03/16/2013 8:38 PM ET
Quiroz quickly forging bond with Giants pitchers
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- If experience is the best teacher, then Giants catcher Guillermo Quiroz should have a Masters degree in baseball.
Quiroz, 31, has played professionally since 1999, less than a year after Toronto signed him as a non-drafted free agent. He has played for five Major League teams, including two stints with Seattle. Since reaching the Majors with Toronto in 2004, Quiroz has hit .206 in 103 Major League appearances.
Quiroz's knack for bonding quickly with pitchers has enabled him to remain employed, though he has almost always been a backup catcher, even in the Minors.
"From Day 1, you start creating that relationship," Quiroz said on Saturday. "If you're behind the plate, they want to be able to trust what [signs] you put down."
Playing for Lara in the Venezuelan Winter League last offseason, Quiroz got the attention of Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens, who managed the league's Margarita club. The Giants needed veteran catching depth after dropping Eli Whiteside early in the offseason. Quiroz filled the void by signing with the Giants on Nov. 20.
He will probably will begin the season with Triple-A Fresno. But if Quiroz receives a promotion at some juncture -- Hector Sanchez's shoulder woes could create an opening -- he knows he'll feel comfortable with the Giants.
"It's a great group of guys," he said. "They're humble, they have great chemistry and it feels great to be part of this team."
Left-handed pitcher Madison Bumgarner implied that Quiroz's presence has been more than welcome.
"He's smart. He knows the game, knows how to catch," Bumgarner said. "It's tough right now because we're doing stuff you wouldn't ordinarily do during the season. But I like throwing to him."
Bumgarner matches Cain with solid outing
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants are providing hints that their starting pitching can remain as formidable as it has been for the past few seasons.
Madison Bumgarner lasted five innings in Saturday's 7-6 Cactus League loss to the Cincinnati Reds, matching the length of Matt Cain's performance Friday against Texas. Bumgarner allowed one run and two hits to the Reds, nearly duplicating the two hits Cain yielded while blanking Texas.
"[Bumgarner] and Matt have gone back-to-back days where they've been hitting spots and their secondary pitches have looked good," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of his top two starters. "Madison's not quite there, but what a great outing for him."
Bumgarner, who whittled his Cactus League ERA to 1.84, agreed with the "not quite" part of Bochy's remark.
"Right now, I feel like I'll be ready at about the time I need to be," Bumgarner said. "Everything felt in rhythm more."
The lone run Bumgarner allowed was recorded by Billy Hamilton, who showcased his breathtaking speed with a leadoff first-inning triple. Hamilton's accelerated trip around the bases prompted Bumgarner to say, "I was thinking of backing up home" in anticipation of an attempt at an inside-the-park home run.
Typically one of the Giants' most proficient pitchers with a bat, Bumgarner doubled with two outs in the fifth inning off Reds reliever Logan Ondrusek.
"I got lucky and slapped one down the line," Bumgarner said modestly.
Vogelsong, Affeldt returning to Giants on Sunday
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong and left-hander Jeremy Affeldt are expected to rejoin the Giants on Sunday following their stint with Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, manager Bruce Bochy said on Saturday.
Vogelsong absorbed the decision in the 4-3 loss to Puerto Rico on Friday that eliminated the United States from the Classic, though he bequeathed a 1-0 deficit to the bullpen when he left the game in the sixth inning.
Vogelsong threw 73 pitches against Puerto Rico, approximately the same workload that Giants starters have reached.
"He's on schedule to be ready [for the regular season]," Bochy said of the No. 5 starter who led the team in postseason victories (3-0) last year. For Team USA, Vogelsong finished 1-1 with a 3.72 ERA in two starts.
Affeldt threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings spanning three relief appearances for the Americans.
The imminent return of Vogelsong and Affeldt leaves center fielder Angel Pagan (Puerto Rico), right-hander Santiago Casilla (Dominican Republic) and hitting coach Hensley Meulens (manager, Kingdom of the Netherlands) as the remaining Giants absent due to the Classic.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.