This article is courtesy of our friends at The Giants Baseball Blog
Written by: Trevor Cole
Today we’ll take a day off of our player previews and just do sort of a Spring Training notes post, as there’s quite a lot to talk about after the first real workouts of Spring Training for pitchers and catchers.
Of the most notable news to come out of Scottsdale Sunday though, was not so good. Ryan Vogelsong strained his back in warm-ups and will be sidelined at least 10 days. It wouldn’t surprise me, with his delay in workouts, to see him miss his first few planned starts of Cactus League play as well, so this will have a trickle down effect. Vogelsong isn’t as young as the other pitchers in the Giants rotation, so it’s kinda weird reading about an injury to a key Giants starter, but the Giants and Vogey need to make sure they don’t over due him and put him in the best possible shape he can be for opening day. This guy will have a lot to prove this season, whether or not 2011 was a fluke or the norm for the 34 year-old righty. Luckily for the Giants, despite his age, he hasn’t had a whole lot of wear on his arm for a 34 year old pitcher. He played in shortened seasons in Japan before returning to the Giants and didn’t pitch a whole lot in the few years leading to his departure to Japan, so he should have plenty of life left in that arm. I know he battled some nagging injuries last season though as, again, his workload was way up from his previous years and it probably caught up with him. Hopefully, this time around, he’ll be better equipped for the 200 innings the Giants will expect from him, and a back injury certainly isn’t the way you want your spring to start.
In other various news, Buster Posey indeed catch pitchers, including Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, who each had very nice sessions. Lincecum didn’t throw many pitches out of the strike zone, so Posey’s range wasn’t really tested, and the same held true for Cain, though he did throw some balls in the dirt that Posey knocked down but didn’t field cleanly. As for his hitting, it took all of 4 swings until he hit his first batting practice homer of the spring, according to Mr. Baggarly, who was in attendance for the workout. Of the pitchers Posey did not catch, was another key of news worth noting is that Barry Zito has apparently shown up to camp this year with a new delivery. Not sure exactly what kind of changes Zito has made, as I’ve yet to see it, but he’s hoping it may add a few mph’s to his fastball and improve his command, two things that have been a huge thorn in his side the last few seasons. At least when he first came to the Giants, he was throwing 88-90, but in 2011, he was down to about 83 mph on average with the heater and he wasn’t locating it, so when your throwing that slowly and pretty much needing to throw it down the heart of the plate in order to ensure yourself a strike, your going to get rocked, and that’s how it went for him. I wish him all the best, as the Giants really need him to be solid in that fifth spot. They don’t need the Oakland A’s Barry Zito, but a 12-12 Zito with a 4.00 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP (all very attainable for this guy) would go over just fine with Giants fans, and it’d probably give them the best rotation in the NL (with good health of course).