SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants, particularly members of the team's bullpen, rallied around each other in the wake of a column by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal stating that a change in the relievers' pregame stretch time -- initiated by new closer Mark Melancon -- created friction at the
SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants, particularly members of the team's bullpen, rallied around each other in the wake of a column by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal stating that a change in the relievers' pregame stretch time -- initiated by new closer Mark Melancon -- created friction at the beginning of the team's disappointing season.
Rosenthal's column, posted Monday, revealed that Melancon requested a change during the early season in the bullpen's stretch time preceding night games from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. That conceivably would allow each reliever to complete his daily workout routine.
Rosenthal reported that players were increasingly tardy for the stretching sessions, prompting manager Bruce Bochy to convene a team meeting about a month ago to address that issue and others.
"I dropped the ball," Bochy told Rosenthal. "I've been doing this so long, you take for granted that they know what I want. These guys were used to doing it how they've done it -- 'I have my own routine. I'm not going to stretch.' But we do stretch as a team here. They all have to be out there."
Rosenthal's column commanded considerable attention among Giants fans on social media and on San Francisco Bay Area radio sports talk shows. Before their series opener Monday night against the Colorado Rockies, the Giants maintained that unity reigned in their clubhouse.
More than one Giant pointed out that multiple people -- pitchers, Bochy, strength and conditioning coach Carl Kochan -- convened during the season-opening series at Arizona to agree upon a revised stretch time.
"I'm shocked," Melancon said. "But honestly, if this is the thing that we can point out and say this is the reason for the bad year so far, then please bring it on. We're talking about stretching, right? Stretching."
Bochy dismissed the fuss. "It's a non-story for me," he said, adding that belaboring the issue would be the equivalent to "pole vaulting over mouse turds."
Signed out of free agency last offseason to a four-year, $62 million contract, Melancon wanted the extra pre-stretch time to complete his pregame workout regimen. Bochy understood Melancon's wishes.
"I've been doing this a while," said Bochy, a Major League manager since 1995. "Every [closer] I've had has had his own routine."
Shortly before the relievers left the clubhouses to stretch, five of them -- Melancon, George Kontos, Hunter Strickland, Steven Okert and Josh Osich -- gathered in a corner of the Giants clubhouse that's unofficially reserved for members of the bullpen. They were grinning and laughing.
"This cubhouse has been together and unified as we always are," Kontos said. "... Everyone has each others' backs and everyone is as good of a teammate as we all always have been."
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.