Giants reliever Strickland insists he's tranquil on mound

Matt Slocum/2014 AP file photoGiants reliever Hunter Strickland became a national story during the World Series when he had a confrontation with Royals catcher Salvador Perez.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — San Francisco Giants reliever Hunter Strickland is a big, strong country boy from Georgia with a triple-digit fastball.

Despite how things looked in Game 2 of the World Series when got in a verbal skirmish that escalated against Kansas City, he insists he's under control.

“Some of the things I've done, people might think I am going to react to every little thing that happens. But I am actually very peaceful out there. I am intense, yet very relaxed,” he said.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound righty had words with Salvador Perez, who was circling the bases on a home run by Omar Infante.

Lip-readers might have noticed Strickland telling Perez to get back in the dugout.

It was a brash move for a guy who had been called to the majors for the first time in September and had just nine regular-season games and a handful of playoff appearances under his belt.

The 26-year-old Strickland is back in the Giants' camp, competing for a roster spot with a better understanding of what he needs to do. There are plenty of other candidates and might be just one bullpen spot open — among those hoping for a job is right-hander George Kontos, who's out of minor league options.

Strickland is one of the stories in camp this spring that include starter Matt Cain, who on Sunday threw to live hitters for the first time after having offseason surgery for bone chips in his right elbow.

There's also reliever Sergio Romo (sore right shoulder), who threw off the bullpen mound for the second time.

Called up from the minors late last year, Strickland had a 0.00 ERA over seven innings in nine regular-season games.

Strickland then earned a save in an 18-inning win over Washington in the NL Division Series, the longest postseason game in terms of time.

But Strickland gave up six home runs — the most by a reliever in a single postseason — in only 8 1-3 innings for the eventual World Series champions.

Some of the Giants' bullpen veterans, as well as manager Bruce Bochy and pitching coach Dave Righetti, took Strickland aside and passed along words of wisdom.

It is quite a different scenario from the spring of 2014, when Strickland was in camp after having had Tommy John surgery. He also missed the entire 2011 season with an injury that led to rotator cuff surgery.

The potential is there and Bochy is hoping Strickland can harness it.

“He's ready for the (exhibition) season, throwing to hitters,” Bochy said. “He is a tireless worker. His stuff appears to be what it was last year. He is ahead of a lot of guys. I know he's going to have a good spring. He just needs to get a little smarter.”

“He knows he can't beat up everybody who hits a home run off him,” he said.

NOTES: Because of possible bad weather, the team has scratched its intrasquad game that had been set for Monday. … Bochy said the first four starting pitchers in exhibition play will be LHP Madison Bumgarner and RHPs Jake Peavy, Ryan Vogelsong and Yusmeiro Petit. All will throw one or two innings. RHP Tim Lincecum, also expected to be in the rotation, will “piggy back” off one of those spring starters. … OF Angel Pagan continues to work his way back from neck soreness, but will be held out of Tuesday's Cactus League opener against the A's.

Hunter StricklandMLBSan Francisco Giants

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