© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
09/03/07 9:08 PM ET
Notes: Vizquel seeking answers
Munter called up; Bonds rests in Colorado opener
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
DENVER -- Giants veteran shortstop Omar Vizquel is too busy grinding through a season he describes as "weird" to fully concentrate on finding the reasons why. Vizquel arrived at Coors Field for Monday afternoon's opener of a three-game series against the Rockies toting a .245 batting average. He finished last season at .295, second only to the .333 he posted for the Indians in 1999. Vizquel, 40, has dealt with highs and lows for 18 seasons but has no answers now. "I don't really see the difference right now, because you've got so much stuff in your head," Vizquel said. "I'm sure that when you're sitting in your home, taking your time and looking at your videos, you say, 'Wow, I can't believe that I'm doing this.' "I don't have a hitting guy. I've never done that. Everybody's got different ways to approach home plate. I think, being in this game a long time, you should already have an idea [of] what you are doing wrong." Vizquel also admits he'll face the question of whether he's on the down side, but he sees evidence that he isn't. He won't campaign for his 12th career Rawlings Gold Glove. His current total is second only to Ozzie Smith's 13 at the position. He said his hitting struggles could hurt his candidacy, although manager Bruce Bochy said Monday that he'll take time to talk about Vizquel with opposing managers and coaches, who vote. (Managers and coaches cannot vote for their own players.) "That's the question that I ask myself," Vizquel said. "I wonder if it's me that's slowing down or if technically I'm feeling weird at the plate. Only time will tell. Next year, I'm going to really know if that's the case, but I feel OK physically, I'm playing a lot of games and not feeling weird in the field." Vizquel is in the final season of a three-year, $12.25 million contract. He said he has not heard if the Giants plan to re-sign him, but he would like to explore returning to them before anything else. The decision rests with ownership and the front office, but Bochy said Vizquel's defensive dependability would fit the Giants' future direction. "Pitching and defense is such a big part of the game, especially in our division," Bochy said. "Anytime you're strong up the middle, with your pitching, it makes you that much better. As important as pitching itself is the players making the plays up the middle. Omar is still solid there." If it happens, maybe Vizquel can work on the answers for the team's disappointing 2007 performance. "With the kind of talent we have on this ballclub, it's weird that we're standing, like, 13 games out of first place," he said. "I think there have been a lot of key players not having the years they were expecting, like myself. But I think the team looks pretty good. It's not going to take too much time to turn this thing around." Welcome back: Right-hander Scott Munter returned to the Giants from Triple-A Fresno on Monday, for his second stint of this season, as Bochy needed right-handed help. He was 1-6 with a 4.17 ERA for the Grizzlies. Munter, 27, had an outstanding rookie year in 2005 (2-0, 2.56 ERA in 45 games), but experienced right elbow inflammation late that season and underwent a cleanup surgery after the season. He has been trying to get back the power sinker that led to one of baseball's highest ground ball-to-fly ball ratios. "He's been throwing the ball well and has a curveball to go along with the sinker," Bochy said. "He's a guy that can get you a ground ball when you need it." Four promoted: The Giants announced what is believed to be their final quartet of Minor League callups after Monday's game: catcher Eliezer Alfonzo, outfielder Eugenio Velez, left-hander Erick Threets and right-hander Dan Giese. Alfonzo, 28, hit .302 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in 17 games with Triple-A Fresno entering Monday. He began the season as the Giants' backup catcher before spraining his left knee in a home-plate collision on June 8, requiring surgery. Velez, 25, is renowned as one of the fastest players in the Giants' system. He hit .298 with 49 stolen bases in 66 attempts in 96 games with Double-A Connecticut and batted .357 (5-for-14) in three games with Triple-A Fresno. Threets, 25, has been a perennial prospect due to his ability to throw hard, but injuries and poor command have slowed his progress. He posted a 3-1 record with a 3.46 ERA and one save in 40 relief appearances for Fresno. Giese, 29, was 3-1, 2.82, with two saves in 47 appearances with Fresno. After impressing the Giants as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training, Giese amassed 76 strikeouts and only 10 walks in 73 1/3 innings this season. Since Giese was not on the 40-man roster, the Giants will announce a corresponding move Tuesday. The first of (hopefully) few: Hard-throwing righty Brian Wilson pitched in nine of the Giants' last 12 wins. But he suffered a loss Sunday, when he yielded his first run in 12 appearances since being called up on Aug. 11. Still, Wilson has held opponents to a .167 batting average (7-for-42). No Bonds on Monday: After saying Sunday that career home runs leader Barry Bonds would probably start in left field Monday, Bochy changed his mind and went with Randy Winn, which allowed him to put recent callup Nate Schierholtz in right. Bochy said it was his decision and there is no issue with Bonds. Bochy said he plans to use Bonds on Tuesday and Wednesday against the Rockies, and he'll be in the lineup regularly during a six-game homestand starting Friday. The Giants play three against the Dodgers and three against the Diamondbacks. Up next: Bochy said the Giants will start right-hander Tim Lincecum (7-4, 3.94 ERA) on Tuesday against the Rockies at 5:35 p.m. PT, but will keep a close eye on him because of the number of innings he has thrown this season as a rookie. The Rockies will start rookie lefty Franklin Morales (0-2, 4.40).