EXTRA BAGGS: Starry snubs duel for ERA title, etc.

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EXTRA BAGGS: Starry snubs duel for ERA title, etc.

PITTSBURGH There was a shortage of positives after thePirates James McDonald swashbuckled the Giants in a 3-1 loss Saturday. Atleast Ryan Vogelsong could dwell on this:

He isnt going to the All-Star Game, and that seems like amighty big oversight. But he is not alone. It's nothing personal.

McDonald was royally snubbed out of a trip to KansasCity, too.

The NLs three best ERAs belong to the Reds Johnny Cueto,Vogelsong and McDonald. None of the three will represent the NL on Tuesday.

Vogelsong said last week that the All-Star snub added to thechip on his shoulder and was proof yet again that nobody takes him seriously. Heseemed to be more accepting of the situation after McDonald outdueled him.

Its probably not an easy thing to do and Im sure itstough on the manager whos picking the team, Vogelsong said. Every year, guyswho deserve to go dont go. It just happens to be us three. It is what it is.Everybody he picked deserves to be there as well.

On another topic, Vogelsong said hes happy to get a breakbut hes also in a rhythm and doesnt feel like he needs a physical breather.He said his back problems, which knocked him out all spring and forced him tobegin the season on the disabled list, havent crossed his mind since hissecond start.

He doesnt get any additional treatment on his back anylonger, but he does keep to a routine that includes extra core strengtheningexercises.

During the spring, though, he did wonder how effective hedbe.

It went through my mind, he said. But you guys know how Iam on game day. I just really concentrate on throwing strikes and throwing toBusters glove.

Hell get a long layoff. Vogelsong will get at least ninedays of rest, and 10 if the Giants decide to throw Barry Zito ahead of him inthe rotation to split up the left-handers.

I feel strong, I feel in a pretty good tempo, Vogelsongsaid. I dont think the break will change that for me. I hope not.

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A few minor league notes: Infielder Conor Gillaspie is onthe DL for Triple-A Fresno with a fractured big toe and outfield prospectFrancisco Peguero also went down with a strained side muscle. No immediate wordon how long theyll be sidelined.

The Giants filled one of the Grizzlies roster vacancieswith a familiar name: Left-hander and Concord De La Salle alum Clayton Tanner.The left-hander and former top prospect signed with the Reds last year afterthe Giants took him off the 40-man roster. But the Reds recently released him,and he re-signed with his former organization.

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How hot was it in Pittsburgh? Well, Bruce Bochy wasdownright annoyed at anyone who spent more than 20 minutes on the field duringan abbreviated batting practice session.

Pirates assistant trainer and familiar face Ben Potenziano toldme that longtime organizational folks told him this weekend is the hottest theycan ever remember on the banks of the three rivers.

I had my own issues in the press box, too. At one point, mycomputer was getting so hot that the trackpad started to freak out. I had toshut down my machine, fill a towel with ice and set my laptop down on it. Whatdo you know? It worked perfectly.

Also, check my Twitter timeline for a photo of how Kruk andKuip dressed to combat the heat.

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Very sad news to pass along. Visible Giants fan Craig Appel, known to many as the Rally Pumpkin, died in an apparent suicide on Tuesday. Appel stepped in front of a train, police in North Hollywood said.

Appel was known as "Jingles" to Giants broadcasters, players and coaches. For years, he drove the team bus on trips to Los Angeles and San Diego. Friends say he'd fallen on hard times in recent years. Someone gave him a luxury suite ticket as a 50th birthday present last week but he wasn't able to pull together the funds to travel from Southern California to San Francisco.

Just a heartbreaking story. A donations page has been set up to help his family with funeral arrangements.

Former top prospect Andy Marte dies from car accident in Dominican Republic

Former top prospect Andy Marte dies from car accident in Dominican Republic

Former major leaguer Andy Marte died early Sunday from a traffic accident in his native Dominican Republic.

Metropolitan traffic authorities say Marte died when the Mercedes Benz he was driving hit a house along a road between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.

Marte, a 33-year-old infielder, played for several Major League teams, including Atlanta, Cleveland and Arizona, and was most recently playing in the Korean league.

Marte was playing in the Dominican winter league with the Aguilas Cibaenas team.

"We have awoken this Sunday with this sad news that we have lost a special being," club president Winston Llenas said in a statement about Marte.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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.”