Giants Minor Leaguers Share Brotherly Bond





Scottsdale, Ariz. — Dan Turpen doesn't have an identical twin, but he has an idea what the bond must feel like.

The sturdy-framed righthander reported to major league camp at Scottsdale Stadium this spring. Barely a mile away, lifelong teammate and lefthanded reliever Joe Paterson had a locker waiting for him at the Giants' minor league complex.

For two pitchers who've spent their baseball lives practically joined at the hip, it's like waving at each other from opposite rims of the Grand Canyon.

"I don't know if I can tell you what he's thinking right now," Turpen said with a laugh. "But we're like brothers. It's weird not having him around."

Turpen and Paterson grew up together in McMinnville, Ore., played on the same junior league team as 11-year-olds, won two state titles in high school and captured even greater glory when they helped Oregon State to a pair of College World Series championships.

Then, by a stroke of luck, the Giants took them in the same 2007 draft class—Turpen in the eighth round and Paterson in the 10th. They rose through the system in two seasons together but took separate paths last year, when Turpen went to high Class A San Jose and Paterson began at Double-A Connecticut.

Paterson, who locks down lefties with his slider, went 5-6, 1.96 over 69 innings in 55 relief appearances. Turpen was just as spectacular, going 4-2, 1.20 in 68 innings over 47 relief outings.

When Turpen pitched well in the Arizona Fall League—1-0, 3.94 with 13 strikeouts over 16 innings—the Giants gave him an invite to the big league side.
Fittingly, he was playing catch with Paterson when he got the call.

GIANTICS

• Maybe familiarity helped outfielder Thomas Neal when he achieved the distinction of getting the first professional hit off Nationals mega-prospect Stephen Strasburg during the Arizona Fall League. Neal and Strasburg played on the same traveling squad, the San Diego Sting, when they were 11 years old.

• Early this spring, speedy minor league outfielder Darren Ford sat in rapt attention as Willie Mays told stories in the Scottsdale Stadium clubhouse. Told that Ford scored from first base on a single at San Jose last season, Mays shouted, "Hell, I scored from first base on a pickoff!"