WASHINGTON D.C. -- When Yusmeiro Petit reported to spring training with the Nationals in February, the same game came up over and over again: His brilliant six-inning relief outing in Game 2 of the 2014 NLDS.
"Everybody reminds me about that, especially the fans," he said Sunday morning, smiling. "They talk about it a lot. They say, you better do that for us too."
So far, Petit is doing everything he did as an underrated piece for the Giants. He has a 2.72 ERA in 26 appearances for the Nationals, with a 1.15 WHIP. He has made just one start and with a couple top prospects on the way, it's unlikely that he'll fully reprise the spot starter role he had for the Giants for four seasons. Petit said he has mostly had shorter appearances, and he likes that.
"I feel good," he said. "They've given me a chance to pitch in different situations. I like it here. The weather is different so I had to be ready for that, but I made the adjustment to a new ballpark and I like this park."
Petit still follows the Giants from afar and said he's in touch with Angel Pagan, Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla and others. When the Nationals came to AT&T Park last weekend, Petit was met by a steady stream of former teammates and coaches. He was a popular Giant, a good presence in the clubhouse, and a valuable do-everything tool for Bruce Bochy. The Giants decided to move on, though.
Petit said Bobby Evans called his agent early in the offseason and relayed that the organization was going in a different direction. With the money spent on Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, the Giants did not want to pay all that much for a long reliever. (Petit is making $2.5 million for the Nationals this season.) Petit has no hard feelings.
"They signed some big pitchers, and I understand that," he said. "It's a business."
--- Hunter Pence has one hell of a shiner, but he feels good and Bochy expects him to play Monday in Miami. Pence had X-rays Saturday night that came back negative.
"There was a little concern," Bochy said. "That's an easy bone to fracture, a soft bone."
Pence was scheduled to be off today anyway, and Bochy said he'll meet with today's right fielder. Gregor Blanco struck out four times yesterday and has just four hits in his last 32 at-bats.
"Blanco needs a hit for his confidence and for his personality, for everything," Bochy said, smiling. "He was a little down yesterday and he's such an upbeat guy. He's had a tough go, but he's got the experience to come out of it."
The good news for Blanco: He crushes at Marlins Park (he lives in Miami), so he may find some comfort over the next few days.
--- Josh Osich joined Double-A Richmond and will pitch an inning tomorrow. Cory Gearrin is looking good, Bochy said, and his rehab assignment for the River Cats could end soon. The Giants have some tough decisions to make, but Bochy is excited about getting some fresh arms. He said he's concerned about the bullpen usage of late.
--- Mac Williamson is taking swings off a tee.