3/13/2013 9:55 P.M. ET
Zito working to eliminate spring inconsistencies
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Barry Zito wasn't thrilled about his one-run, 3 1/3-inning performance Wednesday against the Cincinnati Reds, nor was he overly concerned.
San Francisco's No. 4 starter will receive at least four more Spring Training starts to eliminate the inconsistencies with his command. If nothing else, the left-hander continued to build stamina in the Giants' 9-5 Cactus League triumph by throwing 70 pitches.
"It's not ideal not to finish four innings with 70 pitches, but it's better to get that work in now," said Zito, who yielded five hits and escaped a Reds threat when Ryan Ludwick hit a one-hop smash that third baseman Joaquin Arias turned into an inning-ending double play in the third inning.
Meulens set to manage Dutch on 'home turf'
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Months ago, when Hensley Meulens was named to manage the World Baseball Classic team for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, he didn't allow himself to fantasize about returning to AT&T Park as a conquering hero of sorts.
"You don't think you're going to get there because it was so far ahead, with all the countries involved," Meulens said. "But then you see it come closer and closer and closer and you say, 'Well, this is going to be pretty cool, to get to play on our home turf, to try to win something for our country.' It's very, very special."
Meulens indeed anticipates his upcoming trip with his team to AT&T for the Classic's semifinal round. The 45-year-old has experienced plenty of thrills at the bayside ballpark as a hitting coach with the Giants, who have won two of the last three World Series. Now, he awaits more excitement.
"I'm essentially representing the Giants and the Dutch on Monday," Meulens said, referring to the date of the Netherlands' next Classic confrontation against an opponent yet to be determined. "And hopefully on Tuesday."
With the Netherlands training in the Phoenix area for the Classic semis, Meulens seized the chance to visit the Giants' Scottsdale Stadium training complex to say hello to players and fellow coaches. He also expressed gratitude, stating that the Giants organization was "very generous" to allow him to leave the club for nearly a month.
Meulens has continued to monitor San Francisco's hitters with help from fellow hitting coach Joe Lefebvre, who sends him daily text messages about the Giants' offense.
Naming Lefebvre and every other hitting coach and instructor in camp, Meulens said, "We speak the same language when we talk to the hitters."
Asked if he'd like to manage in the Major Leagues, Meulens replied, "If it happens down the road, yeah, why not? I've always been a leader-type -- wherever I've been, everything I've done. It's kind of fun doing it now. You're kind of in charge of the entire game. Now I know what 'Boch' [Giants manager Bruce Bochy] goes through every day."
But Meulens responded with a definitive "No" when asked if he would be willing to serve an apprenticeship as a Minor League manager -- mainly because he cherishes his position with the Giants.
"This is a dream job," Meulens said. "I don't want to lose it. We have great management, a great staff, a great group of players. Two of the last three years, we won. It's because of the personnel we have."
Scutaro discusses learning experience in Classic
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro returned from his stint with Venezuela's World Baseball Classic squad, indicating that he and his teammates lacked the time to jell properly.
"It takes more than the 28 players on the roster," Scutaro said Wednesday. "We played two exhibition games before the tournament started. Sometimes it takes longer to get that chemistry. But you have no time to think about that kind of stuff. You have to go out there and try to perform."
Scutaro participated in a light workout for players who didn't appear in San Francisco's 9-5 Cactus League victory over Cincinnati. The Most Valuable Player of last year's National League Championship Series could return to the lineup as early as Thursday in a game against Japan's World Baseball Classic squad.
Asked what he gained from his Classic experience, Scutaro said, "You never stop learning from this game. I always compare it to medicine. A doctor never stops studying. That's pretty much how this game is. You need to make adjustments day in, day out. You can learn from veteran guys or young kids."
Pill to start season on DL after meniscus injury
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- First baseman Brett Pill will be sidelined for approximately three weeks after he undergoes arthroscopic surgery on his right meniscus, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Wednesday.
Pill, 28, entered camp as a leading candidate to claim a reserve role, particularly if he proved to be competent in left field. As a right-handed batter, he potentially could have complemented left-handed-batting Gregor Blanco, the projected Opening Day starter in left. Instead, Pill likely will begin the season on the disabled list.
Pill's injury provides fresh hope for Cole Gillespie and Francisco Peguero, two other right-handed-batting outfielders. Rookies Gary Brown and Juan Perez also bat right-handed but appear to be longshots.
Pill ranks second among the Giants with seven RBIs this spring, despite appearing in just 10 of 18 Cactus League games. He's batting .259 (7-for-27) with two home runs and a .593 slugging percentage.
In stints with the Giants during the previous two seasons, Pill appeared in 63 games, batting .239 with six home runs, 20 RBIs and a .419 slugging percentage.
• With his two-day offensive outburst, Johnny Monell may have played himself into serious consideration for a reserve catching role. The non-roster invitee homered Tuesday night off San Diego's Freddy Garcia before going 3-for-4 with three runs scored and three RBIs in the Giants' 9-5 Cactus League victory Wednesday over Cincinnati. Monell is unlikely to vault past Hector Sanchez and Guillermo Quiroz on the pecking order, but he has impressed the Giants' brass by hitting .600 (9-for-15) thus far.
"He's doing what you want young players to do. He's calling attention to himself," said Bochy, noting that Monell is a valuable commodity as a left-handed-batting catcher. "I'm impressed by the way he's swinging. He's forced the issue a little bit."
• Outfielder Andres Torres felt nauseous and left Wednesday's game before the bottom of the third inning. Torres was thrown out at third base as he tried to stretch a double into a triple, then, according to Bochy, vomited after returning to the dugout.
• Rookies Ricky Oropesa and Perez both hit their first Cactus League homers, going back to back in the Giants' six-run eighth inning. Oropesa and Perez encouraged Bochy, who said that both had been swinging too tentatively in recent games.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.