Notes: Bruised Molina gets break
Lewis catches up with college teammate; Durham heating up
MILWAUKEE -- Catcher Bengie Molina continues to insist his bruised right hand feels fine.But knowing Molina's determination to play through pain, Giants manager Bruce Bochy refused to take any chances and left him out of the starting lineup for Tuesday's game against the Brewers. "He's got some swelling in his hand," Bochy said. "He's never going to let you know where exactly he's at, anyway. That's the kind of guy he is." Molina injured his hand in the third inning of Monday night's loss to Milwaukee when Ryan Braun fouled a ball right back that caught Molina flush on his hand. Molina usually holds his throwing hand behind his back with the bases empty, but with a runner on first, he had to keep it close to his glove in case he needed to make a throw. X-rays after the game showed no broken bones, and the catcher is day-to-day. "He wouldn't come out of that game," Bochy said. Backup Guillermo Rodriguez took Molina's place in Tuesday's starting lineup, batting eighth. Molina isn't really missing any playing time, Bochy said, since he had originally planned to rest the catcher for Wednesday's day game anyway. Instead, Molina will simply start Wednesday's series finale. "He was going to get one of these days off," Bochy said. Bochy also said he plans to give slugger Barry Bonds the day off Wednesday. Friends: Giants outfielder Fred Lewis caught up with his close friend, Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks, over dinner Monday night at a restaurant close to the Pfister Hotel, where the Giants are staying. Milwaukee center fielder Bill Hall also joined in the fun. Lewis and Weeks were teammates at Southern University, with Lewis getting drafted by the Giants a year ahead of Weeks in 2002. Lewis and the rest of the baseball team used to hang out at Weeks' apartment all the time, barbecuing on his porch. Lewis and Weeks didn't get to see each other much after they left school, although they occasionally returned to Southern in Baton Rouge, La., and took the baseball team out for meals. "We always have been good friends," Lewis said. Lewis and Weeks got to spend some time together during Spring Training, with both the Giants and Brewers playing in the Cactus League in Arizona. Weeks also made it a point to send Lewis a text message after the speedy outfielder hit for the cycle against the Rockies four days after making his Major League debut in May. "He was like, 'Man, there ain't nobody that's able to do that,'" Lewis said. "He was very excited for me." Lewis and Weeks got to catch up on some "boy talk" Monday evening. Weeks and Hall asked Lewis how his season was going and when he was getting off the disabled list. The speedy outfielder landed on the 15-day DL on June 9 with a right oblique strain. As usual, Lewis and Weeks jousted with each other to foot the bill, with the two splitting the tab in the end. "You just want to be a man," Lewis said. "He doesn't want me to pay for things, and I don't want other people to pay for things. "Spring Training, I would take care of it. He wouldn't want me to take care of it, but I would take care of it, anyway." Turning it around: Ray Durham didn't want to make too much of his excellent showing at the plate Monday evening, when he entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning and finished 2-for-2 with a home run. Durham's bat appears to have come to life lately, as the second baseman has batted .357 (5-for-14) in his last four games. "The last month, I've hit some balls right on the button, right at somebody," Durham said. "You can't do anything about that, but that comes with having a good approach and putting a good swing on it. Hopefully, 12 guys are not playing on the field when you're hitting." Durham hit .279 with two home runs and 14 RBIs in April but fell into a prolonged slump after that, collecting just 31 hits in his last 129 at-bats (.240). Durham was batting .257 with seven homers and 39 RBIs overall entering Tuesday's game. Throughout it all, though, Durham hasn't wavered from his approach of trying to hammer pitches up the middle. He said he sees the ball well and feels comfortable with how he's swinging the bat, but balls simply haven't fallen for him. "That's the game of baseball," Durham said. "You can feel good up at the plate and not get a hit, and the next day, you feel like total crap and get four hits." Durham's power hasn't deserted him, as he still was on pace for 18 homers and 98 RBIs entering Tuesday's game. But his power numbers gave him little consolation. "When your power is there, you still have to get your hits," he said. "From that aspect, no, I'm not happy with the average." On deck: Giants ace Barry Zito (6-7, 4.41) squares off against the Brewers' Claudio Vargas (5-1, 3.86) in the series finale Wednesday at 11:05 a.m. PT. Zito has struggled of late, going 0-2 with an 8.68 ERA in his past two starts. That came on the heels of a three-game winning streak in which he allowed one earned run over 20 innings.
Kelvin Ang is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.