EXTRA BAGGS: Sanchez could make debut at 2B Friday


EXTRA BAGGS: Sanchez could make debut at 2B Friday

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. The Giants reassigned Heath Hembree tominor league camp after Tuesdays game. But expect him to resurface sometime ata major league ballpark near you.

Hembree had a dynamite first big league camp. Theright-hander showed good command with his upper-90s fastball and slider,posting a 1.50 ERA and striking out seven in six innings. He ended hisexperience on a good note, getting three quick fly outs in a scoreless eighthinning Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields.

BAGGARLY: Giants spring progress report

Earlier this spring, Hembree told me he hoped to be asconsistent as possible and throw strikes while trying to learn as much as hecould from big leaguers. He obviously didnt have an opportunity to win a jobin the bullpen. Everyone returns from last years top-flight group, with theexception of Ramon Ramirez. But when the Giants need another arm, itll be hardto keep Hembree off the roster if he keeps punching tickets in the minors.

Because hes not on the 40-man roster, Hembree can bebrought back to pitch in more major league exhibitions. So Id imagine we haventseen the last of him in Cactus League action.

Freddy Sanchez will play catch Wednesday and is likely totake infield on Thursday. Its possible he could play second base in a gameFriday, manager Bruce Bochy said.

Thats not an aggressive schedule, obviously, which makes it even harder to envision Sanchez beginning the season on the active roster.

Sergio Romo threw a side session and said his right elbowwas improved. He hopes to throw in a game soon. According to all parties, thiswas a mild issue and Romo, given a little rest, is expected to be OK to startthe season.

Nate Schierholtz said his right forearm stiffened up on hima week ago and he needed to give it a break. Strangely enough, it bothers him more when he swings thanwhen he throws.

The off day (Monday) helped a lot, he said. I feel good,but I need to be healthy to play. If this were the season, itd be a differentstory.

Spring training games are meaningless, so backing off isalmost always the smart thing to do. But when you have a reputation for nagginginjuries as Schierholtz does, its never good to miss time in the eyes ofmanagement.

The emergence of Gregor Blanco continues. He stole two morebases, lifting his major league leading total to nine.

It looks as if Angel Pagan might be starting to feel alittle pressure. He was 0 for 4 and struck out in his first three at-bats,dropping his average to .243. Pagan will enter the season as the startingcenter fielder, and because hes entering his walk year, itll cost him a lotof money if hes not playing every day.

No, Blanco will not take Pagans starting job here inArizona. The Giants just traded two players they liked to get Pagan. But a few weeks into the season, if the pattern holds, itmight be a different story.

For now, Bochy is being patient with Pagan.

Hes still searching a little bit, Bochy said. Thatsfair to say. But thats why were here. I think Angel is going to be fine.

Bochy is likely to have the same thought with Aubrey Huff atfirst base. The big question is what the Giants will do with Brandon Belt, whois having a good camp. Bochy said both of them, and Brett Pill, have done agood job thus far.

Theres no separation to this point, Bochy said.

Barry Zito did not have a good outing Tuesday. In fiveinnings, he allowed seven hits and walked four. That is not good for the olWHIP. But Zito got better as he went, he induced one double-play grounder andhe walked off the mound with the Giants tied 3-3.

Thats the quota the Giants are setting for him this seasonas a back-of-the-rotation starter.

I like what Ive seen from Barry this spring, Bochy said.Hes made some adjustments -- during his start today, actually and he threwthe ball better.

Zito said he is still more comfortable out of the stretch than the windup, but it's getting better.

Arizona outfielder Gerardo Parra hit a home run off Zito,and if rumors are true, he could be on the trading block. I know several Giantsplayers who would be happy to see him leave the NL West.

That guy is a player, one Giant told me.


This was my first time seeing Arizonas Trevor Bauer on themound. I just wish I hadnt gotten stuck in the parking lot snarl so Icouldve watched him warm up, too. He throws from foul pole to foul pole whilegetting loose. It takes a couple of relay throws to return the baseball to him.

Bauer was the third overall pick out of UCLA last June andhe certainly throws hard. He was topping out at 96 mph against the Giants.

Brandon Crawford, a fellow Bruin, managed a single up themiddle against him. Crawford also said he had two hits off Bauer in a UCLAalumni game.

Ambushed him, Crawford said, obviously pleased with himself.

An equipment company set up a sizing display in theclubhouse this morning. There were a dozen helmets in various sizes for theplayers to try on. There was even a size 8, but I dont think anyone touchedit. Probably just there so Bochy doesnt feel so abnormal.

Actually, Bochy wears an 8 18 cap now. So even that jumbohelmet wouldve been a tight squeeze.

Cubs homer twice in win over Dodgers; tie NLCS 2-2


Cubs homer twice in win over Dodgers; tie NLCS 2-2


LOS ANGELES -- Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell and the rest of the Chicago Cubs' bats broke out in a big way.

Rizzo homered and ended a postseason slump with three RBIs, Russell's two-run drive highlighted a four-run fourth that stopped Chicago's 21-inning scoreless streak, and the Cubs routed the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-2 on Wednesday to even the NL Championship Series at 2-all.

Kenta Maeda is set to pitch for the Dodgers in Game 5 on Thursday against Jon Lester. Before the game, manager Dave Roberts said he will not start Clayton Kershaw on short rest after the Los Angeles ace threw a bullpen session Wednesday.

Chicago ensured the NLCS will return to Wrigley Field for Game 6 Saturday.

To break out of his prolonged slump, Rizzo used teammate Matt Szczur's bat.

"I know Szczur's bat has a lot of hits in it," Rizzo said. "I've done it a few times this year, just switching up the bat, switching up the mindset."

Following consecutive shutout losses, the Cubs rapped out 13 hits on an 80-degree night with the warm Santa Ana winds fluttering the flags in center field.

Rizzo and Russell had three hits each. Chicago's 3-4-5 hitters - a combined 2 for 32 in the first three games - busted out. Every Cubs starter got at least one hit except Kris Bryant, who walked twice.

"Today was a must-win for us," Ben Zobrist said.

Los Angeles was limited to six hits and made four errors in a game that dragged on for 3 hours, 58 minutes.

Mike Montgomery won in relief of John Lackey, who was chased after consecutive walks opening the fifth. Four days shy of his 38th birthday, Lackey allowed two runs, three hits and three walks.

Julio Urias, at 20 years, 68 days the youngest postseason starting pitcher in major league history, gave up four runs and four hits in 3 2/3 innings. He was the third consecutive left-hander to start the series for Los Angeles.

Chicago rattled off three straight hits to open the fourth, sparked by Zobrist's leadoff bunt single to third.

"With the way that our bats were swinging it at the beginning of the game, we just had to do anything we could. That was my thought process," Zobrist said. "I felt like if he threw a strike, I could get one down in a good spot and was able to do it.

He took second on Javier Baez's single to left, and Willson Contreras followed with a single to nearly the same spot in shallow left, scoring Zobrist.

Baez moved up to third and Contreras took second on left fielder Andrew Toles' errant throw to the plate that skidded all the way to the backstop.

Jayson Heyward hit a run-scoring groundout, and Russell followed with his first extra-base hit since Sept. 30 and his first homer since Sept. 19. He jubilantly pumped an arm as he rounded the bases on his two-run drive, which put the Cubs ahead 4-0.

Rizzo homered off Pedro Baez leading off the fifth, snapping his 0-for-11 skid in the series. Rizzo had entered 2 for 26 in the postseason.

Los Angeles closed to 5-2 in the fifth. With the bases loaded and one out, Justin Turner's likely double-play grounder caromed off Montgomery's outstretched glove and Russell, who scrambled on all fours at shortstop as the ball went into left-center field for a two-run single.

Chicago tacked on five runs in the sixth off relievers Ross Stripling and Luis Avilan. Dexter Fowler singled in the first run, Rizzo added two more on a bases-loaded single and Javier Baez hit a sacrifice fly, with a second run scoring on an error by center fielder Joc Pederson.


Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was tagged out at home to end the second. A sliding Gonzalez stretched his left hand toward the tip of the plate as catcher Contreras applied the tag with his left hand near Gonzalez's upper left arm.

The Dodgers challenged Angel Hernandez's call, which was upheld on video review. That drew online scorn from Washington star Bryce Harper.

"He was safe! Replay system still broke..Same thing all year long! (hashtag)DontMessItUp," Harper tweeted.


Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will attend Thursday's game, his first time back at Dodger Stadium since calling his last home game on Sept. 25. The 88-year-old ended his 67-year career this month with the regular-season finale at San Francisco.


Cubs reliever Carl Edwards Jr. left in the seventh because of left hamstring tightness.


Ashton Kutcher and wife Mila Kunis announced the Dodgers' starting lineup. Also on hand were Rob Lowe, Charlie Sheen, George Lopez, Larry King and Mary Hart.


Lester allowed one run in six innings of Game 1 in the series, getting a no-decision in Chicago's 8-4 victory. ... Maeda has a 9.00 ERA in two postseason appearances. He allowed three runs and four hits in four innings of the NLCS opener and didn't factor in the decision.

Dodgers shut out Cubs in Game 3, take 2-1 NLCS lead


Dodgers shut out Cubs in Game 3, take 2-1 NLCS lead


LOS ANGELES -- Rich Hill never strayed from his mindset of pitching in the moment, even when he was far from the major leagues playing independent ball with the Long Island Ducks.

Convinced there would be another opportunity to get back to the big leagues, he focused on executing pitches without worrying about his current circumstances.

Fourteen months later, Hill allowed two hits over six innings to beat Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta and the Chicago Cubs 6-0 Wednesday, giving the Los Angeles Dodgers a 2-1 NL Championship Series lead.

"It's the biggest game of my career," Hill said. "It's just putting in the work, putting in the time, having a routine, persevere, all those things that you can say to sum up some kind of endurance or resiliency. For me, that's all I've ever known is just work."

Rookie Corey Seager had three hits, including a go-ahead single in the third, and Yasmani Grandal hit a two-run homer in the fourth.

After winning a big league-high 103 games during the regular season and sparking belief they could win the World Series for the first time since 1908, the Cubs have been shut out in consecutive games for the first time since May 2014, managing just six hits - five of them singles. Their 18 straight scoreless innings mark the longest postseason drought in franchise history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"More than anything, I think we need to get a couple runs and hits and runs early to try to get that kind of feeling back," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said, "because, obviously, when you're not scoring any runs, it makes it even more difficult in the dugout."

Hill, who made two starts in the independent Atlantic League in August 2015 before signing a minor league deal with Boston , struck out six and walked two. Joe BlantonGrant Dayton and Kenley Jansen finished. Playing their 200th postseason game, the Dodgers posted consecutive shutouts for the first time.

Julio Urias starts Game 4 for the Dodgers on Wednesday and at 20 years, 68 days will become the youngest starting pitcher in postseason history. John Lackey starts for the Cubs.

"He's not scared of the moment," Seager said of Urias. "He's not scared of anything."

Hill was acquired from Oakland along with Josh Reddick at the Aug. 1 trade deadline. The 36-year-old left-hander struggled with a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand that landed him on the disabled list from mid-July to late August. The blister still bothered him in the final weeks of the regular season, and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pulled him after seven perfect innings against Miami on Sept. 10, saying the team had to keep its focus on bigger goals in October.

Hill was strong from the start against one of his former teams, retiring the side to open the game and later eight in a row. He's given up one run in 23 innings over four home starts for the Dodgers, lowering his ERA to 0.39.

"When he's got that attitude out there, you can tell," Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said. "That's when you know he's rolling, that his pitches are working, and he's doing what he wants to do out there."

Seager's go-ahead single ended an 0-for-15 slide with runners in scoring position in postseason play.

Grandal was 0 for 5 with three strikeouts against Arrieta in his career before he launched a 3-2 pitch into the right-field pavilion in the fourth for a 3-0 lead. Grandal drove in Reddick, who singled and stole second and third.

"He's been so good for the last couple years just because he doesn't give in," Grandal said of Arrieta. "He still made a really good pitch down in the zone. I was just lucky to put a swing on it and hit it out."

Justin Turner homered on the first pitch leading off the sixth to chase Arrieta, who gave up four runs and six hits in five innings. He dominated the Dodgers in his previous two starts against them, including a no-hitter at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 30, 2015. Los Angeles had gone 2 for 51 against him in two games.

"It's hard to go out there and pitch when your team is not scoring, so you try to be perfect. You can't make any mistakes. If you give up one run, that can be it," Cubs catcher Miguel Montero said. "He had one of his best stuff all year, to be honest."

Joc Pederson doubled in a run in the eighth and Grandal hit a run-scoring groundout .

Maddon moved struggling Anthony Rizzo from third to the cleanup spot, and his broken-bat infield hit in the ninth made him 2 for 26 in the postseason. Addison Russell, dropped from fifth to seventh, is 1 for 24. Jason Heyward struck out as a pinch hitter and is 2 for 19.

Chicago's 3-4-5 hitters went 1 for 11 in the game and are 2 for 32 in the series without an RBI.

Dexter Fowler's two-out double in the eighth provided the Cubs' first extra-base hit since their 8-4 win in the opener.

"There's no doubt here," third baseman Kris Bryant said. "We certainly have all the belief in the world. It's a powerful thing when you believe."

With a win Wednesday, the Dodgers could try to finish the series at home.

"These guys won 100-some games. They've got the talent, so you can't think ahead," Grandal said. "If you think ahead, that's when bad things happen."

Four of Chicago's eight shutouts this year have been against the Dodgers.

Roberts hasn't ruled out turning to Clayton Kershaw to pitch on three days' rest in Game 5 on Thursday.

Los Angeles has announced rookie Kenta Maeda as its starter. He's given up seven earned runs in a combined seven innings of his two postseason starts.

In last week's five-game Division Series against Washington, Kershaw pitched in all three wins. He started Game 1 and Game 4, on three days' rest and got his first big league save in Game 5.

"The series circumstances will kind of dictate what decision we make," Roberts said Tuesday. "Clayton feels good after Game 2. He's prepared for anything that we have for him. He's shown the ability to adjust his routine or regimen for whatever is best for our club."

Lackey is 8-5 with a 3.22 ERA in 24 postseason appearances. Urias will be the third consecutive left-hander to start for the Dodgers. He earned the victory over Washington in Game 5 of the NLDS with two scoreless innings.