Felipe Alou may no longer be managing at the Major League level, but he still possesses one of the most experienced minds in baseball.
As special assistant to San Francisco Giants general manager Brian Sabean, the 72-year-old enjoys sharing that knowledge with younger players in the system. He is in town for this week's series between the Augusta GreenJackets (Class A affiliate of the Giants) and the Rome Braves.
"I enjoy this, seeing the young guys and being here to tell them something if I see something," Alou said. "I'm here to give advice to all the good people we have in the organization, at every level."
Alou said he has seen every other team in the system at least twice and has helped extensively with the big-league club, which sits last in the National League West with an aging roster. This is his first time seeing Augusta.
"We knew coming out of spring training that this was going to be a good ball club," Alou said. "They've got great starting pitching and with Roberto Kelly, they play an aggressive game and do a lot of good base running.
"I'm not really here looking at one individual. On this club, we believe there are several guys who will play in the big leagues."
As the major league club may have to filter out older players in the next several seasons, Alou said it isn't a coincidence the Giants' system is thriving at the Class A level.
"There are still a lot of home runs being hit in the big leagues, but we feel like there is a change coming in the direction of baseball, and speed and defense will be a big part of it," Alou said, referring to two of Augusta's main strengths for the second consecutive year. "We haven't been able to steal a lot, to take a lot of bases at the big league level. A transition is taking place, and the Giants will be a part of it."
CLOSER WOES: Augusta's all-star closer Juan Trinidad allowed three runs in his first innings and converted 17 of his first 18 save opportunities. In his past four outings, he's allowed eight runs in four innings and blown two of three save chances.
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Cleanup hitter Brett Pill hit his South Atlantic League-leading 34th double in Sunday's 6-5 loss. Pill is tied for third in all the minors in doubles and is second in the Giants system with 64 RBI.
BASE THIEF: Leadoff man Emmanuel Burriss (.310) continues to thrive in Augusta after struggling at the start of the season in San Jose. He had two stolen bases and two hits Sunday.
He's stolen 32 bases with Augusta and 49 total, fourth-best in the minors.
"Honestly, this is a lot more comfortable situation for me," he said. "I'm able to work a lot more, a lot harder."
Reach Steve Sanders at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.