08/03/11 8:33 PM ET
Beltran making teammates better
By Adam Berry / MLB.com
Beltran has instantly stepped into a leadership role with the Giants, providing guidance to several of his new teammates -- specifically Andres Torres and Pablo Sandoval -- in the batting cage, on the field and in the dugout.
"He's been great with the guys," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I believe that hitters can get better because of one of your core hitters, and the way he approaches every at-bat and the quality at-bats that he gives you, I think it's going to help the other guys."
Beltran quickly identified a few problems Torres was having. First, he helped Torres coordinate his hands and told him to back away from the plate -- two problematic areas for someone who wields a 35-inch bat like Torres.
"He told me, 'You get too close,'" Torres said. "It's something I have to keep working on. Once I start doing it, it's going to start getting better."
Beltran also noticed Torres staring at home plate from center field, fretting over his offensive mistakes instead of focusing on his defensive responsibilities. So, he offered some simple advice: "Go out there and have fun." Torres recorded a hit and drew a walk Wednesday.
"He has a lot of energy. I love watching him play. I love watching him run the bases," Beltran said. "Hopefully he can start feeling better at the plate and contribute because we need a guy at the top of the lineup to get on base. And he could be the guy."
As for Sandoval, Beltran quickly picked up on the obvious: "He's a great hitter." But he worried the third baseman might be waiting for one specific pitch rather than relying on his natural ability, so he told him to swing away. Beltran's advice worked for Sandoval as well, as he went 2-for-5 with an RBI on Wednesday.
"When he gets hot, I think we're going to be good," Beltran said. "The simpler you can keep it, the better it's going to be. Sometimes as hitters, we get caught up into thinking in the batter's box."
Although he is still a new face in a tightly knit group with remarkable chemistry, Beltran is enjoying the responsibility of this new role and hopes to continue helping his teammates as the season progresses.
"I love it," Beltran said. "When I see talent and I feel that I can contribute and say something to make them better -- if he does well, he's helping the team. He's helping me. He's helping everyone. I want everyone to have success."
Slumping Schierholtz gets break
SAN FRANCISCO -- After batting a league-high .370 from June 25 to July 23, Nate Schierholtz has cooled considerably as of late.
Schierholtz, who earned an everyday spot in the lineup as he saw his batting average climb as high as .292, has fallen into a 4-for-35 rut -- enough reason for Giants manager Bruce Bochy to give the slumping outfielder a few days off, starting Wednesday against the D-backs.
Schierholtz certainly isn't the only struggling hitter on San Francisco's roster, but with a surplus of outfielders in need of playing time, he will have time to relax and reset at the plate. Cody Ross got the start in left field Wednesday with Andres Torres returning to center field.
"The back end of the order has hit a little skid here," Bochy said. "Nate was swinging so well, but he's going to get a little break -- probably a couple days."
Schierholtz, whose average now stands at .271, is still enjoying a career year. His 20 doubles, seven homers, 38 RBIs and seven stolen bases are all career highs, and he is second on the team with a .310 average (22-for-71) with runners in scoring position. He has also shown plenty of skill in the field, leading the team with seven assists and making a seamless transition from right to left field when Carlos Beltran joined the team.
But Schierholtz's struggles are symptomatic of the entire club's well-documented offensive woes, as its on-base (.303) and slugging (.357) percentages rank 28th in the Majors and the .239 team batting average is 27th.
"There's no getting around it, I'm sure they're pressing a little bit. Every team gets in these little runs you don't like," Bochy said. "It's a better offense than what we were a couple weeks ago, and we think it's going to get clicking here and we'll be more consistent.
"These guys have done it. They've been through this, so I have no reason not to think they won't get through this and get back on track."
Second baseman Bill Hall, designated for assignment last Thursday when the Giants acquired Carlos Beltran, cleared waivers and accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A Fresno. San Francisco signed Hall as a free agent after Freddy Sanchez's shoulder injury, but the veteran infielder recorded only six hits and three walks in 16 games.
Right-handed reliever Santiago Casilla (left hamstring tightness) was feeling much better Wednesday, Bochy said, and was available to pitch if needed in San Francisco's series finale against Arizona. Casilla tweaked his hamstring in Monday night's 5-2 loss to the D-backs and did not pitch Tuesday.
Bochy said shortstop Miguel Tejada's recovery from an abdominal strain has "really picked up here lately." Tejada said Monday he hoped to be ready to play by the end of the week, but Bochy said he would have to check with Tejada and the team's training staff before deciding when the veteran shortstop would return.
Adam Berry is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.