DENVER What happens when Angel Pagan reaches base ninetimes in a two-game span?
I didnt know he had teeth for a little while, Giantsmanager Bruce Bochy said.
After more than a month of frustrating at-bats, scowls atumpires and one painful moment of self-immolation with an inanimate object,Pagan is smiling again. He made an adjustment to help him from the left side ofthe plate. Its translating to better contact from the right side, too.
I felt like I opened my eyes, Pagan said. You can neverlose your confidence, plain and simple. You cannot lose your belief inyourself. You get here early and theres so much work you put in so you canhelp the team in any way. When you do, you feel good.
Right now, I feel great.
Bochy said Pagan could be a real shot in the arm if hekeeps producing, especially if he can stamp himself as the Giants leadoff man.
Entering the game, here is what the Giants had received fromthe top spot in the order:
Name StartsAverage OBP
Gregor Blanco 68 .240 .334
Angel Pagan 26 .259 .289
Nate Schierholtz 8 .207 .303
Justin Christian 6 .211 .286
Marco Scutaro 2 .250 .300
No, Pagan is not an ideal leadoff man. But with Hunter Pencehitting fifth and Pablo Sandoval soon to return as the No.6 hitter, there mightnot be a better fit for him. Hell have to outperform Gregor Blanco, a moreprototypical leadoff presence, to keep getting at-bats in center field.
And that means Pagan will have to keep making contact. InJuly, he struck out 19 times and drew just four walks in 86 plate appearances.In two games at Coors Field, he hasnt whiffed once.
He started at leadoff because the Rockies were throwingleft-handers in each of the first two games in the series. He hit his home run Saturdayoff Rockies lefty Rex Brothers, But he did plenty of damage from the left sideagainst the Rockies right-handed relievers, too.
Youve just got to keep believing, man, he said. You seewhat you can do to make it better. It can be just a hair of an adjustment, butsomehow you have to make it better and have better at-bats.
Bochy was pleased that the Giants and Xavier Nady were ableto come to terms on a minor league contract.
Its well worth taking a look, Bochy said. I know him andI know hes got a big bat, with great power.
Nady, who broke in while Bochy was managing the San DiegoPadres, hasnt played since late June because of a wrist injury. Bochy saidaccording to what he knows, Nady is healthier now.
The Giants continue to turn over stones looking forright-handed relief help. Id be shocked if they didnt make at least one ortwo waiver deals over the coming days and weeks.
Theyll get one guy back soon. Guillermo Mota can beginworking out at the Giants complex in Arizona 20 games before his 100-gamesuspension is up. Mota, who blamed his positive drug test on childrens coughsyrup, is eligible to return Aug. 28.
Saturday nights game was made for Mota. Instead, Brad Pennymissed over the plate and Clay Hensley walked the leadoff batter in the eighthdespite a five-run lead. No, it hasnt been pretty.
You know what? Im not concerned, Bochy said. Penny, Ithought he had good stuff. Hensley has been pitching a lot and Im sure hes alittle tired. I think well be all right, especially with that 13thpitcher.
Brandon Belt watched with approval as the U.S. team rompedto victory in the 4x100 medley relay. He said he was quite the swimmer as a kidand holds an undefeated record at the city pool where he grew up in Texas.
How could I lose with these flippers? he said, pointing tohis size 15s.