EXTRA BAGGS: Sanchez finally looking like a second baseman


EXTRA BAGGS: Sanchez finally looking like a second baseman

PHOENIX The Giants are 0-3 to start a season for the firsttime in 28 years, but at least they saw something positive before the firstpitch was thrown Sunday.

Second baseman Freddy Sanchez took infield and lookednoticeably better while making throws, including double-play pivots.

Sanchez was dropping down, throwing across his body andgetting much more on his throws compared to how he looked when he tried to takeinfield three weeks ago. Hes been playing second base in minor league campgames hell play again Monday in extended spring but hasnt been tested bymany tough plays thus far.

Sanchez told trainers and coaches that his surgicallyrepaired shoulder is finally starting to turn a corner. Maybe it was thecortisone shot he received at the end of March. Or maybe hes just finallygetting over some of the mental hurdles. Either way, its now much morerealistic for me to envision him playing second base in the major leagues againsometime soon.

If he has no setbacks, the rough plan calls for Sanchez tobegin a minor league rehab assignment at Triple-A Fresno by the end of theweek. The maximum length of a rehab stint for a position player is 20 days. Soits possible that Sanchez could return at the beginning of May, if not sooner.

The Giants need his right-handed bat. Or did you not notice how their offense died the moment left-hander Wade Miley entered the game?

Its amazing that the Diamondbacks could commit five errors,fall behind 6-0 after three innings against a quality pitcher like Matt Cain andstill find a way to win the game.

The Giants practically gave it away in the seventh. Still,all those home runs and doubles have a magical way to get you back into games.Thats what power does for you.

On a related note, werent they once kicking around the ideaof a humidor at Chase Field?

Bruce Bochy doesnt care to hear that the Giants have losteight consecutive to Arizona, or 10 of the last 12.

I dont get caught up in those numbers as much as we didntplay well, Bochy said. We did for three innings (Sunday). After that, wedidnt execute. Were lucky. We couldve gotten blown out.

True. On the road, the Giants lost three one-run games to avery good opponent. On paper, these losses dont look as bad as they did inperson.

Sunday was a study in contrasts for Buster Posey. He lookedgreat while sending an opposite-field home run soaring. He aggressively slidinto second base while trying to break up a double play.

But he also looked, really, really tentative at times behindthe plate. He made three of the Giants six errors in the series. And twice, hemade the final out with the tying run on base. His at-bats definitely were notas crisp as the games dragged on.

I think its fair to assume that itll take time for Poseyto truly get back in game shape and feel comfortable behind the plate. Itsalso fair to assume that hell need plenty of days off including Monday atColorado.

I think I could go back out there, said Posey, whosalready been told he wont start anywhere on the field Monday. At the sametime, itll be nice to rest it as well.

Nate Schierholtz had an interesting day. He entered as theright fielder on a double-switch in the seventh inning. But Bochy needed todouble-switch again when he summoned, Sergio Romo, his fourth reliever of theinning.

So out came Schierholtz, Melky Cabrera moved back from rightto left, Gregor Blanco shifted over from center field and Angel Pagan enteredthe game.

I didnt hear Bochys response in detail when asked aboutwhy he didnt just insert Schierholtz in the No.9 spot instead of the pitcherat the start of the inning, but I think he was planning on using a right-handedpinch hitter either Brett Pill or Ryan Theriot in the eighth.

That plan changed when he knew he needed to keep Romo in thegame. Just another thing that went wrong for the Giants in this series.

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.