Q&A with Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy

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Q&A with Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy

Nov. 5, 2010GIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEO
VIDEO: PART 1 PART 2 PART 3SANFRANCISCO (AP) Giants general manager Brian Sabean and the World Serieschampions have reached out to the representatives for first basemanAubrey Huff and infielder Juan Uribe about bringing them back in 2011.Yet Sabean doesn't figure eithersituation will be resolved soon because he expects both players want torelish in the team's improbable title for a while - and get somemuch-needed rest. Huff said Wednesday he would be "an idiot" not towant to return."It doesn't appear that they're intoo much of a hurry, which is understandable," Sabean said Friday atAT&T Park. "They want to soak this in. I hope it's if and when, butyou don't know how the outside world is going to present itself. Ourbiggest challenge will be to decide how many years and for how muchmoney. It will be definitive, but I can't predict what the action willbe from the outside world on both of those players."San Francisco's payroll should exceed100 million for next season, assuming the Giants are able to reachagreements with all eight of their arbitration-eligible players - leftypitcher Jonathan Sanchez, center fielder Andres Torres, right fielderCody Ross, infielder Mike Fontenot and relievers Ramon Ramirez,Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez and Chris Ray. That doesn't factor inthe possibility of re-signing Huff and Uribe.Pablo Sandoval, coming off a downyear in his second full major league season, will show up for springtraining without a starting job. After batting .345 in 2008 and .330with 25 home runs and 90 RBIs last year - when he was the last playerleft out of the All-Star game - the free-swinging Sandoval hit .268 in2010 with 13 homers and 63 RBIs while striking out 81 times.The 24-year-old has battled hisweight and the Giants consider conditioning to be one of his problemsat the plate and on defense. This offseason, he isn't headed home toVenezuela to play winter ball. Instead, he will work out in San Diegoand then report to the Giants' Scottsdale, Ariz., training complex inJanuary.A year ago, San Francisco embarked onan "Operation Panda" fitness and nutrition routine for the out-of-shapeslugger - after his nickname of Kung Fu Panda. The new health habitswere hard to maintain, though Sabean also points to some tough times inSandoval's personal life. He went through a divorce and custody fightthat took him back home for a few days during the season.Sabean said the Giants won't put thesame kind of offseason expectations on other young players in thefuture. Namely: rookie catcher Buster Posey."I think we learned a lesson as anorganization that we probably put him too far out there in ouroffseason with the "Panda Inside" banner and we learned that can put alot of pressure on a player or, in fact, maybe in some ways it workedagainst him having to live up to that hype," Sabean said. "The reason Imention this is we're not going to make that same mistake with Posey.We're going to try to let these guys fly under the radar, because weknow the second time around they are marked men. ... This kid right nowis a hole card and he doesn't really have a position until he gets hisact in order."Manager Bruce Bochy, who still livesin San Diego, said he will be in close contact with trainers workingwith the infielder in the coming months.Sandoval played in six games thispostseason, starting at designated hitter in Game 3 of the World Seriesand going 0 for 3 with a strikeout and also grounded into a doubleplay. He made two starts in the NL division series against Atlanta andtwo more in the NLCS versus the Phillies.Sandoval grounded into an NL-high 26 double plays during the regular season for the NL West champs."It's obvious it didn't quite workout like we had hoped. And there comes a time where he's got to takeresponsibility to get himself into the type of shape he needs to bein," Bochy said. "His priority is to get back in the type of shape heneeds to be in to play third base or wherever he plays. He knows what'sat stake and there was some tough love involved here. I think the worldof Pablo, but at the same time, he's got some work to do. He knows it.If he wants to play in the major leagues he's got to get in bettershape. I was up front with him and he understands."While Sabean didn't rule out makinga run at left-handed hitter Carl Crawford, he doesn't see the Giantsbeing able to compete with the front-runners of the Angels, Red Sox andTigers.Still, he hopes players will consider San Francisco a desirable spot following the team's first title since moving West in 1958."I'll start by saying what thenation saw from our crowds, our fans and how it worked both waysbetween the people in the clubhouse and the fans and the fact that wetake great pride in saying San Francisco's a baseball town," Sabeansaid. "It can only be bigger and better and help. It's not only keepingour own players that we want to re-sign, but it's got to be adestination for a lot of people. It can only help. We hope that's afactor."

Stanford tops North Carolina on PKs, advances to NCAA final

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USATSI

Stanford tops North Carolina on PKs, advances to NCAA final

HOUSTON — For the second straight season, Stanford found itself depending on penalty kicks to advance to the College Cup final.

Like last season, the Cardinal came out on top. After each team converted its first nine attempts in the tiebreaker, Amir Bashti made it 10-for-10 for Stanford. Tar Heels defender Alex Comsia then sent his try over the crossbar to end it, giving Stanford a 10-9 win.

"They had just as many good chances as us, and it could have been a 1-0 game either way," Stanford coach Jeremy Gunn said.

Stanford (14-3-5) will face Wake Forest in the College Cup final on Sunday in search of its second straight national championship.

"It's not his fault. We could have done things in the game to have his back," North Carolina defender Colton Storm said of Comsia's miss. "It could have been any of us."

"It's the nature of the game," North Carolina coach Carlos Somoano said. "Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don't. Sometimes there's moments you seize the moments, and sometimes it runs away from you."

North Carolina (14-3-4) had the two best chances of the game. Late in the second half, forward Alan Winn was denied by goalkeeper Andrew Epstein, who made a nice save with his legs.

Later, Epstein made the best save of the match in the final seconds of the second overtime on a shot from forward Tucker Hume. After gaining possession in the right side of the 18-yard box, Hume unleashed a shot that Epstein deflected wide with his legs.

"He made the plays to keep the game at 0, and he deserves credit," Somoano said.

After a flurry of corner kicks and a free kick in an attacking area, Stanford had the best opportunity to score in the first overtime on a header from Drew Skundrich, but he put if over goalkeeper James Pyle, who had six saves. Foster Langsdorf, the Stanford goal leader who scored in the team's first three tournament games and has 15 on the season, had three shots and two on goal but was unable to break the deadlock before the game went to penalty kicks.

"Any result like that is going to be tough to swallow," Storm said. "Stanford's a really good team. We each had our chances. National semifinal, it's going to be tough to swallow no matter what."

While Epstein was unable to stop any of North Carolina's penalties in the shootout, his saves late in the game enabled Stanford to continue its quest for a repeat.

"Andy's never really attracted much attention, but when you're his coach you appreciate him," Gunn said. "You can depend on him."

Stanford has won 15 of its last 18 games after starting the season with three ties and a loss. The Cardinal have yet to concede a goal through four tournament games, while North Carolina's season ends after a third consecutive tournament shutout.

After winning the first national championship in program history last season, Gunn praised his team for continuing to push forward this season.

"It's incredible," Gunn said. "You've always got to be optimistic. There's no point in being anything else. We started the year so well in January. I thought, 'These players are so hungry.'"

Rewind: Sharks fall behind early again, lose 3-2 to Ducks

Rewind: Sharks fall behind early again, lose 3-2 to Ducks

ANAHEIM – Spotting a team the first two goals is a difficult recipe for winning hockey games. That’s even truer when you’re the Sharks, and you’re having tremendous difficulty scoring more than two goals on any given night in the first place.

While the Sharks hung with Anaheim in a closely contested game at Honda Center on Friday night, the Ducks got that extra necessary score. Brent Burns and Kevin Labanc answered first period goals by Rickard Rakell and Antoine Vermette, but Hampus Lindholm’s marker with 5:38 to go in the third period was the difference.

For the fifth time in their last six, and ninth in their last 12, San Jose's scuffling offense couldn’t eclipse the two-goal plateau in a 3-2 defeat.

Coach Pete DeBoer said giving up the first two scores, like they also did on Wednesday in a similar loss against Ottawa, “is not optimal, obviously. But we battled back, and I thought the game could have gone either way. 

“I give our guys credit for battling back. … We didn't hang our head, we battled, and we're just finding a way to lose right now instead of win, which, we've been winning games like that."

For the second straight game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski had numerous prime chances but couldn’t find a way to get one. An early third period opportunity stood out among the rest, though, when Pavelski was staring at a wide open net in a 2-2 game from close range.

Typically that’s an automatic score for Pavelski, who led the league in game-winners last season. But this time, it went five feet wide.

“Kind of rolls up, catches the blade, and it’s not even close,” Pavelski said. “Those are the moments you’ve got to cash in on. I haven’t done that.”

The Sharks’ best stretch came early in the second period, when they outskated the Ducks and peppered Jonathan Bernier while trailing, 2-1. The Ducks goalie turned them all away until Labanc squeezed one through at 8:40 after the rookie was nicely set up by linemate Logan Couture.

“He didn’t give me much room. You just want to get that off as quick as you can,” Labanc said. “Just took a quick shot, and it went in the net.”

In a game of momentum swings, though, the Ducks outplayed San Jose in the third. They took the lead when Joel Ward gave Lindholm a little too much room to pick his spot on a wrist shot from the top of the circle.

After looking like they were in good shape after two periods, Labanc thought the Sharks were “a little too confident” headed into the third.

“We stopped skating, stopped dumping the puck in, and working hard in the corners,” he said.

Pavelski bemoaned the fact that for the second straight game, a regulation loss in the final minutes, that the Sharks didn't even manage to get the point in the standings for forcing overtime despite fighting back.

"The last few games you have a chance to at least push it to the end," he said. "We're not giving up a whole lot."

The Sharks nearly did tie the game with Martin Jones pulled for an extra attacker, though. After Burns made a pair of remarkable shot blocks on Andrew Cogliano bidding for an empty netter, DeMelo and Ward each had whacks at the puck, but somehow it remained out. 
 
“A bunch of chaos, really,” is how DeMelo described it. “It was really tight. I think we were just inches away from getting the equalizer.”

Again, though, they just couldn’t find a way to get that third score.

“We were close,” DeBoer said, “but not close enough."