SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Ron Wotus said only one part of his day was different than usual on Friday, when he was technically in charge of camp as manager Bruce Bochy rested following a heart procedure. It was Wotus, not Bochy, who had to talk to reporters after the workout, but the timing was actually pretty good.
Today was the day that MLB put out a release regarding new pace-of-play rules and modifications to the instant replay system, and Wotus is a key cog in the way the Giants handle the latter. He said the Giants likely will keep the same routine, with coach Shawon Dunston and BP pitcher Chad Chop watching monitors in the clubhouse and Wotus manning the phone and alerting Bochy of Dunston-Chop recommendation. Managers no longer have to walk out on the field; they will alert the umpire from the top step of the dugout either verbally or with a hand signal.
“Anything they can do to speed up the replay process is a positive,” Wotus said. “The way it was implemented was good for the first year, but I think it could be improved.”
Members of the staff will meet with MLB executive vice president Joe Torre next week to discuss the changes. In his first day as "acting manager," Wotus spent a few minutes telling players about the new pace-of-play rules, and a copy of the MLB press release was placed on every clubhouse chair when players took the field.
It’ll be an adjustment for players, for sure, and some grumbled about the changes Friday. As for the replay system, well, the Giants coaches shouldn’t change what they were doing. It was working: Bochy had 22 overturned calls in 35 challenges last year.
Nothing to challenge today, except for the lack of sun. Here are some notes from Day 3 in Arizona …
STOCK UP: It’s so hard to actually tell if guys are on the right track in bullpen sessions, but Tim Lincecum looked sharp and seemed to have much better command of his mechanics. Lincecum worked quickly, got a ton of pitches in and seemed to be doing a nice job of keeping the ball down. That’s always an issue for him out here in the desert. But don’t take my word for it. Chris Lincecum was watching from the deck above the bullpen, and he was very pleased.
STOCK DOWN: James Shields’ Even-Year Title Odds. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported that the Giants offered Shields four years and $80 million in December, but he didn’t take it and the offer was pulled when the Giants re-signed Jake Peavy a few weeks later. As they left the winter meetings, team officials talked about how they couldn’t afford to wait until January to make such a big decision, and ultimately Shields took his time before signing with the Padres. Ultimately, he ended up with $5 million less, too.
PROSPECT WATCH: Think Mac Williamson is itching to get back on the field? The outfielder has been rehabbing from Tommy John surgery for most of the past year, so you’d think he’d be sick of Scottsdale Stadium. Nope. Williamson and infielder Mitch Delfino were on the dugout rail the past two days soaking in every bit of batting practice. Like many of the position players scheduled to be in camp, the two have been coming in early to do conditioning work and hit in the cages.
Williamson hit .292 with 25 homers, 31 doubles, 10 stolen bases and a .375 on-base percentage for the High-A San Jose Giants in 2013, and hell, he might have been in the mix for the left field job at this point had he stayed healthy. But the elbow was barking late last spring and Williamson was only able to DH in 23 pre-surgery games for San Jose. Even then, he raked, posting a .318/.420/.506 slugging percentage.
He’s 100 percent at the moment and ready for a full camp. Assuming all goes well, Williamson will be at Double-A Richmond this season. As we learned last year (see: Matt Duffy and Hunter Strickland), the trip from Richmond to AT&T Park can be a short one.
Delfino is in his first camp and he’s coming off a solid year. He hit .289 with 12 homers and 28 doubles while playing third base for San Jose last year.
FRESH FACE: Remember when the Giants had Andrew Susac, Hector Sanchez and Tommy Joseph in camp in 2012 and coaches raved about their catching depth? Well, they still have that depth thanks to Susac and Sanchez, and there might be a new guy to watch. Williamson said to look out for Aramis Garcia, and the 2014 second-round pick sure looked comfortable on the main field. Garcia has a nice swing, and it’s easy to see how he hit .368 and slugged .626 at Florida International last year.
QUOTABLE: Cain and Tim Hudson both had ankle surgery over the past few months, although Cain has long since healed while Hudson is still rehabbing. So, when they’re healthy, who wins a race?
“I’ll probably beat him backwards,” Cain said.