SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — With his boss resting at home, Ron Wotus turned to the “The Boss.”
Bruce Springsteen blared through the Scottsdale Stadium speakers as catchers took batting practice. Bruce Bochy prefers something a little more upbeat, but he took a second day off while recovering from a minor heart procedure.
Bochy is expected back Sunday, and Wotus, who controls the details of camp, said he’ll ease the manager in with some relaxing country music.
Elsewhere on Day 4 of camp …
FAMILIAR FACE: On the Brandon Scale, Brandon Hicks -- with a beard and flowing locks -- now has a style that’s closer to Crawford’s than Belt’s. The infielder is back in big league camp after signing a minor-league deal in January. It’s easy to forget now, but Hicks played a key role early in the 2014 season, helping the Giants stay afloat at second base long before Joe Panik staked his claim to the position.
Hicks hit eight homers — including a go-ahead shot off Clayton Kershaw — in the first 41 games and played strong defense alongside Crawford, but he was hitless in his final 25 at-bats and was DFA’d July 11.
“Offensively, I got in a little funk,” he said. “I was trying to do too much. I have a tendency to get in that (swing for the fences) mode. I hit a couple and wanted to keep doing it. It gets fun.”
Hicks got a ring, and it was earned given his contributions in April and May. But it wasn’t always easy for Hicks to watch the October magic from his Texas home. He said he can’t yet look back on last season and fully appreciate his early contributions.
“I’ll do so more in a few years,” he said. “It’s hard when you’re not there to go through (the postseason).”
Still, Hicks happily returned to the organization, even though Panik looks like a keeper and others — like Matt Duffy, Joaquin Arias and Ehire Adrianza — are still on the depth chart.
“I enjoyed my time here,” the 29-year-old said. “You want to go somewhere where you’re comfortable.”
The Giants wanted Hicks back to add a layer of depth, which they needed last year (See: Uggla, Dan). And you never know where the random contribution will come from during a championship season. Hicks needs only to look down his row of lockers to know that. Travis Ishikawa is parked a few feet away.
ACROSS TOWN: Barry Zito threw a bullpen session for the A’s today, and told reporters — including our Joe Stiglich — that he’s ditched his cutter to go back to the fastball, curveball, changeup mix. That’s a bit stunning given how often Zito relied on the cutter while with the Giants.
"I think my delivery just degraded (the last few years),” Zito said, according to Stiglich. “The cutter, for me, messed a lot of things up.”
STOCK UP: OK, so Madison Bumgarner’s stock couldn’t possibly be any higher. But on a slow day, I’m using this section to point out that Bumgarner’s arm seems to be doing just fine. He was snapping breaking balls across the plate during a bullpen session when catcher Buster Posey yelled, “Too hard.” There will be no “easing into camp” for the Sportsman of the Year.
Speaking of left-handers, Posey caught Ty Blach and seemed to be pretty impressed. The 24-year-old lefty had a 3.13 ERA in 25 Double-A starts last season.
QUOTABLE: “The stuff I say generally is correct.” — The Great Marty Lurie, who stayed as optimistic as possible when the Giants tanked last summer and KNBR’s phone lines blew up. Turned out he was right.