Belt, Brown among 22 Giants non-roster invitees

Belt, Brown among 22 Giants non-roster invitees

Jan. 14, 2011GIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEO

SAN FRANCISCO The San Francisco Giants have extended non-roster invitations for Major League Spring Training to the following 22 players, club Senior Vice President and General ManagerBrian Sabean announced today: right-handed pitchersCasey Daigle, Waldis Joaquin, Shane Loux,Guillermo Mota, Felix Romero, Jason Stoffel andRyan Vogelsong; left-handed pitchers Wilmin Rodriguez,Ryan Verdugo and Matt Yourkin; catchersTommy Joseph, Hector Sanchez, Chris Stewart and Jackson Williams; infieldersBrandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Charles Culberson, Brad Eldredand Nick Noonan; and outfieldersGary Brown, Terry Evans and Juan Perez.
RELATED: Giants roster page
Daigle, 29, will begin his 12th professional season, his first in theGiants' organization. The Lake Charles, LA native owns a 3-4 recordwith a 7.16 ERA in 33 big league contests while pitching for Arizona(2004, 2006) and Houston (2010). He appeared in 13 games for the Astrosin 2010, allowing 13 runs in 10.1 innings.Joaquin, 24, has appeared in the big leagues with San Francisco in eachof the last two seasons (2009-10), posting a 5.87 ERA in 14 reliefappearances. A native of La Vega, Dominican Republic, he made 4 reliefoutings with the Giants last season, allowing 6 runs in 4.2 innings. Healso pitched for the clubs Arizona Rookie League squad and for triple-AFresno, combining to go 1-2 with a 4.43 ERA (20er, 40.2ip) in 27 minorleague contests (9 starts). Joaquin was claimed off waivers by theChicago White Sox on November 22, however, rejected the waiver claimand signed a minor league contract with the Giants in December.Loux, 31, has appeared in parts of four Major League seasons withDetroit (2002-03) and Los Angeles-AL (2008-09), going 3-7 with a 6.14ERA in 39 games (13 starts). He spent the 2010 campaign with triple-ARound Rock in the Astros organization, forging a 6-12 record with a5.25 ERA (63er, 108.0ip) in 20 games (19 starts).Mota, a veteran of 12 big league seasons, owns a 37-42 record with 9saves and a 3.92 ERA (329er, 755.2ip) in 665 Major League contests.The 37-year-old proved to be valuable out of the bullpen during SanFranciscos run to winning the World Series last season, as he had a1-3 record with 1 save and a 4.33 ERA (26er, 54.0ip) in 56 reliefappearances. Mota has seen big league action with the Expos(1999-2001), Dodgers (2002-04, 2009), Marlins (2004-05), Indians(2006), Mets (2006-07), Brewers (2008) and Giants (2010).Rodriguez, will make his debut at big league camp in 2011. The25-year-old, who was signed by the Giants as a non-drafted free agentin 2004, split time between Class A Augusta and double-A Richmond lastseason, going 4-4 with a 3.67 ERA (22er, 54.0ip) in 37 games (onestart). Overall, he has forged a 17-14 record with a 4.07 ERA (145er,320.2ip) in 182 games (17 starts) in seven minor league seasons.Romero, 30, will open his 13th professional season, his third full yearwith the Giants organization in 2011. He split last season betweendouble-A Richmond and triple-A Fresno, going 5-3 with a 3.62 ERA (44er,109.1ip) in 33 games (14 starts). The Dominican native has struck out831 batters in 811.0 innings over his minor league career. He will bein Giants big league camp for the second straight season.Stoffel, 22, will make his first appearance at big league camp for theGiants in 2011. The Agoura Hills, CA native spent all of last seasonwith Class A Advanced San Jose, logging a 2-4 record with a 4.80 ERA(27er, 50.2ip) and going 25-for-29 in save opportunities. The 6-foot-2,220-pound right-handed pitcher was San Franciscos 4th round selectionin the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.Verdugo,23, will make his debut at big league camp after posting an impressive2010 campaign by combining for an 8-1 record with a 1.87 ERA (13er,62.2ip) in 44 games (one start) with Class A Augusta and Class AAdvanced San Jose. Following the season he played for the ScottsdaleScorpions of the Arizona Fall League and went 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA (6er,22.0ip) in 7 starts. Drafted by the Giants in the 9th round in 2008,Verdugo has fashioned a 13-1 record with a 1.75 ERA (22er, 113.0ip) injust 76 games over three minor league seasons.Vogelsong,33, returns to San Francisco, as he was originally the Giants fifthround selection in the 1998 draft. He was traded by the Giants alongwith outfielder Armando Rios to Pittsburgh in exchange for right-handedpitcher Jason Schmidt and outfielder John Vander Wal in 2001. In sixbig league seasons the North Carolina native has gone 10-22 with a 5.86ERA (205er, 315.0ip) in 120 games (33 starts). He last appeared at thebig league level in 2006 with Pittsburgh. Last season he split thecampaign between triple-A Lehigh Valley (Philadelphia) and triple-ASalt Lake (Los Angeles-AL), going 3-8 with a 4.81 ERA (51er, 95.1ip) in33 games (14 starts).Yourkin, 29, will be in big league camp for first time in his career.The Napa, CA native spent the entire 2010 season with triple-A Fresno,going 7-8 with a 4.24 ERA (64er, 136.0ip) in 29 games (24 starts).Joseph will be the youngest player in camp at just 19 years of age. Inhis first professional season last year, the Scottsdale, AZ nativebatted .236 (103-for-436) with 22 doubles, 16 home runs and 68 RBI forClass A Augusta and was named to the South Atlantic League All-StarGame. Joseph was selected by the Giants in the second round of the 2009draft out of Horizon High School.Sanchez, 22, returns for his second consecutive Spring Training withthe Giants as a non-roster invitee. Last year he batted .274(85-for-310) with 5 HRs and 31 RBI in 89 games for Class A Augusta.Sanchez was signed by San Francisco in 2007 and has compiled a .300batting avg. (226-for-753) with 52 doubles, 5 triples, 14 home runs and134 RBI in 221 minor league games.Stewart, 28, has seen brief time at the Major League level, hitting.188 (9-for-48) for the White Sox (2006), Rangers (2007) and Yankees(2008). He spent the entire 2010 campaign with the triple-A PortlandBeavers (San Diego), batting .248 (66-for-266) with 7 home runs and 39RBI in 85 contests. He had his contract purchased by the Padres lastseason when rosters expanded on Sept. 1 and appeared in two big leaguegames.Williams will be in his fourth-straight big league camp with SanFrancisco. The 24-year-old native of Tulsa, OK batted .204 (65-for-318)with 5 home runs and 31 RBI for double-A Richmond and triple-A Fresnolast season.Belt, 22, had a spectacular professional debut last year, compiling oneof the best seasons of any minor league player in 2010, batting .352(173-for-492) with 43 doubles, 23 home runs and 112 RBI in 136 gamesbetween Class A Advanced San Jose, double-A Richmond and triple-AFresno. He was selected to the California League All-Star team afterhitting .383 (103-for-269) for San Jose. Following his firstprofessional year, he helped Scottsdale win the Arizona Leaguechampionship by hitting .372 (32-for-86) with one home run and 16 RBIin 22 games. Named a Minor League All-Star byBaseball America, Beltplayed one year at San Jacinto Junior College, transferred to theUniversity of Texas and then was selected by San Francisco in the fifthround of the 2009 draft.Crawford,24, will be in big league camp for the second time. He was sidelinedfor nearly eight weeks during last season after breaking his right handand batted .236 (73-for-309) with 7 home runs and 23 RBI in limitedtime with double-A Richmond and Class A Advanced San Jose. He was namedto the Eastern League All-Star team, but did not play. The Giantsfourth round selection in the 2008 draft is a career .266 hitter(219-for-822) with 17 home runs and 74 RBI in 222 minor leaguecontests.Culberson, 21, will be making his debut in big league camp. SanFranciscos sandwich pick (51st selection overall) in the 2007First-Year Player Draft hit a professional best .290 (146-for-503) with16 home runs and 71 RBI last season while playing for Class A AdvancedSan Jose. Following the season he played for the Scottsdale Scorpionsof the Arizona Fall League and was named a Rising Star after hitting.366 (34-for-93) in 21 games. Eldred will enter his first season with San Francisco. The 30-year-oldinfielder has seen brief time at the Major League level with Pittsburgh(2005, 2007) and Colorado (2010), batting .204 (53-for-260) with 15home runs and 33 RBI. He split last season between triple-A ColoradoSprings and at the big league level with Colorado. He appeared in just11 games with the Rockies, batting .250 (6-for-24). Eldred was draftedby the Pirates out of Florida International University in the sixthround of the 2002 draft.Noonan, 21, spent all of last season with double-A Richmond and batted.237 (88-for-372) with 3 home runs and 26 RBI in 101 contests. ThePoway, CA native owns a .268 clip (411-for-1,536) and 198 RBI over fourprofessional seasons within the Giants organization. He will be in hissecond-straight big league camp.Browna 22-year-old outfielder, was the Giants first selection (24th overall)of the 2010 First Year Player Draft. The outfielder played in just 12games for the Arizona League Giants and short-season Salem-Keizer aftersigning his professional contract. Drafted by San Francisco out of CalState Fullerton, Brown was named an All-American by Baseball America(2nd team), Rivals.com (1st team), Collegiate Baseball (1st team), theNational Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (1st team) and theAmerican Baseball Coaches Association (1st team). Named the 2010 BigWest Conference Player of the Year, the speedy outfielder set thesingle-season school record in batting average by hitting .438 andbecame the first Titan to steal more than 30 bases in a season in 1994(32 steals). His .438 batting average ranked eighth in the nation.Evans will be making his first appearance with the Giants as anon-roster invitee. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound outfielder will be enteringhis 10th professional season and has produced a .274 average(984-for-3585) in 958 minor league games. The Dublin, GA native wasoriginally drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 47th round of the2001 First Year Player Draft. He also played for the Los Angeles Angelsof Anaheims organization from 2006-2010.Perez, a Bronx, NY native, put together a solid 2010 season for Class Aadvanced San Jose in just his second year of professional baseball. ACalifornia League All-Star, Perez batted .298 (164-for-551) with 37doubles, 13 home runs and 63 RBI in 131 games last season. The24-year-old outfielder was the Giants 13th selection in the 2008 FirstYear Player Draft.Courtesy San Francisco Giants media services

Conley: Raiders first-round selection '10 times more special' after off-field issues

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Conley: Raiders first-round selection '10 times more special' after off-field issues

ALAMEDA – Gareon Conley’s name has been sullied, at least temporarily. He feared it would be long enough to send him free falling down the NFL draft.

The Ohio State cornerback and top-15 prospect was accused of rape stemming from an April 9 incident in Cleveland, an allegation he called “completely false.”

The Raiders clearly believe him. That’s why they drafted him No. 24 overall on Thursday evening, and expect him to be a long-term solution in their secondary.

Conley wasn’t sure how far he’d fall after being beaten down by one rough week. Reggie McKenzie’s first-round selection and subsequent call was more emotion than expected.

“It made it 10 times more special,” Conley said Thursday night in a conference call. “Just having that doubt in my mind, just not knowing. Just having faith and having doubt, I didn’t know what was going to happen. When it came, it shocked me. It felt unreal, honestly. It still feels unreal.”

Being a top pick was expected after an excellent career at Ohio State. The rape accusation threatened to destroy his draft-day dreams despite the fact he has not been arrested or charged in relation to the incident.

Conley said he volunteered to take a polygraph test for NFL teams, and reportedly passed the one he took. He said in a statement there are witnesses and video evidence proving he didn’t do anything illegal.

Conley spent the last few days trying to proclaim his innocence.

He is scheduled to meet with Cleveland police on Monday to discuss the April 9 incident, where group sex was involved a woman claimed she was sexually assaulted.

Conley believes his name will be cleared.

“I’m scheduled to meet with (police) on Monday,” Conley said. “I’m very confident it will be resolved. I took a (polygraph) test today that helps. Then when I made my statement and all the evidence that I have, I feel confident it’ll be resolved.”

Conley admits he shouldn’t have put himself in a compromising position, which occurred at a Cleveland hotel.

“I could’ve made way better judgment,” Conley said. “I mean, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I definitely could’ve made a better decision.”

Conley hopes to move beyond it quickly and start focusing on football. He is scheduled to fly west for a press conference on Friday.

Conley is thankful to the Raiders for believing in him despite his recent troubles.

“It’s off the charts, honestly,” Conley said. “Just to know that they have faith in me, not even just as a football player but as a person like that, it speaks highly of them, and I really appreciate it. It’s an honor to be a part of the Raider organization.”

Spurs beat Grizz, advance to face Rockets in Western Conference semis

Spurs beat Grizz, advance to face Rockets in Western Conference semis

BOX SCORE

MEMPHIS, Tenn -- Kawhi Leonard scored 29 points, and the San Antonio Spurs advanced to the Western Conference semifinals by beating the Memphis Grizzlies 103-96 Thursday night to take the series 4-2.

The Spurs now have beaten Memphis four of the five playoff series between these teams, and this was San Antonio's second straight win over the Grizzlies in the first round.

Tony Parker added 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting, while LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Patty Mills had 10 points off the bench for the Spurs. San Antonio outrebounded Memphis 46-28, with 16 of those offensive boards. That led to 17 second-chance points.

Their semifinal with Houston will start Monday night in San Antonio.

Mike Conley scored 26 points, leading the five Memphis starters in double digits. Marc Gasol added 18, Zach Randolph 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Vince Carter had 12 points.

The Grizzlies fell to 3-10 in elimination games, losing six straight.

This was a taut game with 16 ties and nine lead changes, especially with four ties in the fourth quarter.

The Spurs took control after the Grizzlies went up 88-81 on three free throws from Conley with 6:29 left. Then Leonard scored eight straight for San Antonio, starting a 22-8 run to finish the game.

Even with Conley and Gasol a combined 2 of 10 in the first quarter, the Grizzlies trailed only 24-22 after Conley knocked down a 3 at the end of the quarter for his first bucket of the game. Conley hit another 3 for the final shot in the second quarter, putting Memphis up 50-45. The team that led at halftime won each of the first five games.

Parker hit his first six shots before finally missing his seventh with 29 seconds left in the first half.

The Grizzlies took their biggest lead at 57-47 on a 3-pointer by James Ennis III. That gave Memphis as many made 3s (9 of 17) as the Spurs had attempted (3 of 9) at that point. Randolph's layup with 7:19 left matched that 10-point lead at 63-53.

Then the Spurs went on a 13-3 run over a 4-minute span to erase that lead on Aldridge's three-point play at 67-66. Aldridge finished with nine points in helping the Spurs lead 75-74 at the end of the quarter.

TIP-INS

Spurs: They improved to 36-15 with a chance to clinch a series under coach Gregg Popovich, who took over in the 1996-97 season. ... Manu Ginobili converted a four-point play with 1:31 left in the third, putting the Spurs up 73-69. ... The Spurs wound up tying the Grizzlies' reserves with 16 points thanks to Mills.

Grizzlies: The Grizzlies set a franchise record hitting eight 3-pointers in the first half, topping the previous mark of seven in the second half May 1, 2005, against Phoenix. ... Conley has 20 or more points in five straight playoff games, the longest such streak in franchise history.

FREE THROW WATCH

Memphis coach David Fizdale earned a $30,000 fine from the NBA for his "Take that for data" rant about the free throw discrepancy in Game 2. Well, Leonard was 9 of 10 at the free throw line through three quarters compared to the Grizzlies' 7 of 8. The Spurs were 18 of 20 through three quarters. The Spurs finished 22 of 25 compared to 20 of 24 for Memphis.