EXTRA BAGGS: Wilson, Hensley tackle the cone zone


EXTRA BAGGS: Wilson, Hensley tackle the cone zone

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Clay Hensley had a grueling inning Sunday.A couple balls were kicked behind him. He threw a lot of pitches. His heartrate was elevated.

He was prepared for all of it.

Closer Brian Wilson might work out like a maniac, butHensley stays within a whisker of him. In fact, they collaborated along withnew strength and conditioning coach Carl Kochan on a military-style regimenthat is a sight to behold on the field.

Its part boot camp, part Battle of the Network Stars andit involves more cones than the Bay Bridge retrofit.

We both realized we wanted to do more baseball-specificmovements, Hensley told me. I mean, you could go in the gym and try to benchpress a house or something. But that doesnt help you emulate what its like topitch.

The drill involves cone running, backpedaling, crawling onall fours, attaching a parachute to your waist, sprinting back to the startingline, then doing it all over again.

OK, so they arent heaving concrete bricks up a muddy hill,shirtless, while wearing designer jeans. Not everyone can be Andres Torres, youknow.

Ive always been pretty intense in my workouts, but you canonly push yourself so much by yourself, Hensley said. We got on the same pagewith this, and we push each other. You never stop moving. Everything has apurpose.

Even the trench crawl?

Well, yeah, Hensley said with a laugh. If you triphitting the bag around third, you have to get up real quick, right?

While their teammates enjoy the only break on the scheduleMonday, Matt Cain and Hector Sanchez will go to work.

Cain will stay on turn and log his pitches in a minor leaguegame against the As Triple-A club at Indian School Park. Sanchez will be hisbatterymate. If youre in the area, those games usually begin at 1 p.m. andthere is a small viewing area with bleachers that is available on a first-come,first-serve basis. Free, of course.

Santiago Casilla is having an impressive spring. Hes givenup two hits and walked one batter in six scoreless innings.

Casilla is just as excited about his little brother, Jose,who once ranked as one of the better young relief arms in the system. JoseCasilla had reconstructive elbow surgery in June. Santiago reports that his kidbrother is playing long toss at up to 175 feet and he should get back on amound in a couple of months.

Angel Pagan couldnt haul in an over-the-shoulder catch incenter field, and the Padres Jason Bartlett ended up with a triple. I wasntthere to see it, but apparently a similar thing happened to Pagan few daysearlier.

The wind was an issue this time, and itll take time beforea fair evaluation can be made about Pagans ability in center. But from whatIm told by scouts, his defense will be a grade below what we saw from AndresTorres.

The backup catcher competition will come down to catchingand throwing. Everyone knows what the pitching staff and Bruce Bochy thinks ofEli Whitesides catching and game-calling skills.

As for the throwing? Even with Whitesides elbow improved,that isnt much of a competition. Chris Stewart simply has one of the quickestreleases Ive ever seen. He snapped out of his crouch and made a lightningquick, accurate throw to Pablo Sandoval to pick a runner off third base.

The backup catcher job wont be decided till the very end,and in terms of pure emotion, its going to be the hardest one for the coachingstaff.

It sure was a rainy day in Scottsdale. But no, the Giantsdidnt dip into their fund to sign Cain. Not yet, anyway.

Three Giants among 2016 Gold Glove finalists

Three Giants among 2016 Gold Glove finalists

On Thursday, Rawlings announced the list of Gold Glove finalists.

Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik are in the running at their respective positions.

NL catchers: Posey, Yadier Molina, Jonathan Lucroy.

NL shortstops: Crawford, Addison Russell, Freddy Galvis.

NL second basemen: Panik, Jean Segura, D.J. LeMahieu. 

Brandon Belt, who was a finalist last season, did not make the cut.

Crawford won his first Gold Glove last year, while Posey and Panik have never won the award.

The winners are expected to be announced shortly after the World Series ends.

Cubs come alive behind Schwarber, Arrieta; World Series tied 1-1


Cubs come alive behind Schwarber, Arrieta; World Series tied 1-1


CLEVELAND -- Jake Arrieta made a teasing run at history, Kyle Schwarber drove in two runs and the Chicago Cubs brushed off a shutout to even the World Series with their first Fall Classic win in 71 years, 5-1 over the Cleveland Indians in Game 2 on Wednesday night.

Arrieta carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, briefly invoking Don Larsen's name, before the Indians touched him for two hits and a run. However, the right-hander helped give Chicago just what it needed - a split at Progressive Field - before the Cubbies return to their Wrigley Field den for the next three games starting Friday night.

The Cubs hadn't won in the Series since beating Detroit 8-7 in 1945 to force Game 7.

The free-swinging Schwarber, who made it back for Chicago's long-awaited Series return after missing most of the season with an injured left knee, hit an RBI single in the third off Cleveland's Trevor Bauer and had another in the Cubs' three-run fifth - highlighted by Ben Zobrist's run-scoring triple.

Even the presence of star LeBron James and the NBA champion Cavaliers, sporting their new rings, couldn't stop the Indians from losing for the first time in six home games this postseason.

And Cleveland manager Terry Francona's magical touch in October finally fizzled as he dropped to 9-1 in Series games.

With rain in the forecast, Major League Baseball moved the first pitch up an hour in hopes of avoiding delays or a postponement.

It turned out to be a good call as the game went on without a hitch and ended after more than four hours as light rain was beginning to fall.

Arrieta and the Cubs provided the only storm.

The bearded 30-year-old coasted through five innings without allowing a hit, the first pitcher to get that deep in a Series game with a no-hitter since David Cone of the New York Yankees in 1998.

For a brief period, Arrieta looked as if he might challenge Larsen's gem - a perfect game - in 1956 before Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, a die-hard Cubs fan as a kid, doubled with one out in the sixth.

Before that, Cleveland hitters had a couple good swings, and drew three walks, but couldn't mount a real threat. Arrieta has two career no-hitters, in fact, including the only one in the majors this year.

Cubs lefty Mike Montgomery replaced Arrieta and worked two scoreless innings before Aroldis Chapman came in and unleashed his 103 mph heat while getting the last four outs.

The teams will have an off day before the series resumes with Game 3 at Wrigley, which will host its first Series game since Oct. 6, 1945, when tavern owner Billy Sianis was asked to leave with his pet goat, Murphy, and a curse was born.

Josh Tomlin will start for the Indians, who will lose the designated hitter in the NL ballpark, against Kyle Hendricks.

Schwarber might also wind up on the bench after two days as the DH.

With a gametime temperature of 43, the weather was more fitting for the Browns and Bears to bang heads than the boys of summer.

The Cubs were the ones who came up thumping after being blanked 6-0 in Game 1 by Corey Kluber and Cleveland's shut-down bullpen.

Zobrist's one-out triple triggered the fifth as the Cubs opened a 5-0 lead, not that Arrieta needed it.

After Anthony Rizzo walked following a 10-pitch at-bat, Zobrist laced a ball off Zach McAllister that was going to be a double until right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall slipped and fell. Rizzo was waved around and Zobrist hustled into third.

Schwarber followed with his second RBI and reliever Bryan Shawn later walked No. 9 hitter Addison Russell with the bases loaded.

Unlike his start in Toronto on Oct. 17, when his stitched cut opened up and Bauer was forced to make a bloody departure in the first inning, his finger held up fine.

The Cubs, though, put a few nicks in him in 3 2/3 innings.

The drone accident has brought attention to the quirky Bauer, and one Chicago fan tried to rattle the right-hander by sending a smaller version of the remote-controlled, flying object that cut him.

Bauer posted a photo of it on Twitter, saying "I see the (at)Cubs fans love me! How nice of them to send me a gift!"

The Cubs, who were off balance from the start against Kluber, scored their first run in a Series game since `45 in the first on Rizzo's RBI double.

Bauer needed 51 pitches to get through two innings, and he was one strike from getting out of the third unscathed when Chicago turned a walk and to singles into a 2-0 lead.

Cubs: Hendricks is coming off his brilliant performance in Game 5 of the NLCS when he pitched two-hit ball for seven innings as the Cubs clinched their first pennant in 71 years. The right-hander went 16-8 during the regular season with a league-leading 2.13 ERA.

Indians: It will be an emotional night for Tomlin, who will pitch on 12 day's rest with his ailing father, Jerry, in attendance. The elder Tomlin became stricken with a spinal condition in August, when Tomlin was struggling on the mound. The right-hander more than recovered and rescued Cleveland's rotation in the postseason, winning both starts.