Bay Area Baseball

Follow the latest news and notes on the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics

March 5, 2013
Giants notes: Bumgarner takes it slow, Peguero makes a case, Tanaka renews acquaintance with Dice-K

SCOTTSDALE -- Madison Bumgarner threw 223 1/3 innings between the regular season and playoffs last year in his second full season in the majors. Afterward, the 23-year-old talked with his more veteran rotation mates about how they planned to alter their winter workouts following such a long season.

Bumgarner said he ultimately elected not to throw any bullpen sessions until he arrived in Arizona, just throwing long toss at home instead. For that reason, Bumgarner may still be shaking off some rust this spring as he also hones a two-seam fastball and works on better holding opposing runners.

Bumgarner has thrown 5 2/3 Cactus League innings and allowed 12 baserunners on eight hits and four walks. After his two innings against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday, in which he allowed three hits and a run, Bumgarner said he saw progress in that his command "wasn't quite as erratic."

"Main concern right now is just getting the arm in shape," Bumgarner said. "Maybe if I'm doing this with a week to go I might be getting a little concerned. But right now I feel good. I think the command will start coming."

The longer spring this year gives all pitchers more time to round into shape and manager Bruce Bochy said he isn't concerned about Bumgarner's early outings.

"His arm strength is there," Bochy said. "He's just off with his command."

* Francisco Peguero collected two more hits Tuesday and is batting .550 (11-for-20) on the spring. Peguero also scorched a line drive in the ninth inning of the Giants' 4-3 loss to the Indians that was caught at second base for the first out.

Gregor Blanco and Andres Torres are expected to share time in left field this season, but the Giants may have room for a fifth outfielder, particularly a right-handed bat. Peguero, Brett Pill, Cole Gillespie and left-handed hitting Roger Kieschnick are all candidates.

The good news for all is that with Angel Pagan playing in the WBC and Torres currently sidelined with an oblique injury, they'll have plenty of opportunity to make a case. Bochy said the evaluation process will most likely go until the end of camp.

"It's going to be a tough decision, but (Peguero is) doing what he needs to do," Bochy said. "He's playing well. He's making solid contact."

Peguero, who was nursing a knee injury last spring but played 17 games with the Giants after a late-August call-up, said he came into camp intending to compete for a roster spot.

"I feel ready," Peguero said through an interpreter. "I think I'm playing very well. And I think I'm making a good impression."

Peguero, 24, has played mostly center and right field in the minors. He said he's still getting used to seeing the ball off the bat from left field, but that last year's call-up (8 games in left) and playing there this spring have helped.

* When infielder Kensuke Tanaka stepped in against Indians starter Daisuke Matsuzaka in the first inning, it was the latest chapter in a long history. Tanaka said he first faced Matsuzaka in a high school tournament in Japan when Tanaka was a junior and Matsuzaka, who became a star in Japan before making the jump to MLB, was a senior.

Tanaka, with bullpen catcher Taira Uematsu translating, said he thinks he went 1-for-3 against Matsuzaka in that game. Tuesday, Tanaka singled in his first at-bat and flied out to right in the third inning off Matsuzaka.

"(Matsuzaka) is one of the best pitchers in Japan, so I feel good about it," Tanaka said. "It's going to be a good memory to face him today."

Tanaka also made a couple more nice plays in the field, including a backhanded play on which he threw back across his body to nip speedy Ezequiel Carrera at first. Bochy said Tanaka is clearly getting more comfortable after a rocky start.

Matsuzaka, who was a combined 4-10 for the Red Sox over the past two seasons and is competing for a job in the Indians rotation, threw three shutout innings Tuesday, pitching around five hits.

* Giants reliver Javier Lopez (bruised pitching hand) threw to hitters on a back field Tuesday and could pitch in a game Monday or Tuesday, Bochy said.

* Tim Lincecum (blister on right middle finger) is still on track to pitch Thursday.

* Hunter Pence played eight innings and went 1-for-4 with a single. Bochy said he "wanted to stretch (Pence) out a little."

* Brandons Belt and Crawford each homered. Crawford hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning and Belt a solo shot in the sixth. Belt now has 11 hits in his last 18 at-bats and is batting .480 with three home runs this spring.

* The Indians scored three of their four runs Tuesday on solo homers, including Roberto Perez's ninth-inning shot off Giants right-hander Dan Otero, which proved the game-winner.

-- Matt Kawahara

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About Bay Area Baseball

Matt KawaharaMatt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee’s sports staff in fall 2011.
Phone: (916) 321-1015.
On Twitter: @matthewkawahara.

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