Belt, Suppan lead split Giants squad to 7-2 win


Belt, Suppan lead split Giants squad to 7-2 win


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Jeff Suppan is facing a whole new situation, and a couple of outings against one of his former teams have helped his case for a starting job with the San Francisco Giants.Suppan pitched three scoreless innings against Milwaukee for the second time this spring, and rookie Brandon Belt hit a two-run homer Friday to lead a split squad of Giants to a 7-2 victory over the Brewers."Suppan did a nice job," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said before traveling to nearby Glendale for the other split-squad game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. "He had good control and was pumping that strike zone, throwing quality strikes."Suppan retired nine straight batters, allowing one hit - to Erick Almonte in the first - and striking out two in his first exhibition start. His previous appearance against the Brewers was in relief on Feb. 28.Suppan, who has a career record of 138-143, said this is the first time since early in his career with Boston that he has not been assured of a starting spot. He is competing for the No. 5 slot in the Giants' rotation.The 36-year-old right-hander worked a lot on his sinker on Friday."The movement was there, although I was underneath it," he said. "Location is the key. Some I thought were good, some not so good."Suppan agreed to a minor league deal with the World Series champion Giants in January. He went 3-8 with a 5.06 ERA in 15 starts and 30 appearances last season with Milwaukee and St. Louis.He had mixed emotions about facing the Brewers again."I was around those guys for four years and saw what they like to do, but do I really know how a guy like Prince Fielder is going to approach me?" he said. "You try to figure out a sequence and go with it."Fielder grounded out in his only at-bat against Suppan.Belt, projected as a future starting first baseman, hit his first homer of spring training in a five-run first, a drove off sidearming right-hander Tim Dillard. Belt also singled in the third."When you get your first hit, your first home run, it's a good experience," the 21-year-old Belt said. "The more at-bats I get, the more I'm around here, the more comfortable I get. Aubrey and some of the other veteran guys have been very good to me."Huff gave him a big endorsement."You keep hitting like this and you'll make the team," he said.Catcher George Kottaras hit a solo homer in the fifth for Milwaukee, and closer John Axford pitched one inning in his first appearance of the spring after struggling with food poisoning."I liked the way the ball came out of his hand," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He was a little up in the zone, but I liked the way he threw."Roenicke, who worked in the Angels' organization the previous 11 years, will manage against his former team for the first time on Saturday."I don't know if it will be emotional, but it will be nice to see some of those guys," he said.NOTES: Giants closer Brian Wilson (back) appears to be on target to pitch for the first time on Sunday against Seattle. ... Bochy said RHP Matt Cain possibly will throw a side session on Saturday after missing Thursday's start with an inflamed right elbow. ... With reserve C Eli Whiteside slowed by a sore elbow, Chris Stewart has done a nice job filling in for San Francisco. The 6-foot-5 Stewart is 4 for 10 in six games, and he has displayed a strong arm and good baserunning instincts. He scored all the way from first base on Aaron Rowand's double in the sixth inning Friday.

Source: Kaepernick visits 49ers headquarters

Source: Kaepernick visits 49ers headquarters

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who faces an uncertain future with the 49ers, visited team headquarters in Santa Clara on Wednesday morning, according to a league source.

Kaepernick was likely there to meet with 49ers general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan for the first time since they were hired to replace Trent Baalke and Chip Kelly.

On Feb. 9, Lynch said Kaepernick “reached out” to him shortly after he was hired as general manager. Lynch said he and Kaepernick planned on meeting in the near future.

Earlier this week, Lynch said he would have open and honest communication with Kaepernick about the club’s plan at the quarterback position.

“The one thing we will do very well with Kap is we’ll communicate,” Lynch said Tuesday on 95.7 The Game. “And I think that’s very important for both sides. Like everything else, that process is well in the works. We’ll continue to do that and we’ll be very up-front with him, in terms of what we’re thinking and we’ll want to know what he’s thinking, as well.”

Kaepernick and the 49ers agreed to a restructured contract in October. The sides tore up the final four years of Kaepernick’s contract and replaced it with a deal that enables Kaepernick to opt out to become an unrestricted free agent in March. Kaepernick's non-guaranteed scheduled pay is $14.9 million for the 2017 season.

Kaepernick does not currently have agent representation, according to the NFL Players Association.

He started 11 games last season after replacing Blaine Gabbert in the starting lineup and bounced back with a solid statistical season. Kaepernick threw 16 touchdown passes and just four interceptions for a passer rating of 90.7. He also rushed for 468 yards and a career-best 6.8-yards per carry.

MLB players’ union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

MLB players’ union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

NEW YORK -- There won't be any wild pitches on intentional walks this season.

The players' association has agreed to Major League Baseball's proposal to have intentional walks without pitches this year.

"It doesn't seem like that big of a deal. I know they're trying to cut out some of the fat. I'm OK with that," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.

While the union has resisted many of MLB's proposed innovations, such as raising the bottom of the strike zone, installing pitch clocks and limiting trips to the mound, players are willing to accept the intentional walk change.

"As part of a broader discussion with other moving pieces, the answer is yes," union head Tony Clark wrote Wednesday in an email to The Associated Press. "There are details, as part of that discussion, that are still being worked through, however."

The union's decision was first reported by ESPN .

"I'm OK with it. You signal. I don't think that's a big deal," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "For the most part, it's not changing the strategy, it's just kind of speeding things up. I'm good with it."

There were 932 intentional walks last year, including 600 in the National League, where batters are walked to bring the pitcher's slot to the plate.

"You don't want to get your pitcher out of a rhythm, and when you do the intentional walk, I think you can take a pitcher out of his rhythm," Girardi said. "I've often wondered why you don't bring in your shortstop and the pitcher stand at short. Let the shortstop walk him. They're used to playing catch more like that than a pitcher is."

Agreement with the union is required for playing rules changes unless MLB gives one year advance notice, in which case it can unilaterally make alterations. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope Tuesday that ongoing talks would lead to an agreement on other changes but also said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Some changes with video review can be made unilaterally, such as shortening the time to make a challenge.

"I know they were thinking about putting in a 30-second (limit) for managers to make a decision," Francona said. "I actually wish they would. I think it would hustle it up and if we can't tell in 30 seconds, maybe we shouldn't be doing it anyway."