Francisco behind in camp

*Juan Francisco is slated to get an at-bat in today’s game after he’s been out with a strained right calf. Dusty Baker made his disappointment in Francisco crystal clear and that he wasn’t thrilled with him this spring.

“He’s got time but he’s behind,” Baker said. “Part of that is if he had rehabbed properly in the winter time. Part of that is he came into camp as one of the few guys overweight. The guys that came in ready, I can’t shelve them because he didn’t. I’m trying him ready the best I can. We need him.”

Baker estimated that Francisco came in 10-12 pounds overweight. He injured the right calf during winter ball but did not immediately seek treatment from the club for it. Someone pointed out that weight was put on because Francisco probably couldn’t run much after the injury.

“Then he’s got to stop eating,” Baker replied.

Francisco is out of options, so the chances are still pretty good that he can still make the 25-man roster. But maybe he’s not the lock he once seemed to be.

*As mentioned yesterday, Drew Stubbs got a bunt hit on Monday. Much has been made about Stubb’s bunting, or the lack thereof. But he was 4-for-6 (.667) for bunt hits last season and is a .450 career hitter when he bunts.

“He’s been working on it ever since he got here,” Baker said. “It just takes a couple of hits to get the confidence in it. Most guys that bunt can bunt .400-.500 batting average…It keeps you out of slumps. Like yesterday, [Kris] Negron faked a bunt. Now that third baseman has to come in and he bounced a ball over his head.”

*Baker was still excited today about some of the defense that was played on Monday. In one inning, Didi Gregorious, Willie Harris and Chris Heisey all made dazzling plays.

“That’s usually the last thing that comes around,” Baker said of defense. “I am sure we’ll have a few games where we kick it around or throw it around.”

*Gregorious, Henry Rodriguez and Neftali Soto are among the young guys that have played well in the early going.

“I love to see whoever I call over here play. That’s how you find out,” Baker said. “You can see the minor league kids peeking through the fences at their buddies. Some of them will be back over there with them. It gives some of them a lot of hope. You see the same guys peeking through the fence, Billy Hamilton is champing at the bit to get on the other side of that fence. When they come over here, they play. Everybody plays.”

*Today, many young guys are in the lineup vs. Mariners ace “King” Felix Hernandez.

“You say you wanted to play,” Baker joked. “You can’t pick who you play against. That’s huge as a young player when you get up to him like this. I remember as a young player hitting against Nolan Ryan.  Nobody wanted to hit. The manager looked down and everybody was drinking water and looking down. I was 19 years old  and said ‘I’ll hit!’” Go ahead, kid. Then, he was wild. And it was at night and he was throwing hard. I wasn’t afraid. ‘Go ahead little fool.’ I got a hit. I called my Dad from a payphone in the clubhouse.”


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