Zito looks sharper in Giants' win over Dodgers

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Zito looks sharper in Giants' win over Dodgers

March 4, 2011BOXSCORE GIANTS POSTGAMEVIDEOMLBPAGE MLBSCOREBOARD
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Barry Zito has heard the doubters who question whether he can still pitch. Heck, he even thinks he's got something to prove to himself.The left-hander took a step toward answering some of the questions by striking out two in three innings as a split squad of San Francisco Giants defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-3 on Friday night."I definitely have work to do, but I'm encouraged," Zito said. "I want to prove that I have what it takes to be productive."He gave up one earned run on two hits and walked one in his second spring start, two days after manager Bruce Bochy confirmed Zito remains the team's No. 4 starter."There's been some talk and things like that around camp. I don't know how much of that is based in truth, but at the end of the day this is the major leagues and you got to prove yourself every year," Zito said. "I've proven that I have good stuff in me, but it's a matter of making that happen on the field. I'm taking this very seriously."Thomas Neal and Buster Posey homered for the Giants, who earned their Cactus League-leading sixth victory on a 75-degree night at Camelback Ranch, where 11,261 fans poured in to see the World Series champions take on their California rivals.The Giants open the season at Dodger Stadium on March 31.Zito had a better outing than he did Monday against Milwaukee, when he allowed two earned runs on three hits, walked five and struck out two."I just want to stay in the moment when I'm out in the game," he said. "A lot of the times when I got off track last year, I was looking with too broad a lens instead of just pitch to pitch."Bochy said he thought Zito was better in the third inning."In the first two innings, he was out of sync," he said. "In that third inning, he slowed things down and had a better rhythm going, so he finished up on a good note, which is good news."Zito is 40-57 with a 4.45 ERA in his first four years with the Giants after signing a 126 million, seven-year contract before the 2007 season. He was left off the postseason roster for all three rounds last year as the Giants won their first World Series title since 1954."I don't think he quite gets the credit that he deserves. Wins and losses are things he can't control," Bochy said. "We've had a tough time getting him runs. He makes every start and gives us everything he's got, and that's all we can ask."Right-hander Jon Garland made his spring debut for the Dodgers after signing with them as a free agent. He allowed one run and one hit in three innings, struck out two and walked none. Garland will be the team's No. 5 starter after spending last season in San Diego."Very nice," first-year Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He made it look pretty easy. He threw the ball pretty good."Garland hit Giants right fielder Cody Ross on the left wrist in the second. Zito struck designated hitter Marcus Thames on the right hand in the bottom of the inning.Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton walked one in one inning in his second spring appearance.Neal's first homer of the spring on the first pitch from Matt Guerrier landed in the Dodgers' bullpen in left field, giving the Giants a 2-1 lead in the fifth. Posey followed with his second homer on a 3-2 pitch from Ron Mahay in the sixth.San Francisco extended its lead to 5-1 in the seventh when Mike Fontenot lined a two-run, two-out single to left field off Travis Schlicting.The Giants led 1-0 in the second when Ross scored on Travis Ishikawa's soft fly to center field and Matt Kemp's throwing error.Zito walked Jamie Hoffman to load the bases in the second. Ivan DeJesus Jr. grounded into a double play, with Thames scoring on a fielder's choice to tie the game.Giants center fielder Andres Torres, out of the starting lineup since last weekend because of a sore left oblique, returned as the leadoff hitter and was 1 for 3 with a strikeout in five innings.Notes: The Dodgers made their first cut of the spring, reassigning LHP Dana Eveland to minor league camp. He didn't pitch an inning because of a strained left hamstring sustained in the first day of drills. ... Giants backup C Eli Whiteside, bothered by right elbow inflammation, threw long toss on Friday and could play in a game next week. ... It was San Francisco's second game of the day, with a split squad having beaten Milwaukee 7-2 in Scottsdale. ... The Giants beat the Dodgers 8-3 last weekend, and the teams meet twice more this spring.

Padres non-tender former A’s P Ross, former Giants C Sanchez

Padres non-tender former A’s P Ross, former Giants C Sanchez

NEW YORK -- Tyson Ross, an All-Star pitcher for San Diego two years ago, was among 35 players who became free agents when their teams declined to offer them 2017 contracts on Friday.

Washington outfielder Ben Revere and Philadelphia outfielder Cody Asche also were cut loose, along with Arizona catcher Welington Castillo and pitcher Rubby De La Rosa; Baltimore pitcher Vance Worley; and Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Louis Coleman.

Milwaukee first baseman Chris Carter and Pittsburgh pitcher Jeff Locke were non-tendered as well; their teams had already designated them for assignment earlier this week.

Teams cut players at the tender deadline to avoid committing to salary arbitration, in which about one-sixth of next season's salary is guaranteed.

Ross, a 29-year-old right-hander, was 13-14 with a 2.81 ERA in 2014 and 10-12 with a 3.26 ERA the following season. He was limited to one major league appearance this year and had surgery in October for thoracic outlet syndrome. Recovery time was expected to be four to six months, and the Padres deemed him too pricy for arbitration after he earned $9,625,000 this year.

Asche, 26, was designated for assignment earlier Friday to clear a roster spot for left-hander David Rollins, claimed off waivers from Texas. Asche hit .240 with 31 homers and 125 RBIs for the Phillies during 371 games in the past four seasons and would have been eligible for arbitration for the first time.

The 28-year-old Revere was acquired from Toronto in January for reliever Drew Storen but strained his right oblique in his first at-bat of the season, left after four innings and went on the disabled list. Revere returned May 6, hit just .217 with two homers and 24 RBIs in 103 games and would have been on track for a raise from his $6.25 million salary.

Castillo batted .264 with 14 homers and 68 RBIs and would have gotten a big raise from his $3.7 million salary.

Isaiah Thomas continues to show Kings he's the one that got away

Isaiah Thomas continues to show Kings he's the one that got away

The one that got away. 
 
There have been plenty of faces that have come and gone over the last decade of futility in Sacramento. But rarely has there been a player that has gone on to become something more than just a standard role player in the NBA. 
 
Isaiah Thomas is the exception.
 
Selected with the 60th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Thomas went from zero to hero in the strike shortened 2011-12 season with Sacramento. And that was just the tip of the iceberg.
 
In three seasons with the Kings, the generously listed 5-foot-9 Thomas became known as “The Pizza Guy” in Sacramento due to his commercials for a local pizza restaurant and his ability to deliver in the clutch. With a million-dollar smile and the presence of a man a foot taller, Thomas became the Kings’ most marketable player. 
 
By his third season, he was much more than just a novelty item. Despite his size limitations, Thomas posted 20.3 points and 6.3 assists per game in his final season with the Kings, forming a nice trio with DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay under head coach Michael Malone.
 
During the summer of 2014, the Kings, under general manager Pete D’Alessandro, decided to go in a different direction. Sacramento’s regime valued Thomas around the $5 million per season range, although they may not have even gone that high to retain the high-scoring point guard. 
 
When the Phoenix Suns came calling with a 3-year, $21 million deal offer for Thomas, D’Alessandro dealt the fan favorite for Alex Oriakhi (a second round pick that has never played a game of NBA action) and a trade exception. 
 
The Kings went a different direction and basically received nothing for one of their best assets. 
 
Rumors swirled afterwards about Thomas’ departure of discourse was between he and Cousins, but neither has ever substantiated the claims. In fact, both have denied that there was a rift.
 
“That’s all this league is, what people think they know - 99 percent of the time, they don’t know,” Cousins said. “That’s my guy. I’m extremely happy for him. I’m happy for all of the success he’s gotten so far.”
 
To take it a step further, Thomas has even lobbied to have the Kings star center join him with the Celtics.
 
“If he came to Boston, that would be good, really good,” Thomas told the Sporting News over the summer. “The thing is, I’ve got his respect. I’ve always had that."
 
“When I was with him, I didn’t back down,” Thomas added in his conversation with the Sporting News. “I’m a point guard and that was my job. No matter if we did or didn’t get along off the court, on that court we were going to get along, and I was going to hold him accountable. That’s just how it is. It’s how I’ve always been. And he respects me for doing that.”
 
Instead of paying slightly more for Thomas in 2014, Sacramento signed Darren Collison to a 3-year, $15 million deal that summer. The Suns already had two point guards in Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe and after 46 games, they dealt Thomas to the Celtics in a 3-team deal for Marcus Thornton and a future first round pick.
 
Through multiple conversations with management at the time, it was clear that Sacramento’s front office didn’t value Thomas as a starting point guard and they also didn’t believe that he would willingly accept a role as a six-man. 
 
Their valuation of Thomas was wrong. 
 
Fresh off his first All-Star game appearance and back-to-back playoff runs with the Boston Celtics, Thomas has taken his game to even greater heights this season under coach Brad Stevens. 
 
Thomas came into Friday night’s showdown with his former team averaging 26.1 points and 6.3 assists. He ranks ninth in the league in scoring and has the Celtics in the mix for a third straight playoff run. 
 
Sacramento made his life difficult, but the pint-sized point guard still managed to post 20 points and seven assists in the win over the Kings.
 
Thomas, 27, is a free agent at the end of the year and looking to cash in off his stellar numbers. Not only does he bring an ability to hit the big shot, but he’s a leader that has proven that he can take a team to the playoffs. 
 
The move to let Thomas slip through the Kings’ fingers goes down as one of the all-time gaffs in team history. Watching him thrive in Boston is a painful reminder to fans in Sacramento and the fact that the Kings got nothing in return makes it that much worse.