Giants Insider notebook: DeRosa's road back


Giants Insider notebook: DeRosa's road back

Feb. 26, 2011

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Most veterans couldn't care less about their results in early spring training games, but this spring is a little different for Mark DeRosa.Signed to a two-year, 12 million contract before the 2010 season, he was limited to 26 games before submitting to the second major surgery on his left wrist in about 10 months. He rejoined the team for rehab and was along for the ride through the World Series, earning high praise from teammates for providing leadership that few non-participants can pull off, but being a well-paid cheerleader never sat quite right with the ultra-competitive side of DeRosa."I did what I could in terms of sharing what I knew about certain guys and situations, and it's great if some of our guys found that helpful; that's what being a teammate is all about," DeRosa said shortly after he reported for camp. "But they brought me here to contribute on the field, and not being able to do that was definitely frustrating."Now that he's back on the field, his wrist no longer an issue, DeRosa is contributing plenty. He celebrated his 37th birthday Saturday by going 3-for-3 in the Giants' Cactus League blowout of a split squad of Dodgers at Scottsdale Stadium. He's 4-for-5 in two games, and nobody's pretending the positive results don't mean anything."I think it does," Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "It's been a long road for him, and I know it's spring training, but you do want to get some hits and get going on a positive note."DeRosa, who has started both games at second base while Freddy Sanchez continues to strengthen his surgically repaired left shoulder, likely will serve as San Francisco's super-utilityman during the regular season, seeing time in several games a week while bouncing all over the diamond to spell various starters.HUFF'S FIRST AT FIRST
Aubrey Huff, who dropped a throw for an error on his first play at first base last spring, made his Cactus League debut Saturday and turned in one of the best defensive plays of the game on the first ground ball that came his way.With runners at second and third with one out in the third inning, Huff smothered a ball hit by Xavier Paul and fired a strike to catcher Chris Stewart to nail James Loney at the plate."I had a feeling he was going to hit it to me," Huff said. "I don't know why. Just a feeling. You'd like your first play of the year to be a little easier, but at least I got it out of the way."Huff and the rest of the Giants were expected to be average at best on defense last season, but their solid glove work ended up as one of the more pleasant surprises of the year."We don't have a lot of guys who are going to make the spectacular play," Huff said, "but everyone has good fundamentals and makes all the routine plays, and with our pitching that's all you need."SPEAKING OF PITCHING
Left-hander Jonathan Sanchez, recently named the team's No. 2 starter, gave up four hits and needed about 40 pitches to get through 1 23 scoreless innings. His ERA was protected by lefty Shane Loux, who took over with two out and the bases loaded in the second inning and struck out Jamey Carroll.Sanchez said it felt good to be back on the mound and noted that one of his goals this spring is to refine his splitter. So far, so good; he threw a nasty one to strike out Paul to open the second inning.Not one to thrust and parry with the press, Sanchez, when asked how his debut outing compared with his first outing of last spring, said he couldn't remember his 2010 Cactus League debut. Smiling throughout, he then playfully challenged the reporter who asked the question if he remembered that game.He did not.PANDA POWER
Though Pablo Sandoval made his second fielding error in two days, he atoned for it with an RBI single and a mammoth two-run homer onto the walkway far above and beyond the wall in the deepest part of right-center field.Both hits came on the first pitch of the at-bat, calling to mind Bochy's praise of Sandoval's patience in taking a walk and laying off some tough pitches on Friday.Bochy insisted that he didn't want his trimmed-down third baseman to lose his aggressiveness at the plate, saying, "He just needs to tone it down a bit."Now 3-for-6 for the spring, Sandoval skipped winter ball for the first time this past offseason, focusing on getting his weight and fitness under control."I put a lot of work in, and I'm doing well," Sandoval said. "It's nice. I do want to see more pitches because I didn't play this winter, but I know what pitches I can hit, and when they come I'm going to hit it."URIBE REUNION ON HOLD
The game didn't sell out, and the excitement in the air that marked Friday's opener was gone, as were the sunny skies. And the one story line that would have given the game a little extra juice -- even the GiantsDodgers rivalry is a fairly laid-back affair during the spring -- never materialized.Juan Uribe, one of the most popular Giants over the past two years but now with L.A. after signing a three-year, 21 million deal as a free agent, did not make the trip to Scottsdale with the Dodgers, staying in Glendale.One member of the Dodgers' media contingent said Uribe seems happy in his new home and has already won over his new teammates, but he added, "It's not the best look to decide to skip the first game against the Giants. I'm sure he just doesn't want to deal with it yet.""It" might be a chorus of boos. In a highly unscientific poll conducted via Twitter, more than 75 percent of respondents said they were more inclined to yell, "Booo-Reebay" than, "Oooh-Reebay."GAMERS
Lefty Clayton Tanner has the best outing among Giants pitchers, ripping through two scoreless innings. Bochy was impressed with Tanner's tempo and said Tanner, a third-round pick in the 2006 draft who went 9-9 with a 3.68 ERA over 27 games at Double-A Richmond last year, likely will start the season at Triple-A Fresno. "He does give us some coverage there, some depth," Bochy said. Middle-infield prospects Brandon Crawford and Charlie Culberson were among the defensive standouts Saturday. Crawford, a slick-fielding shortstop, showed off quite the cannon in throwing a runner out at second after chasing down a ball near the left-field line, and Culberson deftly handled a few tougher-than-they-looked plays at second base. Andres Torres went 2-for-3 with an RBI double. Mike Fontenot started at shortstop and went 0-for-3. Nate Schierholtz, battling for a roster spot and perhaps auditioning for teams that might be looking to trade for an outfielder, ripped a two-run triple before the game got sloppy. Huff just missed a home run down the right-field line and had to settle for a single because he hit it so hard that the carom off the wall made legging out a double impossible.

Cousins buys chocolate from kids for charity, donates bars to flight staff

Cousins buys chocolate from kids for charity, donates bars to flight staff

DeMarcus Cousins leads the NBA in technical fouls. He also leads the league in scowls and he’s even kicked over a few garbage cans following the Kings' loss to the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night. But that’s just a small portion of who he is.

According to a source that travels with the team, Cousins went out of his way Sunday morning to make an impact in the lives of a couple of local youth in Chicago.

Kids were selling chocolate bars outside the team’s hotel trying to earn money for charity. Plenty of people walked by, avoiding the youth, but Cousins stopped, reached into his pocket and purchased all of the boxes they had to sell.

Later on in the day, Cousins donated the candy to the flight service staff for use on the flight to Detroit.

Cousins gets plenty of negative press for his antics on the floor, but off the court, he is extremely generous. He plays Santa-Cuz during the holidays, buying gifts for underprivileged children in Sacramento and his hometown of Mobile, Alabama. He has also purchased a new scoreboard for a local high school and even paid for the funeral of a local high school football player who lost his life in a drive-by shooting.

No one is perfect, Cousins included, but he also has a genuinely good side that he often doesn’t seek or receive press for.


Kirk Cousins watches Kyle Shanahan's offense carve up Packers

Kirk Cousins watches Kyle Shanahan's offense carve up Packers

Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. His uncertain status has led to speculation presumptive 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan will be interested in acquiring him in the offseason.

On Sunday, Cousins got a first-hand look at his former coach’s offense.

Cousins posted a photo on Instagram from the stands at the Georgia Dome, where the Atlanta Falcons and their high-octane offense blasted the Green Bay Packers, 44-21, in the NFC Championship game.

Cousins wrote the caption, “Watching two of the best in the world do what they do & taking notes to make it to this game next year -score a lot of points!”

Washington finished third in the NFC East and out of the playoffs with an 8-7-1 record.

Shanahan, the Falcons’ offensive coordinator, coached Cousins for the first two seasons of his NFL career with Washington on the staff of his father, Mike Shanahan. Cousins appeared in just eight games with four starts in 2012 and ’13.

Cousins' career has taken off in the past two seasons while starting all 32 regular-season games. He completed 67 percent of his passes this season with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and a passer rating of 97.2.

Washington placed the franchise tag on Cousins this season at nearly $20 million. He franchise tag is expected to be approximately $24 million in 2017.

If Washington places the non-exclusive franchise tag on Cousins, a team could sign him to an offer sheet at the cost of two first-round draft picks or negotiate a trade with Washington for a lesser amount.