Westcott Adapting To The Mound

Former hitter showing early signs of success





SAN FRANCISCO—Craig Westcott still thinks of himself as a slugging, lefthanded hitting first baseman. He just happens to throw no-hitters in his spare time.

Westcott's latest flirtation came May 22 against Stockton, when he no-hit the Ports through seven innings. He struck out five, issued three walks and had plenty of movement on his sinker, as 13 groundball outs will attest. But he had logged 102 pitches—just beyond the Giants' organizational limit—and so the bullpen took over in the eighth. The Ports managed a leadoff hit in the ninth during San Jose's 5-0 victory.

Two years earlier, Westcott threw five no-hit innings for short-season Salem-Keizer and the Volcanoes bullpen was able to finish the gem. Westcott also threw two no-hitters at Bellhaven University, an NAIA school in Jackson, Miss.

Westcott, a 25-year-old righthander, was a 30th-round pick in the 2009 draft and initially was disappointed the Giants didn't take him for his bat. Now committed to pitching full-time, he's a bit old for high Class A and is repeating the Cal League, but Westcott has made huge strides under the tutelage of pitching coach Brian Cooper.

While Westcott isn't the kind of prospect who turns heads with his stuff, he's always found a way to achieve. In college, he was the upset winner of the Boo Ferriss award, bestowed on the top collegiate player in Mississippi. It was the first time an athlete from a non-Division 1 school won the honor.

Coming from a small school isn't the only hardship Westcott has been forced to overcome. He underwent open-heart surgery as an infant, and as a result, has two enlarged vessels on the right side.

Westcott shows a lot of heart on the mound. But after beginning 5-0, 2.66 in his first seven starts for San Jose, it's fair to say he's got a talented arm, too.

GIANTICS

• Westcott's seven no-hit innings helped San Jose to its eighth shutout, most among all minor league clubs. San Jose's 3.21 staff ERA paced the lively Cal League by more than a full run.

• Shortstop Brandon Crawford, who broke a finger in spring training, made his debut May 11 for San Jose. He had a four-hit night two days later.