Which player came to camp “huge”?
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Some of the first words out of Gabe Kapler’s mouth on Sunday morning were about wide receiver Curt Casali’s new height. Kapler, still the player’s manager, was just doing his duty.
“He’s huge,” Kapler told reporters gathered in the dugout at Scottsdale Stadium.
“Good,” Casali said later. “I told him.”
Casali, who is expected to be half of the Giants’ supporting duo to replace Buster Posey, quantified the extra bulk: He’s gone up 15 pounds — “mostly good,” he said with a laugh — and that sees. He spent the offseason training with outfielder Mike Yastrzemski at Vanderbilt University, a popular site for many locked-out major league players. Yastrzemski said he’s also gained 15 pounds, though he’s just back to his normal weight after losing weight in the offseason.
As the players arrived for their physicals and first official practice on Sunday, Kapler said there were no other surprises. It’s always a possibility to be badly surprised by seeing a player for the first time in a few months.
“I didn’t have that moment,” Kapler said. “And to be honest with you, last year I had this moment.”
Crawford “a bit behind”
When Brandon Crawford entered the batting box Sunday morning at the Giants practice field, it was the first time he had faced a live pitcher since the lockout began. Crawford warmed up with a few halfhearted hacks, but ended his session by hitting at least one home run into the net over the field fence at center right.
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“I’ll be a little late, but I’m not worried about that,” Crawford said. “I don’t know yet when I will necessarily start games or anything like that, just a little late with baseball-related stuff, more than usual anyway. Just with the difficulty of finding land and a place to hit.
Crawford made an appearance at the Vanderbilt training ground on a trip to Nashville, but mostly spent time at Evan Longoria’s home in Arizona, which is equipped with a batting cage and a ball thrower.
Kapler said this week that the Giants don’t care about traditional boxes to be ticked before a player is ready for the season, like playing nine full innings of a spring training game, and Crawford echoed the same feeling.
“It’s not a big deal to play nine innings by the end of the spring. I think you’re kind of able to be naturally ready,” Crawford said. “If I play seven innings, I will be able to play nine. I think my plan, what I would rather do, would be to play nine innings one of the last two games, just for rep count. But we’ll see how it goes.
La Stella surgery details
When Tommy La Stella went under the knife in October, the only description the Giants provided was that the operation was on his Achilles. A full tendon repair can sideline a player for up to a year, but La Stella was sprinting, turning corners and lining up ground balls on Sunday, six months from surgery.
Turns out the surgery was simply to remove the sheath from his right Achilles, which had become inflamed and was causing La Stella pain while running the bases and moving side to side on defense. It remains unlikely that he will be ready for the opening day, but his prospects are more favorable than expected for the start of the camp.
Without access to the Giants’ coaching staff or facilities during the lockdown, La Stella had to create a rehab plan months in advance, with little possibility of deviating on the fly once the lockdown began, about six weeks after. the operation.
“It was pretty much on me and the physical therapist I worked with staying on it,” La Stella said, showing a two-inch scar on the back of her right ankle. “It was much more difficult to coordinate. We pretty much trusted the program we had worked out in advance.
Two days after it was reported that Carlos Rodón had agreed to a two-year, $44 million contract with the Giants, the team had still not made the signing official. That didn’t delay the southpaw’s arrival at the Giants facility.
Rodón arrived on Saturday and began orienting himself in the only spring training facility.
One of Rodón’s first tasks was to choose a uniform number. The numbers appearing on the back of his jersey took on outsized importance when he signed with San Francisco. Rodón has been wearing number 55 since breaking into the big leagues with Chicago in 2014. No giant has worn that number since Tim Lincecum.
And it will remain so. Rodón, aware of his importance, opted for a different number of 55, although he has yet to make his debut here this spring. Before Rodón makes his spring debut, however, the Giants will need to open up a spot on their 40-man roster, after removing receiver José Godoy from waivers on Sunday.