Notes: Schmidt catching up on rest

Notes: Schmidt catching up on rest

SAN FRANCISCO -- We all know the saga of Giants pitcher Stu Miller being "blown off" the Candlestick Park mound at the 1961 All-Star Game, but it was lucky Jason Schmidt didn't pitch at the 77th Midsummer Classic at Pittsburgh last Tuesday.

He might have fallen asleep on the mound.

Not really. But Schmidt's All-Star experience was one of bleary eyes and sleep deprivation, not to mention delayed flights, time zone woes, a disappearing backpack, missed mass interviews and not one competitive pitch.

So much for the All-Star break, and that's the reason Schmidt's scheduled start Sunday against the Phillies here was pushed back until Monday.

"I'm getting there," Schmidt said of catching up to West Coast time and snoozing time. "It was crazy what I did."

After pitching on Sunday in Los Angeles, the pitcher took a flight from Burbank to Phoenix, but the trip was delayed by two hours, finally arriving at his home by 11 p.m. MST.

"I got my family all packed by 2:30 a.m. and had a six o'clock flight [eastward] and had to get up by four," Schmidt said. "I didn't go to bed. So we stayed up, and the kids [Makynklee Taylor and Mason Mason] didn't go to sleep either."

The Schmidts reached Pittsburgh at 2 p.m. on Monday. Ah, peace. But no.

"I forgot my backpack in the taxi -- it had all my checkbooks, my laptop, all the stuff -- so I spent the next 2 1/2 hours trying to track that down," said Jason. "Got to the ballpark late, and finally got my backpack around midnight."

Typical of the All-Star regimen, Schmidt had to awaken fairly early for player functions on game day, and following the big event and lugging all his gear out of the National League clubhouse, he faced a similar scenario.

"By the time we get back to our hotel, it's 2:30 a.m. and the same stuff again -- get up at four to catch the flight," he said. "Maybe I got six, seven hours of sleep from Sunday all the way to Wednesday.

"So," he laughed, "I haven't had a break yet. Last night, my son was up all night."

Schmidt said that's part of the reason he asked for the extra day.

"I told them I could probably pitch on Sunday," he said, "but I'm so worn out -- I wanted to recover on sleep, try to get normal again. I said if it doesn't hurt the team, let's do it."

Life savers: With veteran Gold Glove catcher Mike Matheny out with a concussion, backup Todd Greene and emergency callup Eliezer Alfonzo have filled in admirably -- Green hitting .323 and former Double-A backstop Alfonzo batting a surprising .292 with two homers and 14 RBIs.

Greene, meantime, had to deal with a shoulder-jarring collision earlier in Milwaukee which has weakened his throws to second, and he's primarily catching lefties to cut down on base-stealing attempts.

"We're doing OK," said Alou. "Eliezer got a big hit [on Friday night], probably the biggest hit of the night. We're surviving, and the pitching staff has made the adjustments. Right now, we're holding our own."

As for Matheny coming back this season, Alou called it 50-50.

"Even if he came back in three weeks or a month, how long would it take [to be playable]?" the skipper said.

Who's on first? Lance Niekro started at first base Saturday against the Phillies, and the Giants are determined to find out once and for all whether he'll stick as a regular.

"We can't relegate him to sporadic play," said Alou. "We have to see which way we're going with him."

If Niekro can't cut it, there are alternatives. Outfielder Steve Finley's overall athleticism makes him a candidate -- he's practiced many times at first this year, while third sacker Pedro Feliz has played the spot before.

"He could be an excellent first baseman," said the manager of Feliz.

Still, the question was asked -- how about Barry Bonds? How about Moises Alou?

"Bonds ... I just don't see it," said the manager. "First base is rather complicated. You have to cover bunts, throw, hold the runners. Mo? No. That would be pushing it too far."

Coming up: Giants rookie right-hander Matt Cain (6-6, 5.12 ERA), who has won his last five decisions, will start Sunday's 1:05 p.m. PT finale of a three-game set against Philadelphia at AT&T Park. He'll oppose right-hander Brett Myers (5-3, 3.86).

Rich Draper is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.