The 24-year-old Sacramento native batted .307 and hit 22 home runs at Double-A Connecticut last year numbers that look even better considering the deathly dimensions at Dodd Stadium. Bowker appeared a bit stalled entering last year, having repeated Class A San Jose in 2006. He hadn't developed into the power hitter the team envisioned when it took him in the third round of the'04 draft out of Long Beach State.
Coaches noticed that Bowker had no trouble turning on inside pitches with his quick, left-handed stroke. So they asked him to move closer to the plate, and the results were instantaneous.
"I was able to turn on more pitches," Bowker said. "And my approach was consistent the whole year."
Bowker is excited about one thing. After playing in pitcher's parks nearly all his life, including Long Beach's Blair Field, he's off to Triple-A Fresno and the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
WEIGHTY ISSUE: First baseman Daniel Ortmeier said he put on about 15 pounds of muscle this winter, thanks in part to daily motivation from workout partner and Colorado outfielder Brad Hawpe. The two Texans pushed each other in the gym, and Hawpe told the Denver Post he had trouble keeping up with Ortmeier, comparing his athleticism to Rockies teammate and MVP runner-up Matt Holliday.
Ortmeier, who entered camp at 230 pounds, showed his power by hitting an opposite-field home run against left-hander Jose Capellan.
SHORT HOPS: The Giants still don't have a meeting scheduled with commissioner Bud Selig to discuss the findings of the Mitchell report, general manager Brian Sabean said. Selig has pledged to give Sabean and owner Peter Magowan a forum to provide context on the events outlined in the report before taking any potential disciplinary action.