Tagged: Aaron Hill

Injuries and Call Ups

Geez, what a crazy ride it’s been since Madison got injured last Thursday!  I can’t believe how many roster moves have been made.  Some are really sad, but some are super great.  Here’s the list:

  • Chris Marrero was DFA’d. I think we all knew this one was coming as he hadn’t shown the same offense that he did in Spring Training, hitting only .132 in 38 at bats.
  • To replace Marrero (and set off a firecracker under this team), the Giants succumbed to all the pressure and brought up Christian Arroyo from Triple A. This is the move I am most excited about, and I’m sure everyone else is as well.  Management kept saying they wanted to wait for him to have a full year at Triple A, but I guess that just goes to show you how desperate they were to change things up with our dismal start.  He’s playing at third so he can feel comfortable in the bigs, and Eduardo Nunez has been moved out to left field.  Christian’s played in two games so far, and though his bat hasn’t been super hot yet (give the kid some time), he has gotten his first hit (and against Clayton Kershaw no less – nice story he’ll have to tell for the rest of his life), and he did hit a ball in his first game to move Brandon Crawford to third, allowing him to eventually score.  Plus he’s shown some defensive prowess, even throwing out Yasmani Grandal at first after his hit ricocheted off of Matt Cain, sending him to the ground for a front row seat on the play.  I love that the kid went over and picked Cain up!  He’s also got the gift of gab – what Duane Kuiper calls the “6th tool”.  In his post-game interview with Amy G. he told the story of getting called up and just wouldn’t stop!  Amy didn’t have to say anything!  I am so looking forward to what this kid can do for us.
  • Aaron Hill was put on the DL with a right forearm strain. Again, probably won’t see much affect from this because his numbers weren’t that great so far.
  • Denard Span made an amazing catch in the outfield this week, but ended up crashing into a wall and suffering a shoulder sprain. At first he wasn’t put on the DL, but now his shoulder’s been acting up so he was today.  Man, that catch was beautiful!
  • To fill in at center field, Drew Stubbs was called up. He’s played in the last two games and hasn’t logged a hit yet, but he’s done a great job in center field.  We’ll have to see if his bat warms up.
  • Then today, since Span was put on the DL, my boy Michael Morse was called up. YAY!!!!  It happened!!  He made it!!  What a true fantasy this is for this guy.  To think it all started with a conversation with Bobby Evans at Hunter Pence’s wedding.  I bet Hunter is thrilled to have his buddy back.  Can’t wait to see them together in the dugout tonight (though he is not in the lineup).  Hope Michael can bring some pop back to this team.  According to Andrew Baggarly, Morse will help off the bench and start occasionally at first base.  Welcome back, Michael!!  Can’t wait to hear Take On Me again!
  • Chris Stratton was called up to fill the spot left by Madison’s departure. He pitched three innings in relief of Matt Moore in the game where Matt got lit up by the Rockies, and he did an amazing job.  He didn’t allow a hit, allowed only one walk, and tallied 3 strikeouts.  I am really excited about this kid.  He also shows great poise and confidence on the mound.  Looking forward to seeing more of him (and not really sure why he hasn’t come into a game since – maybe since he pitched 3 innings and that’s a lot for a reliever?).
  • Brandon Crawford is on bereavement leave for the next three days so that he can attend services for his sister in law. Apparently the minimum you can take off for such things is three days.  He only needed two, but as it turns out he suffered a groin injury in yesterday’s game and may even end up on the DL when he gets back.  I sure hope not.  I’m so tired of documenting injuries on this team so far!  There are enough guys out!
  • Kelby Tomlinson was called up today to provide some infield help while Brandon’s out. So glad he’s back.  I love that guy and I’m hoping to see a lot of him this season.
  • Finally Matt Cain injured his hamstring in his stellar performance on Monday night. It was so sad that he had to leave after 6 innings while he had been doing so well.  The guy’s numbers for this season are just crazy and so unexpected.  He’s the ace so far this season, with a 2.42 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in the 4 games he’s pitched.  Who would have thunk?  Thankfully, the x-ray results on the hamstring injury came back negative so he avoided a major injury, but we’ll have to see if he is able to make his next scheduled start.  If not, maybe they can put Stratton in – I love that guy!

 

I know you’ve all been waiting with baited breath, but your wait is now over.  I have the first spit count of the season for you!  Here you go:

April 22nd

Giants:

  • Gillaspie 6
  • Bochy 4 (all seeds)
  • Nunez 3 (2 of these were seeds)
  • Moore 2
  • Stratton 2
  • Span 1
  • Belt 1
  • Posey 1
  • Reyes 1
  • Meulens 1 (seeds)
  • Panik 1
  • Marrero 1

Rockies:

  • Arenado 4
  • Reynolds 4
  • Story 4
  • LeMahieu 3
  • Senzatela 2
  • Cardullo 2
  • Blackmon 1

Misc.:

  • Umpire (Rob Drake) 14 !!!!!
  • Fan 1
  • Fan 1

Game Spit Master General = Drake at 14

Giants Game Spit Master General = Gillaspie at 6

That’s a total of 60 spits during a 3 hour game for an average of 1 spit every 3 minutes.

At first I thought this was the first time an umpire won out as the Game Spit Master General.  Then I seemed to recall the name of said umpire – Rob Drake.  I looked it up, and indeed he was the Game Spit Master General for the game on August 24th, 2012!  And during that game, he logged a whopping 40 spits!  So at least he’s calmed it down a bit!  I kept noticing him lifting his mask and finally realized he was doing it to expel saliva.  Sheesh!  Why does an umpire need to spit??  These were the first fan spits logged in a while – two different guys.  Really??  Matt Moore wins the award for most disgusting spit – one of his ended up mostly on his face, and he wiped it away with his glove!  Blech!  Also noticed during this game that Moore is also a snot rocket launcher – he launched 3 today.  Kudos to Neil Ramirez today – he may have given up 6 runs in one inning during this game (including walking one in), but he didn’t get caught spitting once!  Hoping he keeps up the non-spitting this season (and keeps guys off the bases while doing it).

Going to leave today with a question:  Why does Nick Hundley only wear one shoulder protector behind the plate?  It’s over his right shoulder.  Check it out next time he’s in the lineup.  Anybody have a clue?  Please leave a comment if you know why.  Going to the game on Saturday with my entire family – all 11 of us!  So excited to get to my first game.  The giveaway that day is the two flaps down hat, so I’m hoping to get a picture of all of us together wearing it!  Also hoping that we can take these next two games against the Dodgers.  My boys always seem to rise to the occasion against their arch rivals.  They won Monday, and even though they lost yesterday, they did battle and keep it close (and it was Kershaw after all).  Plus Ty Blach did an amazing job – what a relief that we can count on this kid to get us out of a jam.  Will be cheering them on tonight from my living room.  Come on boys!  You can do it!  Bring us some energy in the clubhouse, Michael!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!  BEAT LA!!

PLAY BALL!!

Tomorrow’s the day we’ve all been waiting for!  The baseball drought is over!  It’s time to play ball again!  The National Anthem, hot dogs, the crack of the bat, the cheers, the crazy outfits, the kiss cam, Kruk and Kuip, Tony singing, and my boys in their real Giants uniforms are all back!  The Giants start off their season in Arizona playing the D-Backs – Bumgarner vs. Greinke.  I am thrilled that I can watch my boys regularly again.  Tomorrow’s game will be extra special with all the opening day ceremonies – love ALL of it!!  Planning on spending the entire afternoon in front of the tube on the couch enjoying my boys and the official start of the 2017 season.  That reminds me – I have to get my Beat the Streak picks in!  Wonder which one of my boys matches up well against Greinke.  Hmmmmm… it says Buster, Eduardo Nunez, and Nick Hundley all have batting averages above .300 against him.  Gotta love that!!  Maybe I’ll start my first streak of the season off by picking Buster!  Are you all going to be watching along with me?

I wanted to see what the final 25-man roster is, but it hasn’t been updated on the sfgiants.com site yet.  I found an article that says they are still making some last-minute tweaks.  It did answer a question about who will be the 5th starter, though.  Matt Cain has earned that job over rookie Ty Blach, though Blach will be on the 25-man roster as a long relief option.  He may also see some time as a lefty specialist since the team lost Will Smith to a season ending elbow injury.  Kelby Tomlinson, Albert Suarez, and Josh Osich were optioned to Triple A.  The five backup position players will be Nick Hundley (catcher), Conor Gillaspie (infield), Gorkys Hernandez (outfield), Aaron Hill (infield), and the surprise of the Spring, Chris Marrero.  Marrero can play in the outfield or also at first base.  Marrero wowed his way onto the team with his power bat – he finished tied for second in homeruns this spring in all of baseball.  His defense is a little lacking, but I am so excited to see some pop in the lineup.  He will form a platoon in left field with Jarrett Parker who also showed promise in the spring.  Marrerro’s kind of similar to Michael Morse – not the greatest defender, but a powerful bat.  And though my boy Michael Morse will not be on the 25-man roster due to an injury he sustained during spring training, there is talk that he will be rehabbing in an attempt at possibly joining the team later in the season.  He also had a great spring and impressed the big wigs enough that they are still considering him.  So very happy for him!  Do your work and get back with us soon, Michael!  Hunter misses you!  Once Morse or Mac Williamson are healthy again, they would probably replace Marrero in the outfield (unless Marrero gets super hot – you never know!).

Had a fantastic time at Spring Training in Arizona last month.  I went with my brothers Nick and Paul and my sister Kathleen.  We always have a great time on our trips because we’re all pretty mellow and just go with the flow.  We watched 3 games in 4 days – all away games.  I actually plan our trips that way because away games are so much cheaper.  It’s always fun to watch the new kids and see the old familiar faces.  And being in a ballpark again is always fabulous!  We went to Surprise for the first time this year, and the ball park was really nice – a bit further out than most but not too bad.  I have to say that I’ve really liked all the Spring Training ballparks we’ve ever been to.  Besides Scottsdale Stadium, my favorite is Salt River Fields at Talking Stick (plus I love that name!).  We watched the Giants play the D-Backs there this year (a preview of tomorrow’s game).  Gregor Blanco started for the D-Backs – it was so nice to see him out there, even if it wasn’t for the Giants.  He did really well in that game, and he does have a minor league deal with them, but he won’t be starting in the bigs due to a strained oblique.  Hope he heals quickly so he can join the team – love that guy and wish him all the best.  Besides games this year, we also adventured to a couple of new spots in Arizona – South Mountain Park and Papago Park.  We drove to the top of South Mountain Park and enjoyed the spectacular view of the Phoenix area and beautiful dessert.  At Papago Park, we climbed up a mountain with a hole in it (the climb was really mild – I’m not a climber – but the view was great).  I recommend both places if you are ever there.  We were lucky to stumble upon them.

One fun thing to do is to sample the food in these parks.  It’s almost like being in the team’s real park foodwise because many of the parks carry the signature food from their team’s home park.  We got to sample two ballpark delicacies on this trip.  At Salt River Fields, we tried the signature hot dog of the Diamondbacks.  It’s called a Mega Dog – a huge hot dog covered in pulled pork and jalapeno mac and cheese – fantastic!  Then at Goodyear Ballpark, I got to try the signature food of the Cincinnati Reds – a Skyline Chili Coney Dog.  It was a hot dog smothered in Skyline Chili (famous in Cincinnati – we had it there on our trip in 2012) with onions and cheese.  It was really small, but really tasty.

The highlight of my trip this year was the single autograph I got.  At the first game we went to I just missed getting Hunter Pence’s autograph.  I noticed him signing and moved over to where he was, but by the time I got there he had to leave.  He was being so patient and friendly and signing for so many people.  I figured I had missed my chance for that trip.  Then two days later, I was lucky enough to actually be standing close to the area where he came over to sign autographs.  As he was signing, I asked him, “Are you happy to be playing with your buddy Michael (Morse) again?”  He gave me this big smile and said, “Very happy!  Great things happen when we get together!”  And luckily he eventually made his way over to me and signed my journal!  YAY!!  It was so adorable because I noticed it was taking him a while to sign.  Then he said, “I’m trying to draw you a smiley face!”  And thank goodness he told me that because I wouldn’t have known what it was otherwise!  LOL!  He’s such a cutie pie!

Congrats to Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey, and Mark Melancon (even though he didn’t play much) on their World Baseball Classic championship!  Sounds like all three had a blast playing in that series.  I know that there were a lot of comparisons to the All-Star game, but it was even nicer for them because they actually got to build a relationship with their teammates over several games, not just one.  It’s kind of more like the Olympics in that sense.  It was very nice for Brandon to be in the national spotlight, even being mentioned by the announcers as a possible WBC MVP candidate.  I had a lot of fun watching the games and enjoying the different ways different countries play and enjoy the game of baseball.  Those Japanese fans really get into it, even coming up with different songs for each of the different players!  And the Latin celebrations are fantastic!  Bottom line, though – really glad no one got hurt!!

Melancon reminds me that I have two new questions from Angel to answer.  The first is about the pronunciation of Mark Melancon’s name.  Angel wonders why you pronounce the c like an s.  I assumed it’s because it’s French.  I looked it up, and it is a French name.  The c is actually ç (cedilla), and it is pronounced like s.  Melancon is the Americanized version since we don’t have that letter in our alphabet.  Another interesting thing I discovered about the name Melancon – it means “an ill man”.  Why in the world did that first Melancon choose that as their last name???  Angel was also curious about how they select the managers for the WBC teams.  Well, I couldn’t find an outright answer to this question, but I did find out that no manager currently working in the Major Leagues can head a WBC team, although coaches are potential candidates if they are given permission from their individual clubs.  That’s why Hensley Meulens was able to manage the Netherlands team.  And Jim Leyland could manage the US team because he’s retired.  If anyone else has any insight into this question, please help Angel out.  Thanks!

Saw my first intentional walk of the season on Friday (well, preseason anyway).  Brandon Crawford was intentionally walked.  Bob Melvin, manager of the A’s, simply held up four fingers to the umpire and that was that.  One second Brandon was warming up swinging the bat and the next he was on first.  I don’t like it!!  Angel and I were texting about how much we hated it.  Oh well – I guess that’s what we’ll be seeing this season.  Even Kruk and Kuip mentioned how weird it was.  BOOO!!

There will be some new pre and post-game analysts at Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area (soon to be NBC Sports Bay Area – why do they have to change things???) this season, and I’m really excited about the additions.  Besides Javier Lopez, Matt Williams and Cody Ross will be joining the team.  I was surprised about Matt Williams because I thought he was still a manager somewhere, but I guess not.  So glad he’ll be talking about my boys.  And who doesn’t love Cody Ross??  Look forward to seeing that great smile again!

Will end today on a silly note.  I heard a crazy story about the Giants on KNBR the other day, on the Tolbert and Lund show.  Those two guys make me laugh out loud all the time!  Anyway, they were talking about how the Giants have full-time sports scientists on their medical staff.  They can use all sorts of cutting edge gadgets to make sure that the players are working at their optimum capacity.  Well, one of the areas they are interested in is proper hydration.  I can see how this would be a good thing, and I would imagine that good hydration could give the players and the team a competitive edge.  It’s just the way they are going about it is pretty hysterical.  They measure the player’s hydration by measuring their urine specific gravity.  Of course, this is accomplished by taking a urine sample, and it’s taken before batting practice.  The testing is 100% voluntary, but in order to get guys to buy into this, they’ve turned good hydration into a competition – the best hydrated player after every series wins a coveted prize.  That prize is a golden urinal trophy!  Check it out!!  And I love the Twitter quote: “Think of it as the M-V-Pee trophy!”  HAHAHAHAHA!!!!  What would you do with that thing if you won it??

Hope that the boys can carry the momentum of an A’s sweep with them to Arizona.  So looking forward to all the pomp and circumstance of an Opening Day game.  I should go out and buy some hot dogs just to feel like I’m there!  Come on, Boys!  Show us what you’ve got!  We’ll be cheering for you!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!  PLAY BALL!!

Play Ball!! (Sort Of)

Baseball’s back!!  Well, at least baseball training is!!  I can even watch games on TV again!  In case you’re interested and dying to get that baseball fix as much as I am, here’s a link to the broadcast schedule (both TV and radio) for the Giants Spring Training games.  I’ll definitely be watching that Giants vs. Dodgers game on Wednesday.  Maybe we’ll even get a view of Romo with his new teammates (UGH!!).

Yes.  We knew he probably wasn’t going to be a Giant this season, but now we know Sergio Romo will be wearing Dodger blue.  Sigh.  It is going to be really tough to watch him play in that uniform, joking around with the likes of Adrian Gonzalez and (choke) Yasiel Puig, but I can’t really blame him for making that choice.  When I first heard, I was pretty upset, but then I heard about a text he sent to Paulie “Mac” McCaffrey of KNBR.   Here’s a link to it.  Sergio made it clear that he has no ill will and is moving to the Dodgers for family reasons.  He grew up a Dodgers fan, his dad is still a Dodgers fan, his family lives in the area, and frankly, they offered him a job.  He still wants to work, and the Giants didn’t come a calling.  He turned down some offers from East Coast teams, but that’s understandable coming from a guy who puts his family first and has young children.  I always hate it when my boys go to that team, but I understand.  Come game time, though, he ain’t going to be getting any cheers from me!!  Thanks for all you did for us, Sergio.  You (and “El Mechon”) will definitely be missed!

It’s also been confirmed that Javier Lopez will not be a Giant and that he is retiring from playing baseball.  Thankfully, he’ll still be hanging around and will be announcing some games along with Jeremy Affeldt.  This comes as Mike Krukow will have a lighter workload this season due to his medical issues.  Can’t think of a better replacement – Javi is a natural and will fit right in.  He’s also supposed to help out at Spring Training as a special instructor.  Looking forward to hearing him in the booth (and the craziness that will ensue when he and Jeremy get together!).

Another former Giants reliever, Brian Wilson, is trying to make a comeback.  This time, he’s trying to make it as a knuckleballer.  He hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2014 when he played for the Dodgers (Yeah – remember the World Series ring fiasco with Larry Baer?  Still hate the guy for that.).  And he must be serious because he even shaved off his beard.  I had forgotten how cute his face was under that thing!  Here’s a pic of his clean-shaven face.  Whatever.  You have to admit, the guy is entertaining I guess.  We’ll see if he can make his way back onto a team or not.

I’ve got some more Spring Training tidbits for you.  Our beloved Cody Ross is also helping out the Giants in Arizona this season.  I love that guy – he’s always so happy.  Glad he’s coming back.  The Giants signed Gordon Beckham to a minor league deal.  If that name sounds familiar it’s because he played in 3 games for the Giants at the end of last season.  Guess they’re going to give him a chance again this year.  Plus they are also giving Aaron Hill a chance to compete for a spot, signing him to a minor league deal as well.  Hill batted .262 between the Brewers and the Red Sox last season, but he floundered near the end of the season and found himself up for grabs.  The list of guys competing for infield utility spots now stands at 8 (Kelby Tomlinson, Jae-gyun Hwang, Orlando Calixte, Conor Gillaspie, Jimmy Rollins, Aaron Hill, Gordon Beckham, and Juniel Querecuto – thanks for this list, Grant Brisbee).  That dugout sure must be crowded!  How stressful it must be to know you have to beat out that many guys to earn a spot on the team.  Guess that’s part of why they make the big bucks.

I learned a fun fact about how Michael Morse ended up in Spring Training camp this season.  It was due to a bit of crazy serendipity.  He was at Hunter Pence’s wedding (of course he was there because those two have a major bromance going on), and he happened to run into Giants general manager Bobby Evans there.  During a casual conversation with Evans, Morse mentioned that he felt he still had something to offer as a reserve player, to which Evans responded, “Well, if you don’t think you’re done, why don’t you come to camp?”  WHAT???  Isn’t that crazy???  And Morse said that he wouldn’t want to play for any other team than the Giants.  I love that boy!  Hoping, hoping, hoping I get to see him at Spring Training.

Has anyone else been wondering what the heck happened to Jake Peavy?  I hadn’t heard a word about whether the Giants were pursuing him or if he had been picked up by another team until last week.  It turns out the poor guy has had some horrible luck lately.  Not only was he the victim of a Ponzi scam last season that bilked him of millions of dollars, but he also came home after the 2016 post-season and was greeted by divorce papers from his wife of 15 years.  Harsh!  Understandably, he’s decided he needs a break to be there for his kids at this difficult time in their lives, so he’s not planning on playing for a team right now.  I feel so bad for the guy.  I hope everything works out.  He hopes that once things settle down he may be able to help out some team near the end of the season.  Wishing you all the best, Jake.  Hang in there.

There are a couple of new rules that baseball is considering in order to speed things up, and frankly I’m not a fan of either.  The first is a change to the intentional walk.  Pitchers would no longer have to throw any pitches to do this – the bench would simply signal to the umpire that the batter is being intentionally walked.  I think this stinks.  If you are going to walk someone, you need to walk them.  That’s 4 pitches the pitcher is being saved – not fair!  Plus it’s always exciting when something crazy happens during an intentional walk, like a passed ball or an actual connection by the batter.  And seriously, how much time is this going to save?  Another rule that’s being tossed about really makes me angry.  In order to speed up games that go into extra innings, a runner would be placed on second base at the start of the inning.  They are actually trying this out in the low minors this year.  I hate this in so many ways.  Who is that runner going to be?  How is that runner going to affect the pitcher’s stats?  And with both teams getting that runner, how is it going to change anything??  I still think if you want to speed up the game, cut off a couple of innings!!  And apparently, Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins agrees that it’s something to consider.  Check out some of the other ideas that came out of an interview during Spring Training Media Day in Florida.  What do you think?  Personally, I say just leave the game I love alone!

I’ll end by mentioning what a fantastic time I had at Giants FanFest two weeks ago.  The lines definitely seemed a bit shorter this year – Ginny and I got to the park at about 7 am and we were right up in the front of the line.  We got into the KNBR Q&A session with Bruce Bochy, Bobby Evans, and new closer Mark Melancon, we got lots of goodies from vendors down on the field, we watched our boys being interviewed down on the field, we walked on the field (Ginny got to stand where Brandon does at short) and in the dugout, we went to The Garden in center field (Ginny’s first time), we got to get close to lots of my boys signing autographs, and we toured the Press Box.  We also got to talk to many of the wonderful AT&T Park staff members – they’re always so friendly and helpful.  But the highlight of my day was when I got to take a picture with my boy Eli Whiteside as he was walking from one autograph booth to another.  What luck!  And what a thrill!  Thanks for having the peace of mind to stop him for a photo with me, Ginny!  I owe you big time!  Just being in that park always makes my day wonderful!  Heading off to Spring Training in less than two weeks – can’t wait to see my boys up close and personal again!  Hopefully I can update you on some of the kids in camp next time.  Have to start learning those names.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!  BEAT LA ON WEDNESDAY!!