Bowker showing skill on basepaths
Giants coach Flannery lauds rookie's running
LOS ANGELES -- John Bowker is still developing as a hitter and first baseman. But he already has stamped himself as a solid baserunner, given recent performances.Bowker twice has provided key runs on close plays at the plate during Giants victories. Last Wednesday against Washington, he raced from first base to score the go-ahead run on Rich Aurilia's double during a three-run eighth inning. In Monday's series opener here, he scored from second on Kevin Correia's two-run single during San Francisco's five-run fourth. Both times, Bowker slid deftly and barely beat the catcher's tag. Third-base coach Tim Flannery lauded Bowker's skill on the basepaths. "He's not the fastest runner, but he runs the same every single time -- as hard as he can," Flannery said Tuesday. "As a third-base coach, that allows you to have a better idea if you can get a guy in or not." Unfortunately, Flannery noted, some baserunners don't consistently display such determination.
"I told them on the first day of Spring Training that I can't make decisions based on what kind of mood you're in," he said.But Bowker's effort is free of fluctuations.
"He doesn't take for granted that I might stop him," Flannery said. "He's going to give me an opportunity to send him."Bowker attributed his baserunning success to getting a good secondary lead -- the added steps from a base that runners take once the pitch is delivered
"When the ball's hit, you're in a good position to go," Bowker said. "You just try to get off the bag as much as possible."Bowker drills himself on baserunning after taking his first round of batting practice, which is when players typically get a chance to simulate going from first to third or second to home.
"You get your reads in BP, and that translates into the game," Bowker said.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.