Spring training recap—Day 4
Position players aren’t supposed to show up to spring training until later this week (the first full workout is scheduled for Friday), but that didn’t stop some of the Giants’ hitters from getting a jump on things.
Prior to showing up to Scottsdale Stadium today, all three have been very busy preparing for the 2012 season.
As I mentioned a couple of days ago, Sandoval has been working out in Miami with his personal trainer. He looked good, according to Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who confirmed that the Kung Fu Panda has lost weight since FanFest two weeks ago. Sandoval refused to announce his weight just yet.
Sanchez was here in the late fall, rehabbing his injured shoulder before taking a break to spend some time with his family, and Pagan has been readying himself for his new gig with the Giants by working with a personal hitting instructor in Florida.
One of the bigger stories out of camp today was the latest injury setback for a Giants player. Unlike the broken finger suffered by minor leaguer Charlie Culberson (a significant injury to an insignificant player), this one was an insignifant injury to a significant player.
Two-time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum was held out of action this morning because of back stiffness. Within seconds of getting the information, all the beat writers began tweeting the information out. As one might expect, the news kind of got blown out of proportion.
Not to be compared to Ryan Vogelsong, who strained his back lifting weights a couple of weeks ago, Lincecum was just experiencing a little stiffness in his lower back. The kind of stiffness that you and I feel on any given morning. No big deal, really.
In fact, Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters that Timmy had the same thing happen last year. So did Brian Wilson. “Mine’s stiff now, to be honest,” Bochy said.
That’s a whole lot of stiffies.
Speaking of stiffs, Angel Villalona (who was cleared of charges that he killed a man a couple years back) won’t be in camp on time. The 21-year old infielder is still having problems getting his visa cleared. Don’t worry, it has nothing to do with his legal issues, which have been well documented. Seems that Villalona (who was added to the Giants’ 40-man roster in December) is being held back for conditioning and medical reasons.
According to Andrew Baggarly of Comcast SportsNet, Villalona “was deemed unfit to qualify for his P-1 visa, which requires that he establish his status as an elite athlete.” Hmmmmmm. Very interesting, to say the least. (If you’re so inclined, you can check out the official government policy on P-1 visa requirements here.)
Giants VP Bobby Evans told Baggs that the delay could be anywhere from 24 hours to two weeks or longer and that the club is hoping it can convince the U.S. Consulate in Santo Domingo that Villalona, who has a similar build as Sandoval, is “in the condition he should be.” As for the medical issue, the team can’t comment on that due to privacy laws. In the meantime, Villalona’s jersey still awaits him in the Giants’ locker room.
Jaymee Sire of Comcast SportsNet tweeted that Vogelsong is feeling better today and was back at the yard after being sent home with the crud yesterday.
Remember when lefty reliever Dan Runzler strained his lat in the seventh inning of the Giants’ final game on Sept. 28? It seems he is still not 100 percent, according to a tweet from Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. The 26-year-old Runzler, who appeared in 31 games for the G-men last year and posted a 6.26 ERA and 1.646 WHIP, is competing for one of the final spots in the Giants’ bullpen this spring. Let’s face it. If he’s not fully healthy by Opening Day, he could very well wind up in Triple-A to start the season.
Chris Haft of MLB.com reports that Sanchez was working in the field on agility drills today. He can hit just fine, but won’t be playing second base in spring games until mid-March, according to Bochy.
Meanwhile, catcher Tommy Joseph, who I ranked No. 3 on my “22 Giants Prospects You Need To Know” list in November, looked awesome in BP today, roping liners and blasting bombs all over the place. He and the other catchers in camp all worked with Bochy (a former catcher himself) on swipe tags this morning. It’s highly unlikely the 20-year-old will steal the backup job from Chris Stewart or Eli Whiteside, so don’t get too excited…yet.
In case you’re heading down to Scottsdale this spring, you might want to print out the non-roster invitees list and 40-man roster. I’ve got all the jersey numbers of the Giants players listed, so you’ll know who’s who out there on the diamond.
The first Cactus League game will be on Friday, Mar. 3 against the D-backs. Early birds can catch the Giants’ worm as they play an intrasquad game on March 1.