SAN FRANCISCO -- Carlos Beltran, who finished last season with the Giants and now ranks among the National League's most productive hitters, expressed no ill feelings over the unceremonious end of his San Francisco tenure.Beltran, the reigning National League Player of the Week, said that the Giants never called him to express interest in retaining him.
"I was willing to come back," Beltran said Wednesday.Giants vice president of baseball operations Bobby Evans said that though he or other club representatives never spoke directly with Beltran, the club maintained regular contact with his agents through the Winter Meetings in December in hopes of forging a deal. Beltran ultimately signed a two-year, $26 million contract with St. Louis. Beltran had only good things to say about the Giants, who obtained him from the New York Mets for pitching prospect Zack Wheeler shortly before last year's Trade Deadline. "I really enjoyed my time here, even though we didn't make it to where we wanted to go [the postseason]," said Beltran, who led the NL with 13 home runs and ranked second with 32 RBIs and 28 runs entering Wednesday. "Good fans, also." Beltran also spoke graciously of outfielders Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera, whom the Giants obtained to bolster the offense.
"They're going to help the team," Beltran said.
Toe injury forces Cabrera out of lineup
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants left fielder Melky Cabrera was scratched from Wednesday night's starting lineup against the St. Louis Cardinals with an injured left toe.Manager Bruce Bochy, who likened Cabrera's ailment to a corn, said that the switch-hitter should be able to start Thursday against St. Louis. "He has a foot issue and it just flared up on him before the game so we had to make a lineup adjustment," Bochy said after Wednesday's game. "He's been out there every day and it seemed to get pretty painful, so he needed a night [off]. The doctors looked at him and he should be OK tomorrow. Something flared up and it's pretty painful." Cabrera had been the only Giant to start every game. He maintained his perfect record for appearances by pinch-hitting in the eighth inning of San Francisco's 4-1 loss and grounding out. Cabrera has emerged as the Giants' most productive hitter, leading the club with a .331 batting average and 16 RBIs. With Cabrera sidelined, Nate Schierholtz left the bench to play right field and Gregor Blanco moved from right field to left.
Wilson optimistic about early 2013 return
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants right-hander Brian Wilson called himself ahead of schedule Wednesday in his recovery from Tommy John elbow surgery and insisted that he'll be ready to close out a Giants victory on Opening Day 2013."Unless someone throws a complete game, which would be pretty sweet, too," said Wilson, who preceded a workout on a stationary bicycle by meeting with reporters for about 20 minutes. "I don't imagine doing any rehab starts. I'll be here for Spring Training. Throw my 12, 13 innings probably. I'll be here Day One." Wilson said that he has progressed from range-of-motion exercises to stretching and working on his forearms. His spin on the bicycle marked the beginning of his conditioning program. The three-time All-Star emphasized the importance of remaining upbeat and admitted that this is something of a chore. "But the longer you work at it, the easier it is," Wilson said. "... Because the more negative things you think about, it just infests your brain, and it takes a downward spiral from there. And that's the No. 1 part of healing: You need to be positive, and I have steps -- I have to go through rehab, I've got to be a great teammate, I don't want to be walking around all glum, like woe is me. I'm not the only guy in here. My role is not to close anymore, it's to be a teammate for the younger guys and to show the community that I'm still here. I'm not going anywhere; it's just my role's different." Asked if he ever trims his famed beard, Wilson replied, "I will not trim it at all during this process." Will he still be wearing his beard when he returns to pitching? "Yeah, well, I'm returning," Wilson said.
Manager Bruce Bochy said that infielder Joaquin Arias, nursing a bruised left forearm, could be ready to rejoin the lineup as early as Thursday. Arias was injured Tuesday when he was hit by a pitch from Colorado's Jeremy Guthrie. Bochy also said that Freddy Sanchez received an epidural injection to relieve the discomfort in his lower back, which will temporarily halt the second baseman's comeback efforts. "He's a ways away," Bochy said. Bochy made an unusual lineup adjustment Wednesday, batting pitcher Madison Bumgarner eighth and dropping second baseman Emmanuel Burriss into the ninth spot. Bochy pointed out that this essentially gave the Giants two leadoff hitters, owing to Burriss' speed, which the manager felt could be handy against St. Louis left-hander Jaime Garcia. The Giants last tried this ploy against Arizona on May 20, 2010, when Tim Lincecum hit eighth and Andres Torres batted ninth. First-year St. Louis manager Mike Matheny, whose Major League catching career ended prematurely with the Giants in 2006 due to concussion symptoms, said that his season and a half with San Francisco helped prepare him for his current job. Matheny said that he "learned a lot" from then-Giants manager Felipe Alou's faith in his players.
"I was a direct recipient of that," Matheny said. "I came from a team that had so much offensive firepower and a very strong bench, so I knew in the seventh, eighth or ninth inning, I was waiting for a whistle as I was walking to the plate for someone to take my place. I came here and Felipe couldn't wait for me to get out there. It just so happened that I had a couple of big RBIs early in the season. Later, he wanted me out there in those siutations and I was able to produce. That stuck with me."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.