4/8/2014 5:28 P.M. ET
Batkid gets first-pitch honor at Giants' home opener
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Batkid's return to the scene of one of his famous triumphs highlighted the annual pregame pageantry Tuesday during the countdown to the Giants' home opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Last Nov. 15, Miles Scott, a 5-year-old whose cancer remains in remission, was allowed to portray Batkid, an associate of comic book superhero Batman. The Make-A-Wish foundation, which strives to fulfill the desires of seriously ill children, combined with the city of San Francisco to set up events in which Batkid saved the day. His feats of derring-do made him an instant hero locally and drew nationwide attention.
Batkid ended his series of heroics by speeding to AT&T Park to rescue Giants mascot Lou Seal, who had been bound by heavy rope.
This time, Batkid made a dramatic entrance through the gate in the left-field corner 10 minutes before the game's scheduled start. Through a puff of white smoke came the Batmobile, with Miles in tow -- and full Batkid costume. The Batmobile crept toward the Giants' dugout, briefly interrupting right-hander Tim Hudson's warmups. Once in front of the dugout, Batkid emerged from the car, drawing a standing ovation from the crowd, and was led to the mound by Giants starter Matt Cain. Batkid went into his windup and flung the ceremonial first pitch to Cain, who crouched halfway been the mound and home plate. Though Batkid's toss was a ground ball, he displayed admirable form.
Batkid then returned to the Batmobile and acknowledged fans as the car traveled the circumference of the warning track on its way out of the ballpark.
Earlier, the Giants honored club employees who passed away since last year's opener, with a moment of silence. Their names were shown on the scoreboard along with that of Jerry Coleman, the San Francisco native and San Diego Padres broadcaster who died in January. An enormous American flag, spanning virtually the entire outfield grass, was unfurled as Sebu Simonian of the indie pop duo Capital Cities performed "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Affeldt to get back-to-back rehab outings
SAN FRANCISCO -- Jeremy Affeldt will continue and could conclude his recovery from a sprained right knee with a pair of injury rehabilitation outings Thursday and Friday for Class A Advanced San Jose against Bakersfield, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
The Giants want to make sure that Affeldt can physically handle pitching on back-to-back days before they activate him from the disabled list. Bochy added that Affeldt might pitch more than one inning in one of those outings, another prerequisite for a reliever in his role.
Affeldt understands why the Giants want to make sure he's completely healthy before he rejoins them. Trying to pitch through pain and various ailments last year, the left-hander made only 39 appearances last season.
"If you ask me, I want to compete, so I'm fine," Affeldt said. "But from their perspective, especially after last year, I can see why they're a little more cautious. ... I'm on their terms. No room to complain. When they're ready to have me back, I'm sure they'll have me back."
The Giants also need to buy as much time as possible to decide who to send to the Minor Leagues when Affeldt's activated. The three relievers who appear most vulnerable to being demoted or waived -- Jean Machi (2-0, 0.00 ERA), David Huff (.231 opponents' batting average) and Juan Gutierrez (five strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings) have performed capably.
Hicks earning more time at second base
SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Hicks has elevated his status from non-roster Spring Training invitee to the Giants' No. 1 second baseman, for now.
"I'm going with the hotter bat," manager Bruce Bochy said Tuesday, explaining the emergence of Hicks, who was tabbed to start Tuesday's home opener.
Hicks, 28, had started at second base twice entering Tuesday, sharing the spot with rookie Ehire Adrianza (three starts) and Joaquin Arias (two starts). Though the sample size was small, Hicks clearly outperformed his counterparts offensively, batting .444 (4-for-9) with two doubles and a home run. Arias was hitting .111 (1-for-9) and Adrianza was at .083 (1-for-12).
Bochy also noted that he considered Hicks, Arias and Adrianza to be comparable defenders, though Hicks did commit a second-inning throwing error Tuesday that allowed a run to score.
Responding to a question, Bochy said he had not discussed the situation with Arias, who had been considered the leading second-base alternative while Marco Scutaro works on strengthening his lower back.
"He knows he's going to be in the mix," Bochy said, citing Arias' ability to play shortstop and third base as well as second.
Before this year, Hicks had appeared in 55 Major League games with the Braves and A's while playing seven professional seasons.
Giants load up on homers early in season
SAN FRANCISCO -- History confirmed that the Giants' slugging on their season-opening trip was truly unusual.
According to STATS, the 11 homers they hit at Arizona and Los Angeles was their highest total for a two-city journey since they mashed 12 at Chicago's Wrigley Field and Colorado's Coors Field from Sept. 21-26, 2010.
The Giants also entered Tuesday leading the Majors in home runs. The last time they led the National League was 2001, when Barry Bonds' record output of 73 swelled their team total to 235. San Francisco last led the Majors with 150 in 1972.