The San Francisco Giants lost their second straight Spring Training game to the Cleveland Indians, a game where Tim Lincecum was supposed to pitch but was instead was started by journeyman Chad Gaudin. The blister on Lincecum’s middle finger isn’t quite game-healed yet, although he did throw this morning in Scottsdale. Gaudin looked just fine in his place, pitching three shutout innings that were downright quiet.
Gaudin has pitched for nine different Major League franchises, and he’s had two separate stops with three organizations. I was out and about in the stands taking photos of the action while the beat guys were summoned to speak to Gaudin, but it sounded like he said all the right things.
“He gave us what we were hoping to see,” said Bruce Bochy of Gaudin, who was going to pitch today anyway but showed a skill that might help him when the Giants pick the last reliever or two to make this team.
“Ideally you’d like a guy who could do a spot start for you. We haven’t had that and we’ve gotten away with it. All things being even, I think our preference would be a guy who could go multiple innings,” Bochy said.
— Kensuke Tanaka started at second base, the position he’s more comfortable playing than shortstop, but booted a grounder hit right to him. He needs to improve his fielding if he wants a future in San Francisco, and soon.
— Heath Hembree gave up two monster home runs in a row to two guys who’ve combined for 638 in their Major League careers. Nick Swisher hit one off the batter’s eye in center field (here’s a photo of the ball after the ricochet):
— Next up was Jason Giambi, who pulled a deep fly ball just foul. A couple pitches later — KABOOM — off the metal roof over the right field bleachers. It was fair, it was a home run, and Hembree officially had a day to forget. Bochy said that a lot of his pitches were up, as they were for every Giants pitcher. He even went as far as to say he and Dave Righetti were wondering if there was something up with the mound at Goodyear.
After the inning was over, Swisher’s day was over. I’m not sure if anyone smiles, laughs and talks more with everyone — players and fans included — than he does.
— In the top of the next inning, the Giants cut a 6-1 deficit to 6-4 thanks to a full count walk to Guillermo Quiroz, a single by Brandon Crawford and another single for Hunter Pence (his second run-scoring ground ball single of the day. Here’s Pence rounding first:
— A Channing Tatum-hot Brandon Belt (sorry, I lost a bet to Gary Brown) drove in both Brandon Crawford and Hunter Pence with a line drive double down the left field line. I’m not sure there’s a spot on the field where I haven’t seen Belt hit a line drive this spring, and I’ve only watched six games.
And that would be all the scoring on this day.
— Although Bochy said George Kontos’ pitches were up like Hembree’s, he pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Unless he totally implodes over the next few weeks, he’s going to have a prominent role this season.
— Nick Noonan isn’t going to make the team, but he plays a nice third base. He made a great barehand play while charging a bunt from Nate Spears. Joe Panik was unable to handle a grounder in the late innings at second, but it was called a base hit (it was hit much harder than the ball Tanaka booted).
— Bochy said afterward that both Andres Torres and Tony Abreu are “getting close” to returning, but didn’t give any exact dates we should expect either player back.
“It’d be nice to get (Abreu) out here,” Bochy said. “He’s in the mix to make this club. He’s got some skills.”
Brett Pill is dealing with a sore knee, but it didn’t sound like anything serious.