Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Batter Up March 27th by Marty Lurie

When baseball fans hear names such as Johnny Sain, Walt Hriniak, Charlie Lau, and Leo Mazzone they immediately recognize some of the most successful major league coaches in baseball history, men who have shaped the careers of numerous hall of famers.

Add A’s infield coach Ron Washington to the above list.

Click below for more!Washington supervises voluntary 8 30 AM spring training workouts for any A’s infielder self motivated to improve his game. Past results with Miguel Tejada, Eric Chavez, Mark Ellis, and even Jason Giambi speak for themselves.

It took some shaky infield play this spring from new A’s second baseman Keith Ginter to make the former Brewer realize he needed Washington’s help. After three weeks of trying to shake the “rattle” from his glove on his own, Ginter has seen the light and now is enrolled in the early morning workouts.

You’ll find three of the best defensive right fielders in baseball in the AL West. Seattle’s Ichiro, Anaheim’s Vlad Guerrero, and Texas’s Richard Hidalgo have cannons for arms.

The Rangers are everybody’s dark horse to win the West. I don’t see it being that easy for Texas. Frank Francisco and Francisco Cordero both mainstays of the Texas pen in 2004 are slow coming around this spring due to sore arms. A rotation featuring Pedro Astacio, Chan Ho Park, and Kenny Rogers will not make it to October.

The best young players I’ve seen in Arizona this spring: Texas first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Royals infielder Ruben Gotay, Cub farm hands outfielder Felix Pie and first baseman Brian Dopirak, A’s reliever Huston Street, and Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez.

Another pitcher having a great spring is White Sox rookie Brandon McCarthy. One slip in the Sox rotation and McCarthy gets the call.

Ken Macha brought Street in to get a key out with two on and two out in the sixth inning against the Cubs this week. He got the job done quickly. I expect Street to be used that way in key mid game situations until he’s ready for more, which should be by mid June.

If Juan Cruz, a notorious free thinker on the mound, gets on the same wavelength as his catcher Jason Kendall, everyone in the A’s camp will breathe much more easily. Cruz has great stuff if he keeps focused on the mound.

Lefties Jason Christiansen and Wayne Franklin have struggled in short relief for the Giants this spring. All of a sudden 42 year old Jeff Fassero has an excellent chance to make the team.

Reliever Brandon Lyon, injured all last year after coming over to Arizona in the Curt Schilling trade has been lights out. Lyon might be the Diamonbacks closer if Greg Aquino fails the test early in the year.

Yankee center fielder Bernie Williams is such a poor defensive outfielder scouts say he costs the Bombers 10 to 12 runs per week as base runners continuously take extra bases on Bernie. The Yanks should pick up a solid defensive replacement for the aging star pronto.

The Angels miss shortstop David Eckstein more than you think. Eckstein, now a Cardinal, fit into the Halos style of play much more than new shortstop Orlando Cabrera.

Eckstein would work the count and execute the hit and run, a totally unselfish winning player. Cabrera’s approach to the game has some Angel people worried. The Red Sox apparently knew what they were doing by signing Edgar Renteria over Cabrera this winter.

Remember former Angels reliever Derrick Turnbow? He was suspended from international play two years ago for failing a drug test. Turnbow now with Milwaukee
doesn’t throw 100 mph anymore, but he has resurrected his career. He’s thrown well enough in the Cactus League to merit serious consideration as the Brewers closer.

If you want real insight into what made Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, and Tim Hudson tick as pitchers and teammates, then check out’s Mychael Urban’s new book “Aces”, the personal story of the big three.

With rumors swirling that Barry Bonds’s trainer Greg Anderson might plead guilt any day more trouble may be on the way for the slugger. Standard procedure after the guilty plea would be for the US Attorney to debrief Anderson about his admitted illegal activity. If Anderson is perceived less than candid about the Bonds’s possible connection to BALCO, then the plea agreement might be set aside.

On the other hand if Anderson implicates Bonds for steroid use, perjury charges become more likely for the former MVP.

In any case, Bonds should return to baseball as soon as possible. The ball field is the only place he has validity. Everything else he does or says is a total bore.


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