SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — On a day when the Giants made another round of minor cuts, a pair of high-profile reinforcements returned to camp. Center fielder Angel Pagan and reliever Santiago Casilla rejoined the Giants after facing off in the World Baseball Classic championship game, which was won by Casilla's Dominican Republic squad.
Casilla proudly showed off the two medals (one for participation, one for winning) in his locker and was all smiles as he talked about representing his country and taking part in a third title celebration in the past 30 months. "Nobody was sleeping!" he said.
Most important for the Giants, Casilla said his arm feels great. Casilla allowed just one hit in five scoreless WBC appearances, a triple by Pagan.
"I told him, 'Hey, only fastballs for you,'<TH>" Casilla said. "Just don't steal home."
The Giants lost to the Colorado Rockies 10-7 on Thursday night. Matt Cain gave up seven hits in five innings of work and was the losing pitcher.
Manager Bruce Bochy said Pagan, who on Thursday briefly met with coaches but didn't work out, would start Friday. Casilla's return to the mound hasn't been scheduled yet, but he, along with the rest of the bullpen, will meet with Bochy in the coming days to discuss this season's plan for the late innings.
The Giants had a similar meeting last August when Bochy decided to use a committee to close games.
This time around, Sergio Romo is the closer, but Bochy said Thursday that he would continue to lean on Casilla and left-handers Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez in the eighth and ninth innings.
The Giants sent infielder Kensuke Tanaka and catchers Jackson Williams and Johnny Monell to minor league camp. While Monell was the most impressive of the bunch, going 10 for 20, Tanaka had the best shot of making the roster.
A 31-year-old second baseman trying to make the transition from playing in Japan, Tanaka came to camp with a shot at winning a backup infielder job. But he hit just .229 and made seven errors in 19 games.
"It's an adjustment coming over here and we understand that," Bochy said. "He was trying to learn third base and shortstop — he had a lot on his plate."
Tanaka reportedly had turned down a lucrative Japanese contract offer to chase his dream of playing in America. He told Bochy that he would be happy to try and work his way up from Triple-A Fresno and told Japanese reporters that he believed the throwing problems could be fixed and were the result of the transition to using MLB baseballs that are harder to grip than the ones used in Japan.
Thursday's moves cut camp down to 34 players.
"We're getting close," Bochy said. "It's time to have all the guys back and get them playing together."
Marco Scutaro was a late scratch from Thursday's lineup because of back tightness, but said he probably would have played if it were a regular season game. Bochy wasn't concerned and encouraged the 37-year-old Scutaro to get some rest.
Read all of the PD's fire coverage here