SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Bruce Bochy is lauded for the way he handles a bullpen, but there's little he can do right now to control the workload of his closer.
A day after throwing 26 pitches, Sergio Romo pitched the ninth inning of Mexico's 5-2 World Baseball Classic victory over the United States. There was nothing wrong with his stuff; Romo set Team USA down in order on just 13 pitches to clinch a win that kept Mexico alive. But the Giants are concerned with Romo's workload.
Earlier Friday, Bochy had called Romo to see how he was holding up after a blown save against Italy. Romo's 26-pitch outing on Thursday was longer than all but two of his appearances in 2012.
"He's doing fine -- he says his arm feels fine," Bochy said Friday morning. "His pride has been hurt a little bit. He's a competitor and is pitching for his country, so that bothered him."
The extensive use of Romo bothered the Giants a bit, and was a topic of discussion at a morning meeting of coaches. Bochy was receiving text message updates after every pitch of Romo's World Baseball Classic debut and said he actually would have been OK with Romo throwing four more pitches. WBC rules prohibit a relief pitcher from coming back to pitch the next day if he reaches 30 pitches in an outing.
"To be honest, yeah, I wouldn't have minded him throwing four more," Bochy said. "You go that many, you're better off with him throwing four more."
Bochy asked Romo to check with trainer Dave Groeschner before Friday night's game and said the Giants would have stepped in and called Mexico's staff if Romo reported any fatigue.
The Giants have eight players participating in the WBC and, while they could have blocked participation before the tournament, they have little recourse now that it has started. To prepare for possibilities like Romo's long debut, the Giants spent extra time this spring preparing those who were leaving. Bochy said Romo was prepared to throw two games in a row.
Bochy knows Mexico manager Rick Renteria, the Padres bench coach, from his time in San Diego. Bochy said he wasn't worried about a manager from a rival team being reckless with one of his players.
"There's a lot at stake," he said. "They're going to do all they can not to go home. But they do care about these players. So they're somewhat in a box."
-- Tim Lincecum was scheduled to start Saturday but instead will pitch a simulated game at Scottsdale Stadium. Lincecum has been scratched from his last two scheduled starts because of a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand.
"We can control his pitches and everything, and keep things under control," Bochy said of the simulated game.
Lincecum is now scheduled to start Tuesday night's game.
-- Catcher Hector Sanchez dealt with a tight right calf earlier this week, but Bochy said Sanchez is recovered and could start on Sunday. Outfielder Andres Torres (oblique strain) and reliever Jose Mijares (elbow impingement) are also close to returning to the field.
Reliever Javier Lopez (bruised hand) had originally been slated to make his spring debut Friday, but the Giants' game against the Los Angeles Dodgers was canceled because of steady rain. Lopez is expected to take the mound Saturday.
-- Sent down to minor league camp were catcher Andrew Susac, infielder Joe Panik and pitchers Jose Valdez, Fabio Castillo, Edward Concepcion, Josh Osich and Justin Fitzgerald. First baseman Angel Villalona was optioned to Class-A San Jose.
-- Friday's came was canceled in the top of the second inning with the Dodgers leading 4-0 and the teams about to head into their third rain delay. Barry Zito started for the Giants and gave up four straight two-out hits in the first inning.
"My timing was off a little bit," he said. "I was just missing out over the plate a little bit. They were all kind of small misses. (The Dodgers) capitalized, they were swinging the bat aggressively."
The second delay, lasting 26 minutes, was the strangest. After Hunter Pence's double in the bottom of the first inning, players sprinted to the dugouts to avoid a driving hailstorm. The umpires stood still for a moment, and Bochy joked that the decision to bring the tarp out was made by Buster Posey, who was digging into the batter's box when the hail started.
"Buster was the one that left," Bochy said, smiling. "He said, 'I'm done.' He didn't give them a choice."
(c)2013 San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)
Visit the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) at www.mercurynews.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services