Yes, I’ll take some peanuts and Cracker Jack. Oh, and throw in a cup of that lemonade like Grandma made.
Pitches were thrown, batters swung sticks, and umpires growled at strikes. Even if it was just a three-inning intrasquad game, baseball was back today at Scottsdale Stadium.
The Giants put together two teams—Team Dunston (led by Shawon) and Team Snow (led by J.T.)—and reminded us fans why we are so, so into this game.
Fans were let into the stadium free of charge and, sure, there were mostly guys you never heard of playing ball but—did I mention?—it was baseball being played? (If anything, it was a great opportunity for fans to see the Giants prospects up close and personal.)
Team Dunston’s lineup was comprised of leadoff hitter Emmanuel Burris (2b), who was followed by Justin Christian (cf), Brandon Belt (1b), Chris Dominguez (3b), Brandon Crawford (DH), Gregor Blanco (rf), Andrew Susac (c), Tyler Graham (lf), and Ehire Adrianza (ss).
Meanwhile, Team Snow had Gary Brown (cf) leading off, followed by Joe Panik (2b), Tommy Joseph (c), Brett Pill (1b), Roger Kieschnick (rf), Conor Gillaspie (3b), Juan Perez (lf), Joaquin Arias (DH), and Nick Noonan (2b).
On the mound today were youngsters Jake Dunning, Seth Rosin, Mitch Lively, Austin Fleet, and Shawn Sanford.
The Dunston team didn’t waste any time getting on the scoreboard, scoring three times in the top of the first inning. And they did it using a new weapon the Giants have unveiled this year: speed.
Burriss got on by an error, swiped second, moved to third on a Christian grounder, and scored easily on the first of Belt’s two run-scoring hits today, a one-pitch liner to left.
After Crawford got on base, Blanco showed off his wheels with a two-run triple that almost went for an inside-the-park job. The 28-year-old outfielder, who was the MVP of the Venezuelan League this winter, is a strong candidate to win the Giants’ fourth outfielder spot, in my opinion.
Fans also got to see Brown’s speed, when the Cal State Fullerton product ripped one into right-center. Brown flew past first base but had to stop at second because the ball bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double. He would later score on a grounder by Tommy Jo.
Roseville’s Andrew Susac got his first unofficial, professional knock—a grounder up the middle that glanced off Lively’s leg.
All in all, it looked like a lot of fun. (I watched it from the Giants’ website, which streamed the intrasquad game live for free, too.)
San Francisco will play its first Cactus League contest on Saturday, against the Diamondbacks.
Tim Lincecum is scheduled to throw an inning and members of the projected Opening Day lineup (minus two obvious stars) will make their first appearances, too, including Crawford (ss), Aubrey Huff (1b), Pablo Sandoval (3b), Melky Cabrera (lf), Angel Pagan (cf), and Nate Schierholtz (rf).
Mike Fontenot will start in place of Freddy Sanchez at second base and Chris Stewart will catch. Buster Posey is not expected to play in any games until the second week of action. Same with Freddy.
According to manager Bruce Bochy (via Andrew Baggarly of Comcast SportsNet), Posey is “close” but still hasn’t “checked off all the boxes” (like sliding). The skipper is wisely being very cautious with Posey, who is still experiencing some ankle stiffness.
The Mole finally started fielding grounders and throwing over to first yesterday.
In other spring training news today…
Speaking of Posey, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle conjectures that Buster will sign a one-year contract (versus a long-term deal) this spring. Posey still has four years of arbitration eligibility and, naturally, the Giants will eventually want to sign him to a deal that would keep him out of the arbiter’s chambers if possible.
But that time is not now, says Schulman.
Posey is not yet eligible for arbitration (that will change after this season). So the Giants can pay him anything they want at or above the league minimum, of course. The 24-year old catcher earned $575,000 last year, his first full season in the big leagues. He will probably get something similar this year.
We’ll find out no later than March 11, the deadline for teams to sign players not eligible for arbitration.
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Closer Brian Wilson threw a strong bullpen session again. It’s the second consecutive strong performance for B-Weez, who declared himself “100 percent healthy” earlier this week.
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