie been looking? I'm real interested in this new 3b/SS development going on now that Omar is down for a bit. Bochy has stated that Frandsen will play SS, but it would be great to see Burris or Valez get a chance at 3B.

Giantfan9 said...

Richie is Richie. He looks pretty good at the plate and pretty good in the field. He has been taking most of his infield at 3B......including today.

If Burriss was to make the team (not going to happen) he would be your SS and Frandsen would be back to 3B/2B.

phil said...

Sosa is out until the middle of April with surgery on his left knee.

GF9, Do you have any pics of Velez batting?

Anonymous said...

With Omar out for a little while, do you think McClain or Leone could get a shot somewhere?

Giantfan9 said...

Possibly on Leone and McClain. Certainly they will get a better look-see this spring.

Problem is you would have to clear roster spots for them to make the team. And...between the 2 of them..they are almost 67 years old. Bringing up 2 guys this age as essentially rookies is hardly "getting younger".

Anonymous said...

I just noticed Randy and Ray STILL not in their jerseys!!


Anonymous said...

Hank, are you going to get a chance to go over to Indian School?

If Justin or Ronnie Ray make it to any of the split squad games, please snap a couple of pics for me if you can!!

I miss Scottsdale like crazy.


Giantfan9 said...

Randy yes......But that's not Ray in the photo. That is a coach. Ray isn't quite that heavy. Ray has been wearing his jersey ever since I pointed out the day he was the only one not wearing it.

Giantfan9 said...

GRMG.....you know me......I love the kids.....but if it comes down to Minor vs Major League.....Major League wins every time. So I will stick with Scottsdale Stadium vs. Indian School Park.

Giantfan9 said...

GRMG....as an aside, I was talking with one of the security guys from the Minor League camp today (2-27-08). He said there are 150 players in camp as of today and they are expecting a total of 175 tomorrow!!!

They just remodeled the Minor League facility at Indian School Park last year......and he says they are already dressing two players to a locker! That has to be CROWDED!

I feel real badly for our boy Justin. The reduction of the size of the Major League camp has really adversely affected these guys.