Giants Spring Training - Day 11

Giants Spring Training - Day 11

Giants Spring Training - Day 11

Barry Zito is such a tease.

Some days he looks like the Cy Young award winner the Giants thought they were getting in 2007. Other days, he looks like…well, Barry Zito.

Today was one of those good days for Zeets. It was his turn to throw live batting practice and, according to Andrew Baggarly of Comcast SportsNet, he looked pretty dang good.

Was hitting his spots. Broke a couple of bats, Baggs says. Zito’s supposedly using his legs more when he throws and is getting a little more umph in his pitches.

Granted, this is spring training, and the pitchers are still ahead of the hitters at this point.

Not to mention we’ve seen this before from the 33-year-old. As recently as last year, when Zito was on the disabled list after turning his ankle in a game on April 16, the left-hander was making his way back up the system, pitching in a few rehab assignments at San Jose (A) and Fresno (AAA).

During those stints, he went a combined 4-1 with a 2.54 ERA and 0.897 WHIP in six starts. And for a fleeting moment, fans were reminded of the Zito who went 23-5 with a 2.75 ERA in 2002 for the Oakland A’s.

That’s the thing with Zito. He can look awfully good (throwing live BP or pitching against minor leaguers)…or he can look just plain awful. Like he did back on July 16 when my family and I were down in San Diego and saw him implode at Petco Park. On that day, Zito lasted just 3.2 innings and allowed 8 earned runs as the Giants fell hard to the Padres, 11-3. It was one of the few times in my life that I left a game before the 7th inning.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Barry put together a solid and consistent season in 2012? Imagine…or fantasize…for a moment. Barry Zito winning 12 to 15 games. Sporting an earned run average in the threes. Striking out more batters than he walks. And earning that $126 million dollar contract just a little…

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In other spring training news today…

If Brett Pill wants to make the big league team out of camp, not only will he have to show he belongs by putting up eye-popping numbers at the plate this spring, he’ll have to show he can fill in at other positions. With a Aubrey Huff, Brandon Belt and even Buster Posey creating a logjam at first base, Pill (who played exclusively at first base last year in San Fran) might be able to stick with the club by showing his prowess at other spots in the field.

In 690 minor league games, Pill has logged just six games at third base, with 57 games at second, 2 in left field, and 625 at first.

Today, San Jose Mercury News writer Alex Pavlovic reported that the 27-year old Pill took some grounders at the hot corner.

This just a day after Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval took some grounders at first base.

That’s gotta be good news for Pill. This much is certain: It’s becoming a virtual merry-go-round on the field at Scottsdale Stadium this spring, just like manager Bruce Bochy likes it.

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A few of you have commented that my recent stories about Aaron Rowand and Cody Ross bad-mouthing the Giants are out of context.

I disagree.

When a player leaves a team, he has the choice of taking ownership of his performance and his words. Good or bad.

An example of a former player who has (so far) chosen to keep his words about the Giants few is Andres Torres.

Like Rowand and Ross, Torres regressed in 2011. Badly. He could have blamed it on AT&T Park’s dimensions (like Rowand did) or found some reason to publicly accuse Giants management of lying (like Ross did). But instead, Torres has been going about his post-Giants life humbly.

In an interview with Mike Kerwick of the New Jersey Record, Torres took full ownership for his lackluster 2011 season. “Last year, I was battling injuries…But this year I feel a lot better.”

Nothing about being shuffled in and out of the lineup. Or questioning why he wasn’t even in the lineup.

Nope. Torres owned up to it completely. He had an injury. It affected his play. The Giants had nothing to do with it.

Just the straight dope.

But then I wouldn’t expect anything less of Yungo.

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Speaking of former Giants, Bengie Molina (who has retired from baseball) said today that he hopes to coach. And he was in Tempe, Ariz. to start the process.

Molina showed up at the Los Angeles Angels’ spring camp as a guest instructor and hopes to follow in the footsteps of other big league catchers who’ve become coaches or managers, like a couple of his former bosses, Bruce Bochy and Mike Scioscia.

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Giants broadcaster Dave Flemming became the first dude in the booth to finally jump on the Twitter bandwagon, according to Baggarly. Flemming (@FlemmingDave) already has over two thousand followers on his first day in the Twitterverse.

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According to San Jose Giants play-by-play man Joe Ritzo, Giants shortstop-of-the-future Joe Panik will likely start the season in San Jose (Single-A). In case you still don’t know who Panik is, you can read about the 21-year-old here (where I ranked him No. 2 on my “22 San Francisco Giants Prospects You Need To Know” list back in November).

Former Giants skipper Moises Alou, who is now a special assistant for the Giants, really likes the kid a lot, saying he’s one of the best young hitters he’s ever seen. “I’ve never seen him swing and miss,” Alou told reporters today. “It’s ridiculous.”

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How’s this for pathetic? Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told reporters today that he thinks the Dodgers and Angels are a lot like the Mets and Yankees. And no matter what the Mets do, the Yankees are THE team in New York.

Then, after praising the friggin’ Rally Monkey, he goes on to say, “At the end of the day, the Dodgers are the Dodgers.”

Was Mattingly admitting that the Angels are L.A.’s version of the Yankees?

Or was he trying to say the Dodgers are? Because—newsflash, Donny—they’re not.

Either way, it’s a bit puzzling to me. I mean, I know the Dodgers are getting closer and closer to finding a new owner, but does this diatribe sound like the mutterings of someone who’s desperately wanting to show his worth to whomever takes over the stinkin’ Doyers?

I didn’t think so.

But this is Mattingly we’re talking about. The same cat who got cheesed by Bochy in a game two seasons ago, when the Giants skipper ratted Mattingly out for visiting the mound twice in one trip to the hill. A move that eventually helped the Giants beat the Dodgers in the ninth inning. (You can reminisce about the infamous Mattingly U-turn here.)

God, I hope they keep you, Donny.

Be sure to check out other great articles at 22Gigantes.

Wednesday, 29 Feb 2012

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  • EvelynSeth said: The training day will be good. We should be doing a fine job with that one. - Eric Ludy 6:45PM 04/28/14
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