CINCINNATI The Giants could have chosen from among two former Cy Young Award winners, Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum, to hold the shield with their backs against the wall in Game 3 Tuesday night.They chose neither. Theyll put their faith in their 35-year-old journeyman, instead.Ryan Vogelsong knows what its like to stand with his back against his wall. Its the natural result of walking down so many career dead ends. But his remarkable path led him back to the major leagues in 2011 after a six-year, continent-jumping hiatus. And now the Giants will entrust him to extend their playoff lives against the surging Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.Was it emotional when manager Bruce Bochy told Vogelsong the ball would be his?Yes and no, Vogelsong said. It was, because of the path Ive been on. And no, because I went into this series with the mindset that I was going to do whatever was asked of me to do.The fact hes given me the opportunity to start a game is tremendous. Its exciting. its amazing for me, but I said this a couple days ago: Its not about me at this point. Its about the team and whats best for us.Bochy announced Vogelsong in the hours prior to Game 2 on Sunday. Shortly after the club landed in Cincinnati on Monday and prepared to take the field for a light workout, Bochy made it official that Zito would start in Game 4.Bochy, his staff and the front office agreed over the final week of the regular season that Tim Lincecum would be the one starter bypassed in this NL Division Series.Even though Vogelsong got tagged for a 10.31 ERA over a seven-start span in late August and September, he rebounded well and threw filthy stuff at times while allowing just one earned run over his final three outings.Vogelsong said the rough run was a mix of overthinking his mechanics and some bad luck on balls in play.But Im pretty happy with how I feel going into tomorrow, said Vogelsong, who turned down the option to fly ahead of the team.The Giants were 2-0 in Vogelsongs starts against the Reds this season, although he didnt factor in the decision either time. (Angel Pagans ninth-inning homer turned a loss into a victory in Vogelsongs start here April 26.) He had a 4.15 ERA over the two starts and allowed home runs to Jay Bruce (at Cincinnati) and Todd Frazier (at home).Vogelsong said he would take full advantage of the intelligence gained by watching the first two games, when Reds hitters prevented Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner from recording an out in the sixth inning.Bruces homer off Cain, for instance, came when he got a fourth consecutive changeup over a span of two at-bats.Yes, I think we need to attack some people differently, said Vogelsong, who will put his trust in catcher Buster Posey. I have trusted him all year and he and I will talk about things tomorrow and try to come up with a good game plan and hopefully, that works.--Tim Lincecum did not do any pre-throwing or get his arm loose out of sight Sunday. He really did throw just two warmup pitches off a bullpen mound -- in front of the rubber, actually -- before he was summoned amid confusion to take the mound in the sixth inning.Asked again about the odd start to Lincecums rare relief appearance, in which he threw two scoreless innings, Bochy said Lincecum assured them he was OK to take the mound.We placed him on toss (in the bullpen) and he assured Righetti, Im good to go. Im ready to go, Bochy said. And he got confused there because he thought we were waiting for the pitcher to get up.Lincecum made the standard number of warmup pitches on the game mound before retiring six of the seven batters he faced. Perhaps he told Righetti he would be fine, assuming he still had more time to get loose?Im not going to get into that, said Lincecum, when asked about it after Mondays workout at Cincinnati.Bochy said the cold start might have benefited the former ace, who has struggled to repeat his delivery all season.It probably worked well for him, Bochy said. There wasnt a lot of thinking going on and he had some of his best stuff in terms of command.Maybe so. And maybe Lincecum is called The Freak for a reason.But hes still owed 22 million next season. So the Giants should count themselves lucky if they emerge from this with perhaps some hurt feelings and nothing else.--I hadnt appreciated what a tremendous all-around player Brandon Phillips was till I watched him on a playoff stage over the past two games. From diving to back up first base to doing the Bernie Lean to avoid a tag and defuse a potential double play to the more traditional stuff, like playing great defense or hitting a tone-setting, two-run home run. Phillips really does it all.Ill let Dusty Baker explain it. He does a better job than I ever could.Its hard to find that energy with talent. Sometimes you can find that energy, but without talent it doesnt do any good. He sparks us on the field, off the field, on defense, on offense. And he can do many things to beat you. Like the other night when he avoided that tag That goes unnoticed but we notice it. Going first to third, taking pitches or not striking out very much -- here is a guy who can do almost anything on a baseball field.Hes the only person that Ive had probably other than Barry Bonds that can bat anywhere in the lineup and feel comfortable doing that.Ive seen a growth. Hes one of our leaders here. We have a lot of leaders in a lot of departments, but The B is The B. Ive seen him grow big-time since Ive been here. When I first got here, I was having to spank him once a month, you know what I mean? Now its probably once every three months.
NEW YORK -- For everyone who thinks spring training is too long, help is on the way - a little, anyway.
Spring training will be shortened by two days starting in 2018, when new restrictions in Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement take effect on game times for regular-season getaway days.
The voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players will be 43 days before the major league opener instead of 45, according to a copy of the agreement obtained by The Associated Press. For other players, the date will be 38 days ahead instead of 40.
The change was tied to spreading each team's 162 regular-season games over 187 days, up from 183.
Players' association Assistant General Counsel Matt Nussbaum said the union's goal was to create more days off during the season "in a way that doesn't just chew up offseason days."
"We have heard for years and I'm sure we will continue to hear that spring training is too long, that guys are really ready to go well before opening day, but I think what the commissioner's office would tell you is that there are big challenges for the clubs in substantially shortening spring training because they have various commitments to put on a certain number of games," he said Monday.
Late arrival times ahead of regular-season series openers also were addressed.
Starting in 2018, the latest possible start time on getaway days when either team is traveling to a game in another city the next day or a home off day will be calculated by subtracting the time of the flight over 2½ hours from 7 p.m.
There are cutouts for Sunday night games broadcast by ESPN and games after June 1 at Texas' current home ballpark - where the Rangers avoid afternoons for much of the season because of the heat.
Another new rule for 2018 says no game in the original schedule may be set for before 5 p.m. when a team played the previous night in another city starting 7 p.m. or later. There are exceptions involving flights of 90 minutes or less for home openers and holiday weekends. Current cutouts are carried over for up to six exceptions each season at Chicago's Wrigley Field and rescheduled games involving flights of 90 minutes or less.
"We fully recognize that our players play a very demanding schedule, and we're always looking for ways to ease the burden on players while at the same time scheduling games at a convenient time for our fans to watch them," MLB Chief Legal Officer Dan Halem said.
Sunday night games on holiday weekends followed by afternoon games still seem likely to occur.
"We have contracts with various national broadcast partners that limit our ability to schedule day games in certain instances," Halem said.
Nussbaum said if the players had their way, there would be "a flat rule that says all getaway games are day games" but understand why that would cause difficulty for teams.
"There's still going to be some challenges in the schedule," he said, "but we think what we've done with these two prongs is pare back the most egregious of the travel."
As part of the agreement, one game in the major leagues may be scheduled each year on the Thursday after the All-Star Game starting in 2018.
NEW YORK -- Researchers say they've documented an unseen drag on major league baseball players that can wipe out home field advantage, make pitchers give up more home runs, and take some punch out of a team's bats.
The culprit: jet lag.
Travelers are well aware of the fatigue, poor sleep and other effects that can descend like a fog when their body clocks are out of sync with their surroundings. The new work adds to previous suggestions that professional athletes are no different.
Dr. Ravi Allada of Northwestern University said he and his colleagues wanted to study the effects of body clock disruptions on human performance. So they chose baseball, a game with plenty of performance measures gathered from hundreds of games a year, played by people who get little chance to settle in to new time zones when they travel.
They looked for jet lag's effects by analyzing 20 years' worth of Major League Baseball data. They found 4,919 instances of a team taking the field after crossing two or three time zones but without enough time to adjust. People generally need a day of adjustment for each time zone crossed.
Their analysis was released Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Results of the new study generally showed that traveling eastward was more disruptive than going west, a known feature of jet lag. A surprise, though, was that home teams seemed to suffer its effects more than visiting teams did.
Among the findings:
- Over all the games in the 20 years, teams won about 54 percent of games played at home, showing a home field advantage of 4 percent. But that edge was obliterated when home teams that were jet-lagged from traveling eastward played teams with no apparent jet lag - an apparent result of seemingly small declines in performance.
- After traveling eastward, jet-lagged home teams hit fewer doubles and triples, stole fewer bases and grounded into more double plays than when they weren't affected. The impact on doubles was about one fewer per every seven games, while the other effects were smaller.
- Eastward travel was linked to pitchers allowing more home runs, both at home and away. The difference came to roughly one home run every 10 games.
The researchers suggested starting pitchers might get time to overcome jet lag if they are sent a few days ahead of the team to distant away games. Many teams send them ahead now on long flights, but it's usually only a few hours early, to avoid overnight travel.
The researchers said they had no explanation for why teams were more hampered by jet lag at home than when they played elsewhere. Maybe that reflects some protection from a more structured daily schedule on the road than at home, they suggested.
That's a reasonable idea, said Dr. W. Chris Winter, a Virginia sleep specialist who consults with several major league teams.
Winter, who has published research on how jet lag affects baseball teams but had no role in the new study, said the findings moved beyond simply documenting an effect on overall team performance toward learning more about it.
Ballplayers know jet lag a problem, and have recently taken steps to ease the burden of their schedules. The Major League Baseball Players Association, concerned about fatigue, negotiated several changes in scheduling rules starting in 2018. For example, each team's 162-game regular season schedule will be played over 187 days, up from 183. And there will be new rules on scheduling games, taking into account the timing of consecutive games.
What difference can jet lag make? Allada pointed to the National League Championship Series last October.
Los Angeles Dodgers pitching star Clayton Kershaw shut out the Chicago Cubs when he pitched against them in the Windy City, Allada noted. But when Kershaw returned from Los Angeles to face them again, the Cubs hit him hard, including two home runs.
"I can't attribute it all to jet lag," Allada said, but the study suggests the eastward trip might have played a role.
It's speculative and just one example, he said. But it's relevant "to those of us who are Chicago Cubs fans."