Giants top D'backs behind three solid from Sanchez


Giants top D'backs behind three solid from Sanchez

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Micah Owings has been working at a side job this spring while trying to pitch his way onto Arizona's 25-man roster. He's been working out at first base and taking a little batting practice.Owings struck out the side in a scoreless inning against the San Francisco Giants, who beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2 Wednesday night.
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"He should really feel good about the way he threw," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "We want to get him pitching and throwing the ball properly. I will have to get him an at bat pretty soon."When he's not working out with the pitchers, Owings is off at a back field taking grounders. The .293 career hitter has nine home runs in 184 career at bats.Jonathan Sanchez threw three solid innings, allowing two runs - one earned - on four hits. He walked one and struck out three."I thought Johnny threw the ball well," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He had good stuff all night."Zach Duke allowed three runs on seven hits over two innings and has given up 13 hits in his four innings this spring."The main thing is I felt good," Duke said. "You can't do too much about six broken bat hits. I'll just continue to work hard and get better. The more work I get, the more refined I'll get."Gibson echoed his starting pitcher."He has a long way to go but he's healthy," he said. "He broke some bats and that's a good sign."Freddy Sanchez collected his first two hits of the spring and Chris Stewart had two hits and drove in two runs for the Giants, who have won two of their last three games. Aaron Rowand and Charlie Culberson also drove in runs.Russell Branyan had two hits and drove in a run for the Diamondbacks, who lost their third in four games. Miguel Montero also drove in a run.Stewart tripled home two runs in the second inning and scored on Rowand's sacrifice fly, offsetting Montero's RBI single in the top of the frame.Branyan singled home a run in the third as the Diamondbacks closed to within 3-2.Stewart and Culberson hit back-to-back doubles in the sixth to make it 4-2."Stew put on quite a hitting show," Bochy said. "Freddy looks like he's swinging the bat well."Marc Kroon, the 37-year-old closer who spent most of his career pitching in Japan, earned his first save on American soil with a scoreless ninth."He was pretty excited," Bochy said. "He kept the game for his first save in the USA."Notes: Giants RHP Matt Cain will not make his scheduled start Thursday due to right elbow inflammation. He will be replaced by Ryan Vogelsong. ... San Francisco LHP Jeremy Affeldt struck out one in a perfect inning as he made his spring debut. ... Giants' RHP Brian Wilson will throw to hitters on Thursday. ... Owings saw his spring ERA drop to 27.00 from 108.00. ... Branyan is hitting .556 (5-for-9) in three games and has a 1.000 slugging percentage.
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Jaguars WR confesses to directing racial slur at Raiders

Jaguars WR confesses to directing racial slur at Raiders

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jaguars receiver Marqise Lee says he was flagged for using a racial slur in Jacksonville's 33-16 loss to Oakland on Sunday.

Lee acknowledged Monday that it was the reason for his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the third quarter, a flag that seemingly started Jacksonville's fourth-quarter meltdown in which defensive tackle Malik Jackson and cornerback Jalen Ramsey were ejected.

"I got flagged for saying the N-word," Lee said. "It was back and forth. In the midst of the game, emotion is going from both teams. It just so happened the ref heard me, so therefore I got the flag. I've just got to fess up to it."

Lee said he and several Raiders were "going back and forth as far as the words and stuff." The fourth-year receiver from USC said he let his emotions get the best of him and said "it went both ways."

The NFL made racial slurs a point of emphasis in 2014, reminding officials that the league already had a rule against abusive language.

Lee jogged off the field after his 15-yard penalty and was clearly frustrated as he explained to coach Gus Bradley what happened and why.

"Throughout the whole game, we had a lot of players saying a lot of different things, but that's just the midst of the game," Lee said. "It's kind of hard when you have refs out there trying to limit what people say when you've got grown men hitting each other.

"You've got a lot of things that's going on that's flaring as far as in your mind. ... It wasn't intentional at all. I know he woke up the next day not worrying about it at all, just like I woke up not worrying about it. I feel like you're going to always have that issue because you're going to always have situations flame up and both teams are going back and forth and things are going to get said regardless if the ref likes it or not."

Lee finished with seven receptions for 107 yards.

The Raiders were flagged 11 times for 117 yards. The Jaguars were penalized 13 times for 112 yards.

"That's a reflection of me as a head coach," Bradley said Monday. "It's a reflection of our discipline. It's a reflection of how our culture is and how we talk and how we handle things. Yeah, that part of it, that hits home with me because obviously it's my responsibility, the demeanor of this team and how we approach things and how we play with poise.

"I take personal responsibility for that."

Jackson was penalized twice on the same play in the fourth, first for roughing the passer on a third-and-10 play, and then for using abusive language toward an official. He was ejected four plays later following another exchange with an official. Jackson ran to the locker room, seemingly eager to get off the field early.

"It's an emotional game and we have to go out here and balance playing emotions from when to say things, not when to say things and not when to do things," Jackson said. "It's just hard to balance. Sometimes you lose control, and I think that's what happened. We lost control, but I don't see this being a tendency. I don't see this being an issue, and we're going to move forward."

Ramsey and Raiders receiver Johnny Holton were ejected for fighting in the final minutes of the lopsided matchup.

"They probably don't want me to say this, but I'm going to just keep it real with y'all," Ramey said. "If I was out there nine more times, I would do the same thing. I don't think I should have been thrown out of the game for it. Neither do I think he should have been thrown out of the game for it, to be real with you. But I'm not going to be disrespectful."

Notes: DeMelo will play for Sharks soon; Couture battling illness

Notes: DeMelo will play for Sharks soon; Couture battling illness

SAN JOSE – Dylan DeMelo may finally be coming to a San Jose Sharks game near you.

The 23-year-old defenseman, who has yet to play in any of the first six games, will likely make his season debut shortly, coach Pete DeBoer indicated on Monday.

“That’s something we discuss every day,” DeBoer said. “We like him, we’re very comfortable with him. We’d have no problem putting him in. I know Bob [Boughner] has no problem playing him, and not worrying about playing him against anybody out there. It’s a nice luxury to have. 

“We can get to the point where it’s too many games where he’s sitting out. We’re getting close to that. We’re going to have to get him in soon here.”

DeMelo has not played for the Sharks since the final game of the 2015-16 regular season on April 9. He served as the seventh defenseman in the playoffs, but the Sharks dressed the same six blueliners throughout their run to the Stanley Cup Final.

In the preseason, DeMelo – who would have to clear waivers in order to be reassigned to the Barracuda – beat out Mirco Mueller for the seventh job on the Sharks. He signed a two-year contract extension in the offseason.

A former sixth round pick of the club in 2011, DeMelo had a breakthrough season in 2015-16, playing in 45 games and establishing himself as an NHL defenseman. He finished the season with two goals and two assists for four points and an even rating.

* * *

While the Sharks shook up their forward lines at Monday’s skate, the top power play unit remained the same. Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are still together and will try to work out the kinks to their game.

The Sharks are 3-for-20 on the power play, with just one of those coming on a five-on-four.

“We’re not shooting the puck enough, that’s the big thing,” Couture said. “We’ve got to shoot the puck, get traffic. We always have a guy in front of the net and we’ve been getting away from that.”

* * *

Couture has managed five points (2g, 3a) through the first six games, all while battling a persistent cold that he just can’t shake. It’s obvious he’s dealing with some sort of sinus issue when hearing him speak the past few days.

“It’s like a month, it won’t go away,” Couture said. “It’s crazy.”

* * *

Breaking with standard practice, the Sharks opted to stay in Detroit the night after Saturday’s game, rather than immediately flying home on the team charter.

The Sharks were a miserable 1-8-1 in their first home game after a multiple-game road trip last regular season, with their lone win coming against Edmonton in a shootout, so DeBoer figured he would try something different this year.

“When we sat down in the summer and looked at areas to improve, our record coming back from road trips was not good last year,” he said. “We looked at opponents when we came back, our travel schedule. We’re just looking for answers to fix some of the areas that maybe we weren’t real good at last year.”