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Giants’ back woes lead to flight upgrades

Jun 23, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT

PHOENIX – The Giants were concerned enough with the ergonomic health of their players that they invested in a larger chartered jet this season that features more first class seats.

And here you thought the term “wide body” only applied to Pablo Sandoval.

Well, it was a good thought, anyway.

Maybe it’s time to replace the flight attendants with chiropractors, make Barry Bonds’ old Barcalounger standard issue in the clubhouse and fit everyone for custom orthotics. Because this is officially the Year of the Bad Back.

Michael Morse could play outfield in a pinch Sunday after exiting Saturday’s game in the fifth inning because of back stiffness. That’s more than manager Bruce Bochy will get out of Angel Pagan, who hits home runs in batting practice yet remains unavailable for a sixth consecutive game because of his back discomfort.

Buster Posey has dealt with a bad back this season. And of course, Marco Scutaro hasn’t played at all.

“We’ve done things to make it more comfortable, more first class seats,” Bochy said. “We’ve done that to make the travel easier on the back.”

Morse jokingly blamed the soft beds at the Ritz Carlton for his back issues. He doesn’t believe they are significant, which is a good thing since Morse is the only backup outfielder at Bochy’s disposal behind Gregor Blanco, Tyler Colvin and Hunter Pence.

(Colvin had a bad back in the spring, by the way, and Pence has been icing his back as well.)

The disabled list isn’t out of the question for Pagan, although the Giants continue to delay the decision because their leadoff hitter still could return within a day or two. If he were to go on the DL, he’d miss the next eight games including Sunday.

“Angel’s about the same, which is good,” Bochy said. “It hasn’t gotten any worse with baseball activities. Morse is hoping to play (Monday) and we’ll have a pretty good idea on both of them by then.”

Outfielder Juan Perez, who was optioned to make room for second baseman Joe Panik on Saturday, didn’t leave to join Triple-A Fresno in Texas. Instead he’ll go back to San Francisco just in case the Giants need to bring him back to replace Pagan on the roster.

In the meantime, Panik is making his first big league start Sunday as the Giants try for a series victory behind Madison Bumgarner. They hope to follow that up with a happy – and comfortably short – flight home.

  1. normcash - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    Four years ago, I found myself seated next to Dave Flemming, the Giants’ radio play-by-play
    voice with Jon Miller, on a flight from Chicago to San Francisco. He was returning to SF from
    Cooperstown where he’d attended Miller’s induction into the HOF as Ford C. Frick award winner.
    I asked him about how the Giants traveled. He said they charter 757s from Delta for their flights.
    I asked him if the planes were specially outfitted and he said they were just ordinary 757s with
    normal seating configurations. He told me that the first class seats were used by the manager and coaches and any front-office execs or ownership partners that might be on a trip. The front of the
    economy section was used by media people (broadcasters, writers, etc.) and the players behind them. I was kind of surprised that multi-millionaire baseball players flew coach! He said this was a
    pretty typical arrangement as the players prefer to be with each other rather than mixed in with reporters and coaches. I know there are a few teams (the Detroit Tigers, for example) that have their own planes. The Tigers plane is a MD-80 outfitted with all first-class seats. During the hockey season it’s used by the Red Wings. When the seasons overlap, the team in the play-offs gets priority
    if there’s a schedule conflict.

    • hoopmatch - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:20 PM

      Interesting story, Norm Cash. Thanks for sharing. You were a helluva good player for the Tigers, I might add.

      • normcash - Jun 23, 2014 at 1:24 PM

        Stormin’ Norman was a boyhood hero of mine. That ’61 season when he hit .361 with 40+
        HRs is emblazoned in my memory—the first time in my life that the Tigers contended. I can recite the lineup from memory. Cash never had a year like that afterwards, but remained a dangerous hitter throughout his career. And who else but Norm would walk to the plate in the 7th inning of a Nolan Ryan no-hitter with a table leg instead of a bat, explaining to the home plate umpire that it wouldn’t make any difference the way Ryan was pitching! What a character!

  2. illuminancer - Jun 23, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    Leave it to Baggs to get the cheap shot at Sandoval in there.

    It sounded weird at first, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. There are a lot of big guys on the team; if you’re 6’5″ and 220, a standard coach seat is going to be a tight fit on a long flight, even if you do have the row to yourself.

    A yoga instructor might be a good idea, too.

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