It’s hard not to feel sorry for Brett Pill, who hit two home runs on Feb. 26 but has only hit .250 with no extra-base hits or walks in 16 at-bats since. Bruce Bochy said after today’s game — a 9-5 win for the San Francisco Giants over the Cincinnati Reds in Goodyear — that Pill will fly to San Francisco tonight and have surgery on his right knee tomorrow.
“Meniscus. So he’s off to San Francisco. He did it early in the spring, had a little tear,” Bochy said. “I talked to him. He said, ‘I want to go. I want to keep playing.’ Then it swelled up again and so we made the decision to go ahead and get this done.”
Bochy said Pill is probably looking at around three weeks recovery time, which means there’s no way he’ll make the Opening Day roster. That also sounds fairly aggressive in terms of a recovery time, but Bochy may be keeping Pill’s pain threshold in mind. After all, he tried to stick it out for a while. Bochy mentioned Pill have knee soreness last Thursday, but an injury like that to a power-hitter’s plant leg is tough to withstand for long.
Bochy said he was hoping to see Pill’s skills in left field this spring, the but the injury kept that from becoming an option. And since Pill has options, he’ll probably start his season in Fresno. Bochy also said he would probably get Belt some time in left field “at some point.”
— We saw two extremes from a few other left field candidates today. Francisco Peguero continued his excellent play, collecting two of the Giants’ 15 hits (the same number the Reds accumulated, as the heat is starting to show up in Arizona). Peguero’s average this spring is now .424.
— Juan Perez had an even better day. He hit the second of back-to-back home runs off Pedro Villarreal, who gave up seven straight hits in the eighth inning. The other home run came from Ricky Oropesa. Perez also threw out Derrick Robinson at second base from right field.
— But even Andres Torres wasn’t smiling after this one, and for good reason. After getting thrown out at third trying to stretch a double into a triple, he left the game with a stomach bug.
“After he ran and got thrown out at third he was puking in the dugout,” said Bochy. “He hasn’t played much, so at least he got a couple at-bats. He had a nice double. Wasn’t the best baserunning, but he did hit that ball well.”
— The offensive star of the day was the guy who hit his first home run of the spring last night: Johnny Monell. He went 3-for-4 with two doubles, and now has 9 hits and 2 walks in 17 plate appearances.
“He can hit. To be this hot is pretty impressive. Johnny’s been locked in since we’ve been here,” Bochy said.
Since Monell (who turns 27 in two weeks) hasn’t played in Triple-A — he has spent the last two seasons in Richmond, where he has put up a .252/.339/.419 line — it’s hard to see him replacing Hector Sanchez anytime soon. But has a walk rate over 10.3% in the minors and hit 19 home runs in 115 games at San Jose in 2010. His dad, also named Johnny, played in the minors for 15 seasons.
“He’s got a pretty good arm. He wants to show he can catch, too. Rare commodity to have a good-hitting left-handed catcher. Nice to have a consistent guy who could be coming into his own right now,” Bochy said.
— Emmanuel Burriss made the rounds before the game, getting hugs and handshakes from Joaquin Arias, Ron Wotus, Shawon Dunston and Roberto Kelly. Dunston and Kelly spent a while before today’s game talking with Eric Davis, who serves in the Reds front office as an Assistant to the General Manager. Davis looks like he could still play now. Maybe the Yankees should give him a call. After all, Jon Heyman said the Bronx Bombers were kicking Aubrey Huff’s flat tires.
— Barry Zito didn’t have the most economical of days, throwing 70 pitches over 3.1 innings. But after the game he was wearing an incredible cap — a red corduroy model with “49ERS” in gold on the front. I asked him if it was new, because it looked like something that was sold back when the gold 49ers satin jackets had their first run of popularity back in the early 1980s.
“It’s definitely old. I bought it off someone years ago,” Zito said. After leaving the clubhouse I did a little poking around and found the hat here. As Mike Krukow would say, “I wanna get that I wanna get that I wanna get that…”
— Kensuke Tanaka made his sixth error, this time on a Burriss grounder to his backhand side at third base in the ninth inning. It wasn’t an easy play — nowhere near as an egregious a miscue as some of his throwing errors. Tanaka will definitely play tomorrow against Team Japan, Bochy said. Luckily not all Japanese players field like Tanaka, because otherwise tomorrow’s game might be six hours long.