MILWAUKEE -- Hoping to generate as much punch as possible from the lineup, Giants manager Bruce Bochy broke a yearlong pattern and started Buster Posey behind the plate to work with left-hander Jonathan Sanchez in Monday's series opener against Milwaukee.Typically, Eli Whiteside has caught Sanchez, a collaboration that was cemented last July 10. That's when Sanchez no-hit San Diego with Whiteside catching. But several trends influenced Bochy's move: the Giants' spotty offense in their previous series at Colorado, where they hit .219 (34-for-155); Posey's decent series against the Rockies (5-for-13); and Whiteside's 3-for-22 skid. Additionally, using Posey at catcher instead of first base freed the latter spot for Travis Ishikawa, who hit a grand slam Saturday and went 2-for-4 with an RBI single Sunday. This was partially a "percentage" move, since Ishikawa bats left-handed and Milwaukee starter Dave Bush throws right-handed. "Right now, we're trying to get the hot bats in there and get some runs," Bochy said. That also accounted for Pat Burrell's presence in the outfield, despite Nate Schierholtz's recent productivity, which included a triple Saturday night and a pinch-homer Sunday. Burrell entered Monday 5-for-13 with three home runs lifetime off Bush.
Lincecum feels he's reached turning point
MILWAUKEE -- Tim Lincecum hopes that his last outing indicated that he's regaining an old friend and leaving behind a familiar enemy.Lincecum absorbed the decision in last Friday's 6-3 loss at Colorado, but he maintained velocity on his fastball, which he hasn't managed to do consistently this year. Lincecum hit 95 mph on the Coors Field speed readings in the first inning and was still reaching 93 mph in his sixth and final inning. "I feel like my body's stronger, that things are finally clicking," said Lincecum, who's scheduled to start here Wednesday. "It's just a matter of executing." Significantly, Lincecum sustained his stamina in warm weather. Gametime temperature in Denver was 87 degrees, the type of heat that has caused the right-hander to wilt occasionally. "You just have to adapt," Lincecum said. "I feel like going out in that heat isn't the same struggle as it used to be. I remember days when I felt like I was turning green on the mound just from sweating so much."
Huff not sweating remote All-Star chances
MILWAUKEE -- Though Aubrey Huff said Monday that being named to the National League All-Star team would be "awesome," the Giants' most productive hitter realizes that his chances of going to the Midsummer Classic are extremely slim.Manager Bruce Bochy divulged Sunday that Huff is being considered as a possible replacement if an existing All-Star is sidelined by an injury. Realistically, one of the NL's five Final Vote candidates probably would get chosen as a fill-in before Huff. And he knows this. "I feel like the numbers are there," said Huff, who entered Monday hitting .288 with team-high totals for home runs (15), RBIs (47) and OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage, .899). But, Huff added, "obviously there's a lot of politics and popularity involved in making the All-Star team." Huff has never made an All-Star team in nine full Major League seasons. Though he might have deserved selection in previous years, he played for subpar American League clubs that typically had only one All-Star representative. In such cases, players often are chosen more on positional need than on merit. Speaking completely without bitterness, Huff observed that he enjoyed strong first halves in 2003 with Tampa Bay (.304, 17 homers, 50 RBIs, .900 OPS) and in 2008 with Baltimore (.284, 18 homers, 59 RBIs, .875 OPS). But relievers Lance Carter and George Sherrill, respectively, were named All-Stars instead.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.