03/08/2013 7:00 PM ET
Romo promises to be honest about arm
Giants closer gets heavy work in World Baseball Classic opener
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Manager Bruce Bochy related that Sergio Romo vowed to be frank about the condition of his right arm Friday, 24 hours after the Giants right-hander yielded two ninth-inning runs in Mexico's 6-5 World Baseball Classic loss to Italy.
Romo, performing in the closer's role that he holds with the Giants, threw 26 pitches against Italy, four fewer than the 30-pitch daily limit that governs relievers. Privately, this upset Giants coaches and officials, since Romo -- or any pitcher -- could be vulnerable to injury due to a heavy workload at this early juncture of the baseball calendar.
But Bochy sounded calm after contacting Romo, who remained eligible to pitch in Mexico's game Friday night against the United States.
"He says his arm's doing fine," Bochy said. "He'll play catch [before the game] and be honest where he is. If he doesn't think he should be out there, he's going to say something. It's hard to tell until you throw."
Asked how he felt about Romo's blown save, Bochy replied, "You don't like to see it. Does it concern me? No. He was ready when he left here. As I said earlier, we were vigilant with these guys being ready to go at game speed in this World Baseball Classic."
After all, Bochy added, "You got a guy's career [at stake] here if he doesn't feel right."
Had Romo flung four more pitches, he would have been ordered to rest Friday night.
"To be honest, I wouldn't have minded if he threw four more," Bochy acknowledged.
Predictably, Romo's inability to preserve Mexico's lead bothered him.
"His pride's been hurt a little bit," Bochy said. "He's a competitor and he's pitching for his country."
Romo threw more than 26 pitches only once during 2012. That was in his initial appearance of the season, April 8 at Arizona, where he logged 27 pitches.
In his remaining 68 regular-season outings, Romo threw as many as 21 pitches just twice -- Aug. 5 at Colorado and Sept. 15 at Arizona. He threw 35 pitches while saving Game 5 of the National League Championship Series at Cincinnati, an effort which included his memorable 12-pitch confrontation with Jay Bruce.
Romo then rested three days before his first NL Championship Series appearance and never threw more than 21 pitches in any of his final seven postseason outings.
Lincecum slated for simulated game Saturday
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Tim Lincecum, recovering gradually from a blister on the middle finger of his throwing hand, will pitch in a simulated game Saturday to prepare for a Cactus League start Tuesday night against San Diego, manager Bruce Bochy said.
Bochy said Friday that the simulated game will enable the Giants to regulate Lincecum's activity more easily. Bochy added that plenty of time remains to get Lincecum ready for his first regular-season start, scheduled for April 3 at Los Angeles.
Lincecum has been scratched twice from starts, but felt good throwing off a bullpen mound Thursday. He also felt satisfactory after his lone Cactus League outing, despite yielding three runs and four hits in 1 1/3 innings against the Dodgers.
Yusmeiro Petit, one of several candidates for the club's sole bullpen vacancy, will try to strengthen his candidacy Saturday when he starts in place of Lincecum against Kansas City in Scottsdale. Petit, 28, has recorded two strong outings this spring, throwing two shutout innings Feb. 26 against the Dodgers and blanking the Cubs for three innings March 2. At the very least, Petit should reclaim a starting role with the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies, for whom he started 28 games last year.
Zito makes most of rain-filled day
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Despite Friday's canceled Cactus League matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Barry Zito gave his left arm the work it needed.
After rain delayed the start of the game for 30 minutes, hail and more showers halted play for 26 additional minutes with two outs in the bottom of the first inning. That prompted manager Bruce Bochy to remove Zito from the game, but it didn't end the left-hander's workday. Having thrown approximately 24 pitches against the Dodgers, Zito went to the bullpen and added about 40 more to his count.
That exceeded the limit of 50 to 55 pitches Zito was prescribed to throw against the Dodgers. But, as he explained, "It's a little different with no adrenaline. You have to turn up the pitch count."
The Dodgers roughed up Zito during his lone inning, scoring three runs on four hits. With two outs and Mark Ellis on first base via a walk, Andre Ethier, Juan Uribe and Yasiel Puig singled consecutively, generating two runs. Alex Castellanos added the fourth hit in a row, a ground-rule double that delivered Uribe.
"I was just missing out over the plate a little bit," Zito said. "They were swinging the bat aggressively."
Boof Bonser relieved Zito in the top of the second inning but faced only two hitters before another downpour prompted the game's conclusion.
• Credit Giants catcher Buster Posey with hastening the decision to cancel Friday's Cactus League game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. When the afternoon's third shower struck, Posey didn't hesitate to run for the clubhouse.
"The umpires were staying out there. Buster was the one that left," Bochy noted with amusement. "He said, 'I'm done.' Didn't give them a choice."
• Left-hander Javier Lopez, who has recovered from the bruise on his pitching hand, is expected to make his Cactus League debut Saturday against Kansas City. Lopez was scheduled to pitch against the Dodgers before the rainout.
• Bochy said that catcher Hector Sanchez (right calf) has been cleared to play and likely would start Sunday against Milwaukee.
• Bochy reported that outfielder Andres Torres (oblique), who feels "much better," might be ready to resume playing Sunday or Monday. Bochy said that Torres can swing right-handed and has begun to hit left-handed in a batting cage.
• The Giants made their first roster cuts of the spring, trimming their Cactus League roster to 59 players. First baseman Angel Villalona was optioned to the Class A San Jose roster. Reassigned to Minor League camp were catcher Andrew Susac, infielder Joe Panik, left-hander Josh Osich and right-handers Fabio Castillo, Edward Concepcion, Justin Fitzgerald and Jose Valdez.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.