SAN FRANCISCO -- Javier Lopez, left-handed pitcher, prefers to be described more as a "pitcher" than just "left-handed."Lopez understands why he's referred to as a "situational" left-hander. Left-handed batters have hit .204 off him, compared to .315 for right-handers. The Giants obtained him Saturday from Pittsburgh largely to fill the void created by the injuries to Jeremy Affeldt and Dan Runzler, who are expected to be sidelined for about three more weeks. Common sense dictates that Lopez, who broke into the Major Leagues in 2003 with Colorado, would be in a different line of work if he were completely helpless against right-handers. He also realizes that roles are assigned for a reason. "I don't really enjoy the label," Lopez said Sunday of the lefty-specialist designation. "But the way I throw the ball with my [arm] angle, that's the label I have." The Giants are Lopez's fifth team, indicating that he always has been a desirable commodity. But he didn't believe he'd be leaving the Pirates as Saturday's Trade Deadline approached, though he said he heard "whispers" that he might be involved in a deal. When manager John Russell summoned Lopez to inform him of the trade, the 33-year-old said that "it came out of the blue." Lopez, who's wearing No. 49 with the Giants, primarily relies on a sinking fastball to coax grounders from opponents. He said that he typically resorts to an offspeed pitch when he needs a strikeout. Lopez didn't walk into a clubhouse of strangers upon reporting to AT&T Park. He was a Colorado teammate of infielder Juan Uribe's in 2003. Also, Lopez and Jonathan Sanchez joined forces on Puerto Rico's 2009 World Baseball Classic squad.
Wilson appears ready to return to action
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy said All-Star closer Brian Wilson should be available for Sunday's series finale against the Dodgers."I believe he will be," Bochy said. Wilson, who had a heating pad on his back Sunday afternoon, has missed the past two games with back spasms. In both games, the Giants could have used Wilson, whose 30 saves are tied for the Major League lead. On Friday, four San Francisco pitchers gave up three runs in the ninth inning before the Giants escaped with a 6-5 win. In Saturday's game, Guillermo Mota entered with one out in the eighth and the Giants down, 1-0. After Pat Burrell's go-ahead homer in the bottom of the inning, Mota pitched a perfect ninth. During Friday's ninth inning, Wilson was visibly itching to get into the game, pacing around the dugout. "You guys know me by now," Wilson said afterward. "I want to pitch. I'll go out there with a broken leg."
Giants' comeback win thrills Zito
SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Zito has pitched in 343 Major League games, but Saturday's outing differed from most.The Giants' 2-1 comeback victory over Los Angeles, furnished by Pat Burrell's eighth-inning home run, excited Zito so much that he refused to linger in the clubhouse, as starting pitchers typically do once they leave the game. Zito, who was lounging in his baseball underwear after pitching seven strong innings, tugged his jersey and uniform pants back on and rejoined his teammates in the dugout. "I wanted to be a part of it," Zito said. "That's how it is now. We're a team. You just want to be out here for the energy." Zito has thrived in four starts this season against the Dodgers, posting a 1.95 ERA. But his record is 0-1 in those games due to a lack of run support. It just so happens that Zito has opposed Chad Billingsley, Los Angeles' formidable right-hander, in three of his appearances. "We're not usually going to beat up their starters, because they have a good staff as well, so you just have to be good," Zito said. "You kind of know that going in."