08/15/2002 6:58 pm ET
MLBeat: A forgotten debut
By Josh Rawitch / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Ryan Jensen remembers his big-league debut here at Turner Field last year vividly. It's too bad no one else does.
Jensen, 26, made his first appearance at the Major League level in a start last May 18 during a game that saw Barry Bonds homer three times, the first time it seemed possible he might break the record of 70 homers that he eventually surpassed by three.
"I was just in awe," said Jensen. "It was the first time I'd really seen him play, in the first week or whatever, and that was the time when he was in his groove. When I got done with the game, I had about 30 voice-mails -- not for him but because of my start."
Jensen sat through several rain delays that day and did not earn a decision but certainly wasn't surprised that his debut was just a footnote in history.
"I think everything Barry does, the other guy's going to go unnoticed," he said. "I could have probably thrown a perfect game and it still would have been tough to compare to his three home-run day."
Jensen is scheduled to start Saturday at Florida, and though manager Dusty Baker is not monitoring his pitch count, per se, he agreed with pitching coach Dave Righetti's recent assessment that the right-hander has a "bit of dead arm."
"This is usually when the minor-league season would be over, in a week or two," said Baker. "He's going into new territory now. Hopefully, we can get him into September when the weather cools down a little bit, and that's when guys get their second wind back.
"The thing about a pitcher is, they have different energy levels and different endurance levels every time they go out there. One time a guy can go 110 [pitches] like it's nothing and the next time 85 seems like 150 for no apparent reason. Sometimes you go on pitch count and sometimes you go on performance, or a combination."
For what it's worth, Jensen said he doesn't feel like his arm is tired but understands the concerns, given that he pitched in the Puerto Rican Winter League last year, something he does not plan to do this offseason.
"The other day, my fastball didn't look like it had enough life on it so [Righetti] said, 'Maybe you should slow it down to like 85 [mph] so your 88 can look faster instead of trying to always throw 88 and then you've got nothing to get past if you need it.'"
Decisions, decisions: Right-handed reliever Jay Witasick remains on the disabled list with a contusion to his left foot, as the Giants don't have a spot for him on their roster.
"We've got to make some tough decisions here soon," said Baker. "We really want to see him throw in the pen again. He could come off any day, actually."
The tough part is that Manny Aybar is out of minor-league options and would have to clear waivers if taken off the 25-man roster.
"He got himself together at Triple-A," said Baker of Aybar. "He's doing a good job down there (in the bullpen). ... You see my opinion of him, otherwise I wouldn't put him in the eighth inning of a 1-0 game last night against the tough guys they had coming up."
Aybar got into a jam but pitched a scoreless inning and celebrated with a wild gesture on the mound after striking out Vinny Castilla.
Estes to the Reds: Former Giants left-hander Shawn Estes was traded from the Mets to the Reds on Thursday, and though Baker was very leery of tampering rules that prohibit him from discussing a player under contract by another team, he confirmed his team's interest in the southpaw before the July 31 trade deadline.
"That was discussed earlier," said Baker of trading for Estes, who was scheduled to pitch at Pacific Bell Park next week before the latest trade. "I was one of the guys for it then."
Estes will be a free agent after the season and could be eyeing a return to his previous organization.
Baker, Jackson to be enshrined?: Two members of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame (GSHF) were at Turner Field on Thursday to talk to Baker and third base coach Sonny Jackson, who both spent much of their playing careers in Atlanta.
"They're very worthy of being nominated," said GSHF public-relations director Robbie Burns. "They both had real good careers, and though not everyone that's nominated get in, to be considered is an honor in itself."
Baker played parts of eight seasons for the Braves while Jackson was a member of the team for seven of those years. Jackson was frequently injured during that time, but Baker seems a more likely candidate, having started in the outfield for four seasons, including 1973, when he hit 21 homers and drove in 99 runs.
Players can be nominated by any citizen of the state of Georgia and then go through a three-tier process of voting before being enshrined.
Fantasy Edge: Barry Bonds still has not received a game off since hitting his 600th home run. Look for him to get at least one of the games against the Marlins off, most likely Sunday's afternoon's contest.
Josh Rawitch covers the Giants for MLB.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.