WASHINGTON -- The Giants will begin Wednesday trying to hit baseballs at an hour when they'd usually hit the snooze button.The scheduled starting time for their July 4 extravaganza against the Washington Nationals is 11:05 a.m. ET. Of course, that's 8:05 a.m. in California for those who haven't yet adjusted to the time-zone change. And that's barely more than a half-day after the conclusion of Tuesday night's series opener. The extra-early start gives fans a chance to enjoy the numerous Fourth of July festivities in the area and avoid traffic snarls involving ballgame patrons and holiday revelers. To maximize rest for his players, Giants manager Bruce Bochy canceled official batting practice and ordered the first bus to leave the team hotel at 8 a.m. "There's plenty of room on it," Bochy joked. Another bus will depart at 9 a.m. -- about two hours before the game, when most players normally would be fully dressed in uniform. Though the night-to-day turnaround time will be especially quick, playing a morning game won't be an unprecedented experience for several Giants, who started Arizona Rookie League games at or around 10 a.m. "We had to wake up at 6 in the morning," third baseman Pablo Sandoval recalled. Sandoval added that he habitually arises around 7:30 a.m. "I'm a morning guy," he said. Right-hander Sergio Romo recalled playing games as a youth shortly after breakfast.
"For me, personally, I think it's fun," he said. "You get to wake up and bam, here you are, game's on."
Sandoval happy to be on All-Star team with Wright
WASHINGTON -- Pressed to defend his election to start the All-Star Game, a development over which he had no control, Pablo Sandoval heaped praise Tuesday upon the third baseman many think is more deserving, New York Mets third baseman David Wright.Leading the chorus of complaints about Sandoval's selection was Wright's boss, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, who used Twitter to take aim at Giants fans -- whose late voting surge generated the stunning result -- and their third baseman.
"A city of 8 million was outvoted by a city of 800,000," read the first tweet from Alderson, the former Oakland A's GM who may have forgot that the Giants draw fans from the nine-county Bay Area. Said Alderson's second tweet, "ASG election of 'Kung Fu Panda' shows the value of a cute nickname. Surprised Giants fans didn't elect a 'ball dude' to start at third base."Sandoval avoided escalating the war of words. "I have nothing to say," he said. Referring to Wright, he added, "I'm happy because both we made it. We're on the same team, so I hope we help the team win to start the World Series in the National League." Sandoval reiterated both his surprise upon being elected and his respect for Wright.
"He's a great player. He's having a great season," Sandoval said. "The fans did all the work. I'm happy for my fans."A reporter pointed out to Sandoval that, in 2009, he outperformed Wright, who was the fans' choice to start.
"That's baseball," said Sandoval, who out-hit Wright .333-.324 and out-produced him with 15 homers and 55 RBIs to five homers and 44 RBIs in the first half of 2009.
Bochy not looking to establish personal catchers
WASHINGTON -- Manager Bruce Bochy emphasized that he wants to avoid developing personal-catcher situations for various pitchers, though Tuesday's lineup against the Washington Nationals might suggest otherwise.For the second game in a row, catcher Hector Sanchez paired with Tim Lincecum, who interrupted a season-long slump to pitch seven shutout innings against the Dodgers last Wednesday. Bochy explained that with an 11 a.m. ET game looming Wednesday, he didn't want Buster Posey behind the plate for two games in a row, and therefore divided catching duties for the series' first two games. Bochy added that with Posey starting at first base Tuesday, he felt compelled to explain that decision to Brandon Belt, who went 3-for-4 on Sunday. Posey has remained more productive over the long term, entering Tuesday hitting .344 (21-for-61) with three homers and nine RBIs in his previous 17 games. Bochy indicated that with the possible exception of Barry Zito's typical pairing with Sanchez, Posey will catch all of San Francisco's starters through the rest of the season, regularly or intermittently.
"I don't want to get to where I have to have certain guys catching certain pitchers," Bochy said.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.