EXTRA BAGGS: Could Sandoval address first base woes?


EXTRA BAGGS: Could Sandoval address first base woes?


ATLANTA So much has been made of Buster Poseys playingtime at first base. So it might have been easy to overlook Pablo Sandoval putting on a first basemans mitt for the first time all season Thursday.

Sandoval moved to first base in the eighth inning afterGiants manager Bruce Bochy pinch-hit Justin Christian for Brandon Belt.

And yes, Bochy and his staff, frustrated over the lack ofproduction at the position, will discuss the idea of playing Sandoval at firstbase more often.

Well see, Bochy said. Well talk about it on the plane.

Putting Sandoval at first base would mean having JoaquinArias bat in the lineup with Belt on the bench. That wouldnt seem to be avery good idea, even though Belt continues to struggle to make consistentcontact.

But it might open another avenue for GM Brian Sabean tobolster the lineup. If he cant acquire a first baseman ahead of the July 31non-waiver trade deadline, what about a third baseman?

There arent many attractive third basemen expected to bemade available, but Sabean is known to value an experienced player such as thePhillies Placido Polanco. Its highly unlikely, but if the Giants want tothink big, and that means taking on some big-time salary commitments, theycould gamble on the Marlins Hanley Ramirez.

In the meantime, Bochy has to keep fighting the perceptionthat he is forever down on Belt. In fact, Bochy defended Belts baserunningdecision in the second inning of Thursdays 3-2 loss to the Braves, when he gotthrown out trying to go from first to third on Emmanuel Burrisss single.

Sandoval scored from second base when the throw was cut off.

Theres a play with Pablo at the plate there, so its not abad play (for Belt to run), Bochy said. I dont look at that as the differencein the game. You want to get to third with one out. He just hesitated there.

What about the decision to pinch-hit Justin Christian forBelt in the eighth, after Sandoval hit a double?

Well, even though Belt has been more productive againstleft-handed pitching, Braves southpaw Eric OFlaherty has been virtuallyunhittable against left-handers. Entering the game, OFlaherty held them to a.093 average (4-for-43). Right-handed hitters were batting .354 (28-for-79)with three home runs. And Christian hit the ball on the button three times theprevious night. So the move certainly was defensible, even if it didn't work out.

At any rate, it wasnt a move that reflected entirely onBochys faith in Belt, or lack thereof.

Partially, maybe. But not entirely.

As of right now, the Giants are not close to making anytrades, so Im told. Theyre finishing up the process of canvassing the leagueto find out whos available and whom they want to target. Theyve also senttheir scouts through each level of their minor league system to evaluate theirown prospects.

I did hear that the Giants heavily scouted the Cubs andRoyals Triple-A clubs a couple weeks back. So take that for whatever itsworth.

My expectation, based on everything I hear, is that theGiants probably wont part with the necessary package of prospects to get atop-flight closer such as Huston Street or Francisco Rodriguez. If the pricedrops on Jonathan Broxton, theyd be interested, though.

Emmanuel Burriss knows he might be on borrowed time as theGiants look for roster upgrades. But theres no reason he cant enjoyThursdays two-hit game that included an RBI single and a stolen base.

Its a tough situation but were winning ballgames, saidBurriss, who only starts when Ryan Theriot needs a rest. When Boch puts me inthere, Ill try to do as much as I can. The way the team is clicking, everyoneis doing their best to help out.

Its never easy to have a bench composed of several young oryoung-ish players, all of whom can hear the clock ticking as their 20s rollalong while they sit on the bench, unable to compile the stats that could makethem a comfortable salary. Nate Schierholtz has dealt with the frustration foryears, and now hes reached the point where hes finally willing to go publicwith it.

Madison Bumgarner allowed two solo home runs while takingthe loss. He leads the staff with 14 homers allowed. Its already two more thanhe gave up last year.

And yet Bumgarner got 10 ground outs compared to just two inthe air.

So what happened on those two pitches to Freddie Freeman andDavid Ross?

I wanted the fastball to Freeman away and it was middle,Bumgarner said. The other was a full count to Ross. I threw him a lot ofcutters in and thought a change-up would be a good pitch. It was outside, butup, and he did a good job of keeping his hands back.

Overall, Bumgarner said he was pleased with how he pitched.And the Giants, despite being wasteful on offense (led by Angel Pagan, who was0-for-4 with three strikeouts while leaving runners three times), had to bepleased with the result in Atlanta.

Hard to believe the Giants have played 19 regular-seasonseries at Turner Field, and this is just the second one theyve captured.

I think everybody feels good about what we did here,Bumgarner said. This is a good team, and they always play us tough.

Now it's on to Philly, where Friday night's weather forecast looks something like this.

Santiago Casilla says he never received offer from Giants

Santiago Casilla says he never received offer from Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — Over the final month of his time with the Giants, it became clear that Santiago Casilla and the team would part ways. On Friday, Casilla confirmed that he never had the opportunity to return. 

On a conference call to announce a two-year deal with the Oakland A’s, Casilla said he “would have been happy to return to the Giants, but I never got an offer from them. I understood.”

Casilla said he had several opportunities to go elsewhere and close, mentioning the Milwaukee Brewers as one interested team. Casilla signed a two-year, $11 million deal with the A’s, who likely won’t need him to pitch in the ninth. The Brewers went on to bring in Neftali Feliz for one year and $5.35 million; he is expected to close. 

“I preferred to return to the Athletics because that’s where my career started,” Casilla said through interpreter Manolo Hernández Douen. “And I’m very excited.”

Casilla spent the first six years of his career with the A’s before crossing the bridge and becoming a key figure in three title runs. In seven seasons in San Francisco, he posted a 2.42 ERA and saved 123 games. Casilla had a 0.92 ERA in the postseason, but he was stripped of a prominent role in the weeks leading up to the 2016 playoffs. 

Casilla, 36, blew nine saves before being pulled from the ninth inning. He appeared just three times in the final 14 regular season games and just once in the playoffs. He did not take the mound in Game 4 of the NLDS, watching as five other relievers teamed up to give back a three-run lead. 

That moment stung Casilla, and it affected Bruce Bochy, too. The Giants struck quickly in December to bring Mark Melancon in as their new closer, but at the Winter Meetings, Bochy said he would welcome Casilla back in a setup role. 

“He’s a great team player (and) teammate,” Bochy said. “(I) certainly wouldn’t rule it out because he still has great stuff. And he had some hiccups there in that closing role, but I would take him anytime.”

As it turned out, that opportunity was never there for Casilla. The Giants didn’t make another move after the big deal with Melancon, and they’ll rely on younger arms to record most of the outs in the seventh and eighth. Casilla said he’s not bitter about the way it all ended. 

“I have left that in the past,” he said. “It’s a new year, it’s a new year. I have left this in the past.” 

Authorities: Two Dodgers security guards arrested, accused of theft


Authorities: Two Dodgers security guards arrested, accused of theft

LOS ANGELES -- Prosecutors say two security guards at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium have been arrested and are accused of stealing equipment, baseballs and jerseys from the major league team to sell online.

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office says Juan DeDios Prada and Fernando Sierra pleaded not guilty to burglary and other charges Thursday.

Prosecutors say the two security guards conspired with a third man, Jesse Luis Dagnesses, to steal baseball uniforms and other team merchandise to sell online.

They say Prada and Sierra stole more than $3,400 from a locked equipment room at the stadium between January 2013 and February 2016.

Authorities say Dagnesses is accused of receiving $950 in stolen baseballs and jerseys.

It wasn't immediately clear if the men had attorneys who could comment on the allegations.