Bay Area Baseball

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

March 9, 2013
Giants notes: Lopez debuts, fans stick out an 'ugly' one

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Reliever Javier Lopez threw one inning in the Giants' 13-2 loss to the Royals today, facing six batters in his first appearance this spring. Lopez has been recovering from a bruise on the back of his pitching hand.

"I remembered where the mound was, so that's a start," Lopez joked afterward. "I felt OK. Throwing strikes, so that's positive -- just being able to throw all my offspeed over the plate. Definitely felt like the first time out there for a while."

It certainly had been a while. Lopez's last outing came in Game 7 of the NLCS, when he was on the mound with rain pouring down just before the Giants clinched their trip to the World Series.

Lopez said it normally takes him about six spring outings to feel season-ready -- a very attainable number with three weeks left in March. He allowed a run on three singles Saturday and had two strikeouts. Oddly for the sidewinding lefty, the two Kansas City left-handers he faced both singled, while the strikeouts came against right-handed hitters.

"Change of pace," Lopez said.

Lopez had been scheduled to pitch Friday against the Dodgers until rain ended that game in the second inning. It might have been fitting, though, had the Giants run him out there before the game was called, what with conditions being just like his last outing.

Lopez memorably got two outs in the ninth of Game 7 against the Cardinals but issued two walks in the rain, leading Bruce Bochy to bring Sergio Romo in to record the rain-soaked final out.

"Trust me, I thought about that (Friday)," Lopez said. "I was going to try something new out there. Maybe cover up the ball."

* The Giants announced a crowd of 11,647 for today's game against the Royals. Even on a chilly, overcast day, many of them stayed until the bitter end of a game that saw Kansas City out-hit the Giants, 20-4. That mark was actually 16-0 before Gregor Blanco broke up the no-hitter with a triple in the sixth.

"That's as ugly a game as we've had this spring," Bochy said. "(The fans) hung around and kept pulling for their boys."

Royals starter Yordano Ventura pitched three scoreless innings with three strikeouts and ran his fastball up into the high 90s. Bochy said Ventura, a right-handed prospect, was the "best arm we've seen this spring."

"I don't know if you're ever ready for 99 (mph), but I know they weren't today," Bochy said of the Giants' hitters.

Yusmeiro Petit, competing for a bullpen role, started for the Giants and gave up nine hits and eight runs in 1 2/3 innings.

"He was off," Bochy said. "Couldn't get the ball down."

* Brandon Belt hit his fourth home run of the spring in the seventh inning. Belt also drew a walk and is batting .467 in the Cactus League.

* Some of the lesser-used Giants will play a B-game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday morning on a back field at Salt River Fields. The loose format lets the teams get extra work for players who haven't gotten into many games this season. The lineup for the Giants will look like this:

CF Brown
2B Bond
RF Kieschnick
1B Oropesa
3B Duvall
C Monell
LF Perez
SS Adrianza
DH Williams

SP Heston

Also scheduled to pitch for the Giants is left-hander Michael Kickham. Bochy said he'll be at the 10 a.m. game, which gives him time to get to Maryvale for the Giants' 1:05 p.m. game against the Brewers. For those of you who follow these things live, remember that Arizona doesn't observe Daylight Savings Time, so starting tomorrow 1 p.m. here is the same as 1 p.m. in California.

-- 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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