Programming note: For all of the latest Giants news from spring training watch SportsNet Central tonight at 6:00, 10:30 and midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Giants have several young pitching prospects in big league camp for the first time, including live-armed 21-year-old Kyle Crick.
So I asked elder statesman Matt Cain what kind of approach he takes to welcome them.
“Make them as uncomfortable as possible,” Cain said with a wry smile.
Cain gave Crick an assignment before the first workout Monday. The young right-hander had to go around the clubhouse, introduce himself and shake everybody’s hand. Cain howled in protest when Crick did a quick left-handed shake with Madison Bumgarner.
“Left hand? That doesn’t count!” Cain said. “They must do things different in Texas, I guess.”
Cain has been looking forward to Crick’s arrival for some time. He watched video of Crick on a webcast and was impressed with his delivery and arm speed – all qualities that have drawn comparisons to Cain.
The two right-handers had a chance to meet and greet last summer, when Cain went to Arizona to throw a side session while Giants played a quick two-game series in Toronto. Crick was at the Giants’ minor league complex rehabbing an oblique injury.
Cain counseled Crick on how to use his pitches, areas to focus on improving and staying motivated to put in his conditioning work between starts.
[BAGGARLY: Giants never lost sight of top prospect Escobar]
Once they occupied the same clubhouse this spring, though, it was game on. The way Cain sees it, it’s his duty to make Crick a little uncomfortable. After all, that’s the treatment Cain remembered receiving in his first big league camp
“When Barry Bonds called me out in front of the entire team,” Cain said. “He was just asking me questions the way he does, and they were simple ones. But when you’re 19 years old trying to answer in front of everyone, they didn’t seem so simple. `When did you graduate high school? What year were you born? 1984? That was my first year in pro ball.’ Stuff like that.”
Crick was born in 1992, by the way.
I think Giants fans are going to like Michael Morse. I asked him whether he prefers to be called Mike or Michael.
“Either one. You can call me whatever you want,” he said. “If I’m not hitting and it’s July, you can call me ‘jerk.’”
Angel Pagan arrived in camp, along with Gregor Blanco and Joaquin Arias. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen all the position players with the exception of Juan Perez, Angel Villalona and Marco Scutaro.
The full squad reports Tuesday and the first full workout is Wednesday. Bruce Bochy said there could be live batting practice as soon as Thursday.
Bochy knows that Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon takes a lot of pride in decorating his office. But Maddon was ready to wave the surrender flag once he saw a picture of the huge elk mounted on Bochy's office wall. "He got one look at Bullwinkle," said Bochy, "and that's all it took."