Giants right-hander Jake Peavy looked up from his locker as reporters filed into the clubhouse, flashed a grin and said: “Uphill from here.”
Peavy compiled an ugly line in his Cactus League debut Thursday, facing 14 Milwaukee Brewers batters and allowing six runs on nine hits. He needed 34 pitches to record five outs and said his fastball command, his main focus in his first spring start, was “wider off the plate than we need it to be at this point in time.”
The veteran right-hander, though, was encouraged after the outing for one main reason.
“Physically, I feel good,” Peavy said. “It’s nothing like it was at this point last year.”
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Physically, I feel good. It’s nothing like it was at this point last year.
Jake Peavy, Giants pitcher
Last spring, Peavy fought back and hip issues that sidelined him for most of the season’s first half. He posted an 8-2 record and 3.31 ERA in 15 second-half starts, though, and repeated throughout September that he felt he was hitting a groove that he hoped would carry over into this spring.
“I’m quite a bit stronger all over (than last spring), and I feel refreshed,” Peavy said. “Arm strength is going to come.”
Manager Bruce Bochy said the Giants will monitor Peavy’s innings this spring but agreed “there’s no comparison” between the 34-year-old’s health right now and last spring.
“It’s fair to say last year he wasn’t quite ready to start the season,” Bochy said. “We’ll have him stretched out, do a little better job with his help and input on making sure he’s ready when the bell rings.”
Peavy did exit on a positive note, throwing a full-count slider past Milwaukee’s Chris Carter, who had hit an opposite-field home run off him in the first inning. Peavy said he didn’t intend to use his slider Thursday but deployed it against a noted fastball hitter.
“I wanted to spot my fastball, but that being said, I’d given up nine or so hits,” Peavy said. “It was time to throw the right pitch in that situation and try to salvage something.”
Big swings – The Giants re-engaged an announced crowd of 8,355 at Scottsdale Stadium by rallying to tie the score in the fifth inning before losing 8-7. Although Andrew Susac’s three-run homer made it 6-6, Kyle Blanks helped close the deficit with a solo homer in his first Cactus League at-bat in the fourth.
Blanks is a nonroster invitee in the Giants’ camp but has 278 games of big-league experience and at 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds fits the profile of a right-handed power hitter. Blanks may be a long shot to make the Giants’ roster, but Bochy said the Giants are going to see what they have in the 29-year-old outfielder-first baseman.
278 Games of major-league experience for nonroster invitee Kyle Blanks
“That’s a guy that’s got major-league experience, he’s got power, so he’s a guy we’re going to look at,” Bochy said. “He can play left field – right now I’m not going to put him in left, but as we get deeper into spring, to give him a little more versatility will be something we discuss.”
Injury report –Right-hander Matt Cain, who had a cyst removed from his pitching arm, is scheduled to get the stitches removed Friday and should resume throwing within the next few days, Bochy said.
Reliever Sergio Romo, whom Bochy is easing into game action, is throwing and “close” to pitching in a game, the manager said. Closer Santiago Casilla (flu) was held out of the first two spring games.