PHILADELPHIA -- As it turned out, center fielder Aaron Rowand knew precisely what he was talking about.After signing his five-year, $60 million contract with the Giants in December 2007, Rowand explained that he joined the Giants instead of heading elsewhere in free agency because the team's stable of young pitchers impressed him. "Pitching is No. 1," Rowand said one month after agreeing to terms with San Francisco. "Everybody [asks], 'If you're all about winning, why did you go to San Francisco?' I'm like, 'Take a look! Look closer. Don't just look at the fact that they were in last place [in 2007]. Look at the pieces they have, the young guys who are going to be here for a long time.' It makes sense to me." At that time, Tim Lincecum had just completed his rookie year, Matt Cain was entering his third full season, Jonathan Sanchez wasn't yet a full-time starter and Brian Wilson's Major League career was 55 games old. Moreover, Madison Bumgarner had been drafted the previous June. Reminded of this the other day, Rowand grinned. "At least I know my thought process was right when I decided to come here," Rowand said.
Burrell's style no mystery to his former skip
PHILADELPHIA -- Pat Burrell's resurgence as a hitter following his brief, barren tenure with Tampa Bay has surprised some observers. But Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel believes that the reasons behind Burrell's fluctuating performance aren't difficult to discern.
"When he played here, [he was] a hot-and-cold hitter," Manuel said. "A lot of players are that way. And when he's not hitting, you have to find some room to sit him, and also don't forget about him and always go back to him."
Burrell hit .218 with 16 home runs, 77 RBIs and a shockingly low .672 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) in 146 games beginning in 2009 before the Rays released him this year in mid-May. But he hit .266 with 18 homers, 51 RBIs and an .872 OPS in 96 games for the Giants. Burrell has acknowledged that he couldn't adjust to serving as Tampa Bay's designated hitter. That made plenty of sense to Manuel.
"If he had ever gotten comfortable and had some success in the DH role and he knew how to spend that downtime, I felt like he definitely would have liked it," Manuel said.
Bochy makes 'tough call,' sits Sandoval
PHILADELPHIA -- Sticking with his tendency to play a hot hand, manager Bruce Bochy explained Saturday that he kept Mike Fontenot over Pablo Sandoval at third base because the former was part of the lineup that propelled the Giants to the National League Championship Series.
Fontenot started the final two games of the NL Division Series against Atlanta, each of which the Giants won, 3-2. Both Fontenot and Sandoval went 1-for-6 with an error in their appearances.
Bochy admitted that starting Fontenot over Sandoval was "a tough call." He added that Sandoval could start Sunday "or one or two of these games." Past performances don't appear to be much of a factor. Sandoval is 2-for-9 (.222) lifetime against Roy Oswalt, Philadelphia's Game 2 starter, compared to Fontenot's .238 (5-for-21).
Bochy mentioned a third infield option: starting Edgar Renteria at shortstop and Juan Uribe at third base. Renteria singled in each of his NLDS plate appearances. It's easy to envision Bochy stationing that pair on the infield's left side in Tuesday's Game 3 at San Francisco, where the Giants will confront left-hander Cole Hamels.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.