SAN DIEGO -- Kevin Mitchell's demeanor was the same as always, marked by a ready smile and a quick sense of humor.His contours, however, were considerably different. Looking slimmer than he did during most of his playing days, Mitchell visited PETCO Park on Tuesday and exchanged pleasantries with various Giants before the game. Asked how he became so svelte, Mitchell said, "I'm playing golf almost every day and walking the course." Asked if he's hitting 300-yard drives, Mitchell replied, "Longer." The 1989 National League Most Valuable Player with the Giants said that he expects to participate in the second annual Giants Sports Foundation golf tournament, coordinated by San Francisco's high-Class A San Jose affiliate, at The Villages Golf & Country Club on May 25. Mitchell, 48, said that he's also keeping busy by coaching youth baseball and developing a line of sportswear.
Odds heavily favored Affeldt vs. Eckstein
SAN DIEGO -- If David Eckstein's game-winning home run Monday night off Giants left-hander Jeremy Affeldt seemed surprising, it should have.Writing for fangraphs.com, Jack Moore considered several factors -- Eckstein's lack of power, Affeldt's penchant to induce ground balls and PETCO Park's tendency to discourage home runs -- and estimated that Eckstein should hit a home run off Affeldt 31 times in 10,000 plate appearances. Moore is a math major at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Affeldt maintained his sense of humor when told of this estimate. "I guess I gave up one of the 31 he's going to get," he said with a laugh. "That means I have a good chance of it not happening again." Turning serious, Affeldt said, "I throw ground balls with a sinker, and when the sinker doesn't sink, it's not going to be a ground ball." After complaining Monday that his curveball felt ineffective, Affeldt threw in the bullpen before batting practice Tuesday afternoon to sharpen his release. "When the curveball pops way out of my hand, hitters pick that up pretty quick," Affeldt said. "For me, it's not good because you can now judge between a heater and a curveball. I feel like I fixed that. Obviously, I have to do it in a game."
Bochy pondering start for Ishikawa
SAN DIEGO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy knows that he must start Travis Ishikawa at first base to help keep his swing sharp."I know I'm going to have to give him a start to get him more at-bats," Bochy said Tuesday of Ishikawa, the only Giants position player on the Opening Day roster who hasn't yet started a game. Entering Tuesday, Ishikawa had appeared in 10 of San Francisco's first 13 games, mostly as a defensive replacement at first base. He was hitting .200 (1-for-5), with his only hit being a pinch-hit home run at Houston in the season's third game. Ishikawa has continued to take fly balls in left field during batting practice, but he'd probably be used there only in emergency situations. Aubrey Huff, the starter at first base, has done nothing to indicate that he needs a rest, taking a .292 batting average and a .404 on-base percentage into Tuesday's game. Given Ishikawa's robust .349 average at AT&T Park last year, he could receive a start during the Giants' upcoming nine-game homestand.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.