Giants pitcher Jake Peavy was in the middle of his news conference before Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday when the door opened and a big man in a suit and sunglasses walked in.
“My man,” Peavy said, squinting toward the newcomer.
“I had a question,” said David Ortiz, the Boston Red Sox designated hitter and a former teammate of Peavy.
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Peavy got up from the podium, the two hugged, and Peavy resumed by saying it was the first time he had seen Ortiz since being traded to the Giants at midseason.
“That was the thrill of the press conference so far,” Peavy said.
But Peavy added he has been in touch with a handful of his former teammates from Boston this week. “I think I probably spoke to five of them via text in the last 24 hours,” Peavy said. “And all those texts were about how to beat the Kansas City Royals.”
That included Red Sox pitchers weighing in on how to attack Royals hitters and second baseman Dustin Pedroia talking about how to position the Giants’ middle infielders, said Peavy, who will start Game 2 against the Royals tonight.
“The type of friends and competitors we are, they’re feeling a part of the preparation,” Peavy said. “They know what I’m going through.”
Peavy’s start against Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura is his first since Game 2 of the National League Championship Series on Oct. 12. He exited in the fifth inning of that game and said Tuesday the layoff might actually have been beneficial.
“I fought myself a little bit in that start in St. Louis,” Peavy said. He said he has thrown two bullpen sessions in the interim and, “We just made a small mechanical adjustment … threw (Sunday) and had a good side session, and really encouraged about what I should be able to do with the ball (tonight).”
After Ortiz left the room, the news conference resumed with Peavy being asked about Madison Bumgarner’s revelation Sunday that the Game 1 starter never watches film of opposing hitters when preparing for a start.
Peavy chuckled and said, “We’ve got to stick with what’s been working,” but he indicated it’s an area he might try to address with Bumgarner in a mentoring role.
“I’m going to push Madison to start digging a little bit deeper, and he will,” Peavy said. “And he’ll be scary if he gets any better than he already is.”
Leyland knows Giants
Former Detroit manager Jim Leyland was on the Kauffman Stadium field during batting practice and was asked how the 2014 Giants team compares to the one that swept the Tigers in the World Series two years ago.
“They’re very similar,” Leyland said. “They just don’t make mistakes. They’re a team that is really good at, if the other team opens up a little crack, they get through it.”
Leyland stepped down as the Tigers’ manager after the 2013 season and is now a special assistant in Detroit’s front office. He is in Kansas City for Games 1 and 2, and Tuesday, he chatted with manager Bruce Bochy and shortstop Brandon Crawford while the Giants warmed up.
Leyland also singled out the contributions of Crawford, who played exceptional defense in the 2012 World Series.
“Their shortstop is a great player. I think he’s a hell of a player,” Leyland said. “He’s in the right spot at the right time, all the time.”
Glove of the game
Giants center fielder Gregor Blanco this season has made a habit of using an especially small glove during warmups. The glove, a tan Rawlings model, is a size 91/2. An average middle infielder’s glove, by comparison, is usually a size 11 or 12, and outfielder gloves are typically larger.
Blanco on Tuesday explained he started using the glove during warmups because, “I didn’t want to get lazy going down for ground balls. This makes me really go down and catch them almost with my hand.”
Blanco said he got the idea watching former Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Gerardo Parra, now with Milwaukee, doing the same thing this season. “It’s just good for making good habits,” Blanco said.
Just for starters
Michael Morse made his first start of the postseason as the Giants’ designated hitter in Game 1. Morse batted seventh, with Bochy explaining he wanted Morse near the middle of the order but didn’t want to move Brandon Belt out of the sixth spot.
The Giants will face a left-handed starter in Jason Vargas in Game 4. Bochy was asked if Morse could start that game at AT&T Park in left field and said: “He’s an option. He’s healthy, and he’s been working out there.”