Notes: Youngsters a breath of fresh air

Notes: Rookies getting some time

SAN FRANCISCO -- There has been a lot of talk about the Giants' "kids" this season. As the veterans struggled through the first half, disappointed fans called for the kids to save the season. When it became apparent that the Giants' season could no longer be saved, the question became: Could the kids be the solution to these problems next season?

Well the kids are finally here. They have been since the start of September, and while it's ridiculous to believe that they will solve all the Giants' problems next season, they have been the answer to many of their problems already.

The kids from Fresno are breathing some life into the Giants in the clubhouse and producing with their speed on the field, especially this past week. Daniel Ortmeier played a key role in two of the Giants' victories this homestand with a walk-off home run against the Dodgers on Friday and a triple that turned into the go-ahead run on Tuesday.

"It's always great to see one of your teammates and fellow outfielders do well," Nate Schierholtz said. "We really pull for each other since we've been together the past couple years."

Schierholtz has been doing pretty well himself. He hasn't blasted any walk-offs this week, but he did knock in one of the Giants' two runs on Saturday with a triple, and his speed in right field tracked down at least one potential double on Tuesday.

"It's about September, because we can't change what happened before now," Schierholtz said. "All we can do is try to put the team in a good position for next year and finish the season strong."

Schierholtz and Ortmeier have been in the starting lineup for four of the six games on the homestand, including Wednesday's series finale against Arizona. Manager Bruce Bochy has said he's going to try to give them as much playing time as he can for the rest of the season.

"I know as long as I do well the opportunity is there for me to possibly make the team, and that's my goal -- to contribute next year," Schierholtz said.

Rehabbing relievers: Right-handed reliever Randy Messenger was activated before the game on Wednesday and is available for the first time since surgery to repair his broken left hand. Messenger threw a simulated game on Monday, but he's looking forward to giving the hand a test run in a real game.

"I'd like to throw in at least one game before we hit the road," Messenger said.

Jack Taschner (mild shoulder strain) threw from flat ground for the first time on Wednesday. He said his shoulder felt good and he plans to throw a bullpen session by Friday. If all goes according to plan, Taschner will be ready to return on Sunday.

Little Giants advance: The San Jose Giants advanced to the California League Championship Series on Tuesday after defeating Visalia (D-backs) three games to one. Fred Lewis was a big part of the clinching win on Tuesday, when he hammered two home runs, a solo shot in the third and a three-run blast in the sixth.

The Giants' Minor League clubs finished the 2007 season with the second-best organizational winning percentage at .575.

King in the house: Boxing promoter Don King joked around on the field with some of the players before batting practice on Wednesday, touching Barry Zito's arm and saying, "Roger Clemens ain't got nothing on you." King is promoting a fight in Sacramento later this month and was at AT&T Park for a press conference, but took time to meet with several of the players before the game.

"We just gave him a place to have a press conference," president of Giants Enterprises Pat Gallagher said. "We'd like to have a fight here some day."

On deck: The Giants will open a six-game road trip that kicks off in San Diego on Friday at 7:05 p.m. PT. Zito (9-12, 4.46 ERA) will be on the mound opposite the Padres' Chris Young (9-7, 2.72).

Becky Regan is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.