Giants start title defense with win over D'backs


Giants start title defense with win over D'backs

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Tim Lincecum had butterflies, admittedly nervous taking the field with the added hype as a World Series winner.He threw back-to-back balls, then allowed a single up the middle to Willie Bloomquist.The Freak hardly looked like his dominant self in his short exhibition debut Friday, but that's often the case for San Francisco's two-time NL Cy Young Award winner this time of year - and he doesn't worry much about Cactus League numbers. Fittingly, the World Series champion Giants won a familiar one-run decision with a 7-6 victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the majors' first spring training game.
The champs took the field to roaring cheers at Scottsdale Stadium, where a logo painted on the grass behind home plate reads "2010 WORLD CHAMPIONS."
VIDEO: Timelapse of World Champion logo
"Before the game there was a buzz," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We appreciate it. I told these guys: 'You should be honored. You've earned this.'"Lincecum took the mound in a game for the first time since pitching eight innings in the Giants' Game 6 victory Nov. 1 at Texas that clinched the franchise's first World Series title since moving West in 1958 and first overall since '54 in New York."When they say, 'Your world champion San Francisco Giants,' that gives you the tingles," Lincecum said. "Going out there, I was talking to Buster (Posey) and I said, 'Is it weird we have butterflies already?'"Lincecum kept his head down as he walked off the mound to cheers upon giving way to winner Steve Edlefsen after 1 2-3 innings and 33 pitches. He had one strikeout and was tagged for three runs and five hits.
URBAN: Despite beating, Lincecum upbeat
"I felt like I threw a lot of quality strikes," Lincecum said. "Obviously it's not the outcome I wanted."Still, Bochy considers his opening-day starter to be ahead of schedule at this stage compared to a year ago. Last spring, Lincecum was even sent to minor league camp a couple of times to get in some extra work.The 26-year-old Lincecum maintained a workout regimen this winter that he began last September, on the heels of a career-worst five-start losing streak in August."I think he wanted to come into camp and be a little ahead of where he was last year," Bochy said. "I like where he's at right now. We're not concerned with results."
INSIDER NOTEBOOK: Action, torture return
Arizona starter Joe Saunders - who might become manager Kirk Gibson's pick for opening day - threw a 1-2-3 first inning before running into trouble in the second as he began to mix in his off-speed pitches. He took the loss.The left-hander is looking to bounce back from a 9-17 year with the Angels and Arizona. Overall, he was happy with how his arm felt in his first outing despite not being 100 percent."I made some good pitches and they still found some holes," he said. "I was dealing with a little bit of arm soreness issue. A little bit of tightness there. It's just normal spring training soreness. It's stuff everyone goes through."Xavier Nady hit the game's only home run, a solo shot in the third off San Francisco fifth starter Madison Bumgarner.Still, this day was all about the Giants."Bruce, you're the man!" one fan hollered in the final inning.Bochy knows the boos might have come had his club not pulled out this close one. Casey Daigle struck out Collin Cowgill swinging to end it."Didn't you know it was going to go down to the last pitch today with the winning run on second?" Bochy quipped. "I heard a guy in the stands say: 'Torture's back so early. Why can't you break us in?'"Slimmed-down Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval, typically a free-swinger at the plate, laid off a slider in the dirt by Saunders in the second before hitting a sacrifice fly.The Kung Fu Panda's winter shapeup got him down 38 pounds to a fit 240. He is coming off a down year during which he batted .268 with just 13 homers and 63 RBIs and grounded into an NL-high 26 double plays in his second full season in the big leagues."A focus for Pablo this year is to show a little better discipline," Bochy said.NOTES: Mark DeRosa, playing 2B for the Giants, hit an RBI single in the second and drew a walk after missing most of 2010 with a left wrist injury that required surgery. ... Giants 1B Aubrey Huff, nursing a sore left wrist, said he would play his first game Saturday against the rival Dodgers. "It's just old-guy stuff. I think I slept on it wrong," Huff said. ... Aaron Rowand started in CF for the Giants, who used Andres Torres as DH. Rowand, making 12 million this season, insists he is in the best shape of his life after cycling more than 1,000 miles this offseason in the Las Vegas area. While Torres is the leading candidate to play center and lead off, Rowand hopes to make his case to play. "I'm going to do what I can do, that's it," Rowand said.

Seton Hall slips past Cal basketball at Pearl Harbor Invitational


Seton Hall slips past Cal basketball at Pearl Harbor Invitational

HONOLULU Jabari Bird nearly notched his first collegiate double-double with 22 points and a career-high nine rebounds, but just as his effort fell short, so did California men's basketball's efforts against Seton Hall. The Pirates slipped past the Golden Bears, 60-57, at the Pearl Harbor Invitational to hand Cal its second loss of the season. The Bears are now 7-2.

Seton Hall's Angel Delgado scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.

Delgado, a 6-foot-10, 240-pound forward, made 6 of 9 shots from the field in a game-high 36 minutes played.

Desi Rodriguez scored 15 points and Khadeen Carrington had 14 points with four assists for the Pirates (7-2).

Carrington tied it at 45 with just under 12 minutes to play on a 3-pointer from the right wing, which ignited a 7-0 Seton Hall run. California never regained the lead.

Ivan Rabb's putback pulled the Golden Bears (7-2) within 58-57 with 31.1 seconds remaining, but Carrington and Delgado each hit a free throw to extend the Pirates' lead to 60-57 with 2.7 seconds left.

Bird had a chance to sent it into overtime, but his 3-pointer from about 25 feet as time expired was no good.

California closed out the first half with an 11-4 run to turn a four-point deficit into a 34-31 lead.

It was just the second meeting between the teams with California winning 81-76 on Dec. 8, 1973.


California: Rabb, a 6-11 sophomore, struggled for the second consecutive game. He made just 3 of his 8 shots from the field and finished with eight points after being held to a season-low six points against Princeton Tuesday. Rabb, who has been playing with a left wrist injury, entered Wednesday's game averaging 17.5 points per game.

Seton Hall: The Pirates reeled off their third straight win despite making just 9 of their 20 attempts (45 percent) from the free-throw line. They shot just 46.6 percent (21 of 45) on free throws for the two-day tournament.


California will host UC Davis Saturday, its seventh home game in 10 contests this season.

Marshall's admission a reminder culture of health doesn't exist in sports


Marshall's admission a reminder culture of health doesn't exist in sports

Brandon Marshall of the New York Jets had one of his greatest games ever against the San Francisco 49ers two years ago and remembers almost none of it, because, as he told reporters Wednesday, he was cloudy-minded on painkillers.

This admission is one more reminder that sports are not necessarily good for one’s health, in large part because the culture of health in sports really doesn’t exist.

There is, rather, a culture of ordinance, and the players are the weaponry.

Marshall’s acknowledgement that he was masking pain from a high ankle sprain that should have kept him out of action for “four to six weeks,” by his own estimation but had him returning to action 10 days after the original injury.

“I’ll say it: I took a couple pain pills, so . . . I took a couple of pain pills to mask the pain,” he said on a conference call with CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco. “I really wasn’t supposed to play. So I don’t remember much from that game. I just remember catching those balls. That was pretty much it.”

We now re-enter the culture of playing when it isn’t prudent, either out of a misplaced sense of bravado or employer-based pressure to perform (there is no direct statement from Marshall saying that the painkillers were given to him by the team). The sense of bravado, which most athletes have, probably can never be legislated, and the culture of downward pressure to perform no matter what the infirmity has proven immensely difficult to conquer.

But there is another factor here, and that is the general lack of efficacy of painkillers. Warriors coach Steve Kerr took to using a form of medicinal marijuana because the painkillers he was taking for long-lingering symptoms from his back surgery were doing more harm than good. He said he found the marijuana was equally lacking, but he had enough concerns about the deleterious effects of Vicodin, OxyContin and other standard medications assigned to athletes in pain.

“I’m not a pot person; it doesn’t agree with me,” Kerr told CSN Bay Area’s Monte Poole on the Warriors Insider Podcast. “I’ve tried it a few times, and it did not agree with me at all. So I’m not the expert on this stuff. But I do know this: If you’re an NFL player, in particular, and you’ve got a lot of pain, I don’t think there is any question that pot is better for your body than Vicodin. And yet athletes everywhere are prescribed Vicodin like it’s Vitamin C, like it’s no big deal.”

He later expanded on that after the initial “Kerr Is A Sparker” headlines hit the Internet.

“Having gone through a tough spell over the last year with my own recovery from back surgery, a lot of pain, a lot of chronic pain, I had to do a lot of research,” he said. “You get handed prescriptions for Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet . . . NFL players, that’s what they’re given. That stuff is awful. That stuff is dangerous, the addiction possibility, what it can lead to, the long-term health risks. The issue that’s really important is how do we do what’s best for the players.

“But I understand that it’s a perception issue around the country. The NFL, the NBA, it’s a business. So you don’t want your customers thinking, ‘These guys are a bunch of potheads.’ That’s what it is. To me, it’s only a matter of time before medicinal marijuana is allowed in sports leagues because the education will overwhelm the perception. If you do any research at all, the stuff they’re prescribing is really bad for you and the stuff that they’re banning is fine.”

It is instructive, then, that when Marshall was asked for his position on the NFL’s stance not to include marijuana as a permissible substance for pain management, substance, a Jets public-relations employee who could be heard in the background of the call saying that Marshall “knows better than that.”

But Marshall did answer the question, saying in essence that he fully intends to know better, period.

“That is something that I actually want to research more this offseason when I have time,” he said. “I’m not a guy that knows about the benefits of what it can do for pain and other things. But I’d like to hear others’ opinions and really research the effects it can have on us – positives and negatives.”

In the meantime, sports soldiers on, using increasingly debunked methods for dealing with the pain their businesses inflict upon their employees and issuing warnings about breaching the silence of the workplace. But tales like Marshall’s will continue to surface until the businesses that require him and his like come to grips with the toll of their shortsightedness and, in some cases, neglect.