Contract talks don't unnerve Cain in spring debut


Contract talks don't unnerve Cain in spring debut

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Youd think Matt Cain would be a nervouswreck this spring, fretting over the millions of dollars in the balance.Hes a free agent after this season. The Giants and hisagents are having daily discussions on an extension that could reach ninefigures.Instead, Cain has never looked so at ease. He's smiling and joking with teammates (and ribbing reporters) more than ever. He even wentspray-tanning last week.Yes, Cain. With an orange glow.The only unnerving part of his spring debut Monday night wasthat it came under the lights.

That was a little different, he said.Making pitches to escape a jam? Thats something Cain hasdone very well, and for a long time.He gave up a double to Rickie Weeks leading off the CactusLeague exhibition against the Milwaukee Brewers, but he settled down andretired the next three hitters on a strikeout and a pair of foul pops. In thesecond inning, Cain pitched around a walk and a single to finish his scorelessouting.Reaction?What did I say last year? Cain said, smiling. Itsprobably the same.It wasnt, actually. Cains elbow didnt feel so wonderfullast spring. He was shut down for three weeks and club officials fretted thattheir rock-solid rotation would spring plenty of leaks after being pushed allthe way to Nov. 1 the previous season.Instead, Cain pitched 221.2 innings to lead the staff andrank seventh in the NL. He hasnt ranked lower than seventh in the league ininnings pitched in any of the last four seasons.Hes one of the safest bets in anyones staff. No wonder theGiants are so keen on completing an extension before the equipment truck headsnorth in a few weeks.From what Ive been told, the two sides have reached greatercommon ground in recent weeks. Cain wants to stay and the Giants have thewherewithal to keep him. Those tend to be the most important factors. Itll bea surprise to many, both in the organization and out, if Cains deal doesntget done before the season starts.As for the rest, Cain is just settling in, as he alwaysdoes.Its always nice to face another team with the crowd going,he said. You remember what all that feels like.Unlike many pitchers, including Tim Lincecum, Cain doesntlimit himself to fastballs in his first outing.Ill start to throw my breaking ball early and mychangeups, too, he said. As soon as I get the feeling of throwing breakingballs in the spring, Ill keep on throwing them and try to carry that feelingon.Cain has a good feeling about the guys behind him,especially the speedy ones like Angel Pagan. The Giants figure to be much moreathletic in the outfield Melky Cabreras range is certainly better in leftfield and that will be a big help to Cain. Hes a rare fly ball pitcher whodoes a very good job of keeping the ball in the park.Its been a nice change to see those guys in the lineup andcome off the bench, Cain said. Just to see them running around, its veryenergetic. Its something we havent had the last few years. Its an asset now,to know those guys are at the top of the lineup, causing some havoc.As for the spray tan, don't worry. The kid from Memphis isn't going Hollywood. He was merely helping out a neighbor, who purchased one of the devices. A test subject, if you will.He's at ease, remember?

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.