Cain, Sandoval involved in scary moments during live BP


Cain, Sandoval involved in scary moments during live BP

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Buster Posey faced live pitching for thefirst time since mid-May, but that joyous event was interrupted by two veryscary moments Sunday.

Matt Cain was struck in the leg and toppled to the groundafter Hector Sanchez sent a line drive screaming up the middle. Cain shook itoff and continued his session, then a trainer accompanied him to the clubhouse.A few minutes later, Jeremy Affeldt lost the handle on apitch and struck Pablo Sandoval in the ribs, knocking the Kung Fu Panda to the dirt.He stayed down for a moment but dusted himself off and continued his round.

See? I dont throw hard, Affeldt said, after checking tomake sure Sandoval was OK.Sandoval smiled as he dug back into the box. Affeldt onlyhad to throw two practice pitchouts to end his session.Now, dont be swinging, Affeldt said.Affeldt pitched with an L screen to protect him fromcomebackers. Cain didnt employ the screen as he faced Sandoval, Melky Cabrera,Nate Schierholtz and Aubrey Huff. Sanchez, who nearly won a batting title inthe Venezuelan League, hit the only ball hard off Cain.Cain didnt appear injured as he finished his session withpractice pitchouts. He also saw fit to give Sandoval some ribbing over hishyper-aggressive tendencies.You want to hit that one, dont you? said Cain, afterthrowing one well outside.Yeah, Ill hit that, Sandoval said.That sort of banter is typical of the first day of live BP,when teammates get the rare chance to face each other. Its a day that Poseyhad circled for months while rehabbing from three torn ankle ligaments and abroken left leg. He hadnt seen live pitching since May 25, when he was injuredin a home-plate collision.Posey caught Cain and then replaced Sanchez in the group tohit against Affeldt. He saw a total of 15 pitches from Affeldt and Sergio Romo,swung eight times and didnt miss once. Although he managed just foul balls anda couple of soft grounders in his early cuts, Posey ended the session againstRomo with an apparent ground-rule double to right-center, then a crisp linedrive to left field.Live BP is continuing with other pitchers. Barry Zito andGuillermo Mota were in the first group on the back field, where they are facingmostly minor leaguers. Tim Lincecum is not facing hitters because he threw aside session on Saturday. Pitching coach Dave Righetti said it went well andLincecum should be back on schedule soon; he had been set back because hemissed a bullpen session last week because of some minor back stiffness.One other morning note: Pat Burrell arrived in camp, thoughnot in an official coaching capacity. He said hes done playing, but hasntfiled the official retirement paperwork. Truth be told, he said he didntrealize he needed to file anything. But rest assured, the Bats baseballplaying days are over.

Giants catching prospect Garcia relishing reps in Arizona Fall League


Giants catching prospect Garcia relishing reps in Arizona Fall League

After being selected in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the San Francisco Giants, catcher Aramis Garcia quickly opened eyes with his power. Garcia totaled 15 home runs between Rookie Ball and Short Season Single-A in only 28 games after the draft. 

The next year, Garcia equaled his 15 long balls and spent the majority of his first full pro season at High Single-A. He also improved overall as a hitter, raising his 2014 slash line of .225/.301/.343 to .264/.342/.431 in 2015. The next climb up the farm system ladder was set in place, until it was gone with an excruciating injury. 

Garcia's 2016 season was limited to 47 games played as he sustained a facial fracture in May while sliding into second base. In an attempt to break up a double play, Garcia took a knee to the face. The injury kept him out until the end of July.

When the chance to play in the Arizona Fall League for the Scottsdale Scorpions arose, Garcia jumped at the opportunity. 

"First thing I did was call my parents and let them know," Garcia told on Monday. "I was just really excited for getting the opportunity to play against guys who are extremely talented and obviously make up for reps, which are extremely important."

Garcia never did exactly find his rhythm after the injury and finished the season batting .257/.323/.340 with two homers in 41 games. In the first half, the 23-year-old hit .298/.359/.369 compared to a lowly .200/.273/.300 in the second half. 

The catcher known more for his offense than defense, is off to a slow start at the plate while facing some of the top prospects in baseball. Throuh six games, he has gone 3-for-17 at the plate, good for a .176 average. But, Garcia acknowledged he's focusing heavily on his defense in the AFL. 

"I feel like when somebody tries to steal on me, I tend to take it a little bit personally," he said. "It's definitely something I take pride in, something I work on hard every day. There's a little routine I do with receiving and footwork, things like that every day."

Behind the dish, Garcia caught 38 percent of base runners looking to swipe a bag on him last season. Through his three years in the minors, Garcia has erased 34 percent of base stealers and owns a .993 fielding percentage. 

Cubs, Indians name starting pitchers for Game 1 of World Series


Cubs, Indians name starting pitchers for Game 1 of World Series

World Series ace Jon Lester is all set to start Game 1 for the Chicago Cubs.

Lester will be fully rested when he pitches Tuesday night at Cleveland. Corey Kluber will start for the Indians.

The 32-year-old lefty is 2-0 in three starts during this postseason, with wins over the Giants and Dodgers in the NL playoffs. He was 19-5 during the regular season.

Lester is 3-0 in three starts in the World Series with a sparkling 0.43 ERA. He helped the Boston Red Sox win championships in 2007 and 2013.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon says Lester is "really, really in the moment" right now.


Indians ace Corey Kluber will start Game 1 of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs.

Manager Terry Francona said Sunday that he will go with Kluber, an 18-ame winner during the regular season, in the opener on Tuesday night. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 0.98 ERA in his first postseason.

Francona has right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin penciled in for Games 2 and 3, respectively. The order could change depending on how Bauer's injured right pinkie heals over the next few days.

Bauer's start in the AL Championship Series lasted less than one inning after his pinkie began bleeding against Toronto. He injured his finger when he sliced it open while repairing a drone.

Also, injured starter Danny Salazar could be available against the Cubs. Salazar hasn't pitched since Sept. 9 because of forearm tightness but he's made major progress in the past week and could be on the World Series roster.