Aubrey Huff

Giants salvage series, but Beltran injury cause for concern

Writing from the press box while hundreds of kids run the bases and dozens of reporters ask questions in the clubhouse. My newfound access doesn’t include the players sanctuary (yet), but so much happened on the field today that there’s plenty to focus on without asking Tim Lincecum if getting hit in the leg with a flying baseball bat hurts. Here’s what I’m taking away from today’s game, with notes on the actual game alternating with stuff I’d only get to notice because of the credential I’m wearing around my neck.

— One of the questions Bruce Bochy answered in the postgame press conference was on Carlos Beltran, who was taken out of the game in the 8th inning. Some thought it was for defense, I wondered if Beltran was hurt. Turns out he’s dealing with an injured hand. X-rays were negative, Bochy said he’s day-to-day and Beltran “thinks it’s going to be a lot better tomorrow.” We’ll see about that, but it’s fairly worrisome since (a) the Giants gave up the most touted pitcher in their minor league system for a hitter whose hand now hurts and (b) Beltran’s a “rental,” so any time missed decreases the value of the Giants’ investment in Beltran significantly.

— An amazing amount of writers/journalists/whatever type exclusively with their index fingers.

— Jeff Keppinger had four hits, along with getting thrown out at home on a grounder to Ryan Howard. Keppinger looked to be going on contact on the play, but with such a slow first step it seemed like he could have stopped himself and gone back to third. Or course, that’s easy to say from the press box while eating popcorn and drinking an Arnold Palmer.

— Sat quietly and listened to a group of local media people wondering whether KNBR would continue to air Tony Bruno’s radio show (currently airing from 7-10 pm on weekdays on the radio wasteland known as KNBR 1050. Kind of wanted to wear a hat saying “I broke the Bruno story” to the press box today, but I thought I’d leave those kinds of accessories to Marty Lurie. If you missed it, here’s my post from earlier today (that now includes video I took of Bochy’s reaction to Bruno’s “racist comments.”)

— Aubrey Huff had a very strange game. The much-maligned first baseman actually had a decent day at the plate with a bloop hit, 2 walks (his first walks since July 28) and a stolen base. He also seemed to be stuck in quicksand while grounding into a double play early on, and made two fielding errors. Well, one should have been called an error but wasn’t because he stepped on first base to record one out before throwing the ball over Orlando Cabrera’s head in an attempt to get Roy Oswalt at second. Oswalt ended up scoring on the play; luckily for the Giants Huff’s misplayed ground ball (right through the Buckner-hole) with two outs in the 8th didn’t come back to hurt them as Javier Lopez came in and retired Raul Ibanez on a deeeeeeep fly ball to left field.

— Sat next to Manolo Hernandez-Douen, who’s been in the journalism game for almost 40 years and writes for a site called Béisbol Por Gotas. Does a lot of Spanish-language stuff, and his Twitter feed provided the first quotes from Ramon Ramirez about the incident that I’ve seen:

“How I am going to work here if I were an illegal alien?”


“Everyone says what they feel in their heart … Whatever he says about me, I am not interested.”

— Lincecum started the game with a 4-pitch walk to future Giant (just a hunch) Jimmy Rollins. Over his next 110 pitches, only 28 were balls and he walked no one else. Lincecum would have gotten out of the 8th inning if it weren’t for Huff’s misplay, even after Chase Utley’s bat hit his knee and felt like a “charley horse,” in the words of Bochy.

— It was cool to meet Wendy Thurm and her son after the game. Wendy’s got a blog you may have heard of called Hanging Sliders, which is on my blogroll for a reason — you should check it out. Always fun to meet someone who shares my affinity for making fun of KNBR commericials on Twitter, particularly the Handlery Hotel spots (and we were ripping those ads BEFORE Bruno went all Arizona SB 1070 on Twitter).

— Pablo Sandoval’s defense at third base this year has been unbelievable, especially his throwing accuracy (although he’s surprisingly rangy this season, too). It’s good news for the Giants, who’ll have flexibility next season if Buster Posey’s ankle surgeries won’t allow him to catch anymore — they don’t need to stick Sandoval at first, which is something people were predicting would eventually occur until he shed all that weight during the offseason.

— Press box food consumed today (yeah, I know — nobody cares): make-it-yourself breakfast burrito, 1/3 of a donut (I started to feel guilty about eating a donut so soon after the breakfast burrito, especially since the donut wasn’t all that great), two servings of press box popcorn and a piece of orange-flavored hard candy a gentleman was passing around the press box. Old people are always good for some hard candy, aren’t they? Not that I’m complaining. When I get old I’m going to load up on Werther’s Original and start wearing cardigans — if you have to be a senior citizen, you might as well own it.

— Andres Torres may want to think about using a lighter bat. It was a cute story last season when he was a fringe MVP candidate, but that lumber looks awfully heavy this season. That wasn’t the problem with Ryan Howard, but something’s off with that guy, too. He looked horrible all series, going 1-for-12 with a walk and 8 strikeouts.

— They closed up the press box a little while ago (pulling the windows down from the ceiling so we didn’t have to listen to the exceedingly loud chat a bunch of people from Wharton were having at the visitor’s dugout — a noisy affair none of the reporters were too impressed with). Apparently those windows also act as seagull protection, as one ambitious feathered scavenger flew right up and into the window, less than one foot away from the face of a very startled Andrew Baggarly.

Sorry bird, you need a credential to get in here.

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