Cain reiterates opening day 'cutoff' for contract talks


Cain reiterates opening day 'cutoff' for contract talks

SURPRISE, Ariz. Matt Cain admitted his contract situationhas floated in and out of his mind this spring. He doesnt want that to happen when the games really matter.

Cain reiterated that the April 6 season opener would be acutoff for negotiating a long-term extension. Although both sides havecharacterized it as a soft deadline, Cains language was as firm as hisfastball.

Well, if the season starts, its a cutoff and thats kindof what were thinking about, said Cain, after holding the Texas Rangers tothree hits and two runs on a pair of solo homers in seven innings Thursdaynight. Neither one of us wants that lingering over our heads. (GM Brian)Sabean has been great about that.

Cain said he hasnt spoken to his agents every day, butnegotiations are ongoing and there remains mutual interest in completing a dealwithin the coming days. Giants CEO Larry Baer said earlier Thursday that theclub wasnt making a lowball offer, and that our desire is for him to remain aGiant. Theres nothing weve seen from him that shows his desire is not to be.

Cain acknowledged that the contract talks have entered hismind this spring. Its certainly on everyone elses mind, too. If a deal isntreached before the team jets home Sunday, Cain is sure to be deluged withquestions from media and fans alike.

Youre paying attention to it, but its one of thosedeals, said Cain, who can become a free agent after this season. If your mindstarts wandering, youve got to pull yourself away from it. Any time I maybeget too deep in thought about anything like that, I have to pull myself awayand focus on what I need to do on the field.

Cain received a different kind of snap to attention in thesecond inning, when Mitch Moreland and Mike Napoli hit consecutive home runs.Cain responded by retiring 17 of the next 19 hitters, making it through seveninnings on 91 pitches.

Matts ready, said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who wasthen asked if there was a better No.3 starter in baseball.

No, Bochy said. Hes not a No.3 starter. Thats the wayit falls in our rotation, sure, and he and I talked about that. He knows. Hesa No.1 in our eyes and in everybody in baseballs eyes, too.

Cain said he still needed to hone his slider, which wasinconsistent. Otherwise, hes ready to go and pumped to be a part of one ofbaseballs best rotations. As he has said on several occasions, the Giantsstrong rotation is one of the allures about staying here long-term.

Were all really excited about going out and competingagainst each other, trying to see who will throw the most innings, Cain said. Illleave the strikeouts to Timmy and Bum. They can punch some tickets. Theyreready and Vogelsong is getting healthy and I know Zito is excited. Were allready to get the season started.

Kershaw stands between Cubs and first World Series since 1945

Kershaw stands between Cubs and first World Series since 1945

Clayton Kershaw stands between the Cubs and the World Series, a possibility that left veteran catcher David Ross thinking about Ric Flair inside Dodger Stadium’s visiting clubhouse late Thursday night: To be The Man, you got to beat The Man. 

“Woo!” That’s how the Cubs like to punctuate their postgame celebration routine, channeling the professional wrestling legend in a ritual with so much sensory overload that the fog machine set off fire alarms throughout the underground Wrigley Field lair…after a win in the middle of August. “Woo!” 
The Cubs left Los Angeles one win away from their first National League pennant since 1945, and with two chances to pull it off this weekend at Wrigley Field, beginning on Saturday night in Game 6. So imagine how this crew would trash the Party Room if they beat Kershaw, a three-time Cy Young Award winner and 2014 NL MVP. 

“The guy competes,” manager Joe Maddon said. “It’s pretty much like mechanics be damned, it’s just about me beating you somehow. 

“He’s got a good fastball that he locates. He doesn’t walk people. He’s got a dynamic curve and slider. And he’s got deception. He’s a little bit funky, and that’s got to be hard to pick up. The ball gets on you pretty quickly, and then he commands it. 

“So there’s nothing you could possibly ask for that he doesn’t already have.”

Now we’ll see if something clicked while the Cubs turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 NLCS lead – handling rookie starters Julio Urias and Kenta Maeda and the softer parts of the Los Angeles bullpen – or if those 18 runs combined in Games 4 and 5 were a mirage.

In 16-plus innings so far, the Cubs still haven’t scored a run off Kershaw, if-necessary Game 7 lefty starter Rich Hill or dominating closer Kenley Jansen, who got this review from Maddon: “He’s like a 100-pound heavier version of Mariano Rivera. He’s the bigger man with the same kind of stuff.”


No Indians first pitch for 'Wild Thing' in World Series


No Indians first pitch for 'Wild Thing' in World Series

CLEVELAND -- Wild Thing will have to stay in the bullpen during the World Series.

While actor Charlie Sheen, who played Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn in the movie "Major League" offered to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before one of this year's World Series games, Major League Baseball said the choices have already been made.

A spokesman told the AP on Friday that MLB has worked with the Indians to identify "former franchise greats" to throw out the first pitch for the games in Cleveland. An announcement is expected early next week.

The Indians host Games 1 and 2 on Tuesday and Wednesday. If necessary, Cleveland will host Games 6 and 7 on Nov. 1-2.

There had been a movement by fans on social media for Sheen to throw the first pitch and be part of the pregame festivities.

Sheen got wind of the buzz and responded on Twitter, posting a photo of himself as Vaughn in his Indians uniform and wrote, "Major League continues to be the gift that keeps on giving! if called upon, I'd be honored."

Sheen made an appearance during the playoffs at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday when the Chicago Cubs beat Los Angeles in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

Released in 1989, "Major League" is a fictional account of the Indians finishing in first place with an unconventional group of players including Vaughn, who struggled to find the strike zone and warmed up to "Wild Thing," a No. 1 hit song in 1966 by The Troggs.

The real Cleveland Indians, who overcame injuries to win the AL Central, before knocking off Boston and Toronto in the playoffs, took a page from "Major League" this season.

Slugger Mike Napoli and second baseman Jason Kipnis constructed a shrine in an empty clubhouse stall between their lockers like one in the movie. In the film, character Pedro Cerrano practices Voodoo and prays to an idol named, "Jobu" to help him hit curveballs.

Like Cerrano, Napoli and Kipnis have their own "Jobu" and have left gifts, including small bottles of rum and cigars, to keep them out of hitting slumps.