EXTRA BAGGS: Dominguez inspires double-takes


EXTRA BAGGS: Dominguez inspires double-takes

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Chris Dominguez turns heads wherever hegoes. But not necessarily because people recognize him.

Oh, yeah, I get that a lot, said Dominguez, asked ifanyone ever told him he bears a resemblance to Albert Pujols.

Dominguez has the same goatee and hes a sturdy, 6-foot-4.Even some of his actions at first base are reminiscent of the three-time NLMVP.

But hes balding, Dominguez said with a laugh. Im not.

Pujols owns a couple of Gold Gloves, too. But even he probablywouldnt have made the two plays that Dominguez did on Saturday, both timesranging far into foul ground while making over-the-shoulder catches.

Oh, it was fun. It was great, said Dominguez, a thirdbaseman, who started at first base at the last minute because Aubrey Huffsback stiffened up. I can play a little outfield, too.

BAGGARLY: Huff scratched with back tightness

Dominguez definitely looked unsure of himself earlier in thegame, when he didnt cover the bag on a ground ball to second baseman RyanTheriot. Tim Lincecum sprinted off the mound and was able to receive the throwto record the out.

But Dominguez was beaming after the first catch in foulground.

Hes smiling when he turns around, Lincecum said. Youcant help but smile with him. To be able to share that, its awesome.

Dominguez was smiling after the second catch, too.

I cant believe it happened again, he said. Once isenough.

Dominguez, 25, earned a quick promotion out of Single-A SanJose last season but wasnt able to make the same statement at Double-ARichmond, where he hit .244 with a career low .403 slugging percentage. He andrecent draftee Ricky Oropesa probably have the most raw power in the system,though. Dominguez also has the strongest arm of any infielder in the organization.

If he can cut down his strikeouts, he could be a pretty big power threat off the bench someday soon. Who knows? Maybe the Pujols resemblance would even strike some fear in opposing pitchers.

I just want to learn as much as I can here, and work onbeing more consistent, he said.

Dominguez was one of three hitters who stood in against RyanVogelsong, who threw live batting practice for the first time this spring.

He wasnt putting it where he wanted, but the stuff wasgood, Dominguez said.

Vogelsong said his strained lower back did not limit himwhile throwing 45 pitches.

At this point as long as I dont feel anything, Im happyabout it, said Vogelsong, who injured himself while doing squats in the firstweek of February. I didnt think about my back at all. It feels normal to me.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Vogelsong had good stuff,but not the greatest command. One more session vs. hitters and then Vogelsongwill be cleared to participate in a Cactus League game.

As Ive mentioned, the Giants could always start Vogelsongon the DL, since they wont need a fifth starter until the ninth game of theseason April 15. I guarantee you that Vogelsong wants no part of that, though.

Pablo Sandoval took some ugly hacks in his first at-bat, butin the sixth inning, he cranked his second homer of the spring. It was a deepshot down the right field line. Ryan Theriot, who hasnt stood out with the bator the glove thus far, also hit a home run. It was his first of the spring.Angel Pagan went deep for the first time as a Giant, too.

The Giants have hit 21 home runs in 17 games, which leadsall NL clubs.

Santiago Casillas game-ending strikeout pitch was 96 mph.Hes ready.

Sergio Romo is not, but he insisted that his right elbowjust needed a little break. He didnt expect to be sidelined for more than aday or two.

Weve come to expect a little hiccup from Romo every spring.His devastating slider is a pitch that taks its toll on his elbow. Its thereason his innings are monitored so carefully.

Its also the reason that Casilla or Jeremy Affeldt, notRomo, would be considered the primary closer candidates whenever Brian Wilsonis not available.

Its going to be touch-and-go around here on Sunday. The rain thatspelted the Bay Area most of the week is tailing down into the desert. Assumingthey play, itll be Madison Bumgarner against the Padres Edinson Volquez atScottsdale.

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 MLB.com 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.