Spring training recap—Day 14
Today was an off day for the Giants in Scottsdale, so not much to report on. But there was this tidbit of news…
What kind of shoulder problem, exactly, isn’t known at this time, but it’s not the first time Runzler has had to visit the trainer’s office.
Fans might remember that Runzler, a 9th round draft pick by the Giants in 2007, missed 48 games after the reliever dislocated his knee during a rare at bat in a game on July 9, 2010.
On the last day of the 2011 season, he strained his left latissimus dorsi (upper back).
Runzler, 26, was 1-2 with a 6.26 ERA, 1.646 WHIP, 8.2 SO/9 rate, and 5.3 BB/9 rate in 31 appearances with the Giants last season.
Runzler is competing for one of the final spots in the Giants’ bullpen. If he were to be shelved for an extended amount of time, and manager Bruce Bochy wants a third lefty reliever (behind Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez) in the ‘pen, he could always take a serious look at Brian Burres, Wilmin Rodriguez, or even David Quinowski this spring.
Eric Surkamp is also a lefty, but I think the Giants want to keep him as a starter.
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His first tweet? Soccer-related, of course:
— Tim Lincecum (@timlincecum) March 1, 2012
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Major League Baseball announced its new playoff format today. Starting this season, one additional wild card team will be added to each league, forming a 10-team postseason. (Previously, the three division winners and one wild card team made it to the postseason in each league).
Giants fans need look no further than 1993 to understand why this is positively a good move for baseball. That was the year San Francisco went 103-59 and did not make the playoffs. Adding a second wild card team to the mix will definitely make it easier for a team like the Giants to reach the postseason.
To make room on the calendar for the extra games, MLB also said that—in any best-of-five division series match-ups that go to a deciding Game 5—there will be no “travel day” before Game 5. Instead of the old 2-2-1 format, the top-seeded teams in each division will play the first two games on the road, followed by three games at home (a 2-3 format). That way, Game 7 of the World Series can still occur on or before November 1 under the new format (as outlined in the CBA).
The two wildcard teams in each league will face off in a single, “sudden death” game on the day after the regular season ends, with the winner advancing to the Division Series.
You can read more about the new, double-wildcard playoff system over at Maury Brown’s The Biz of Baseball.