EXTRA BAGGS: Zito pitches through stiffness, etc.

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EXTRA BAGGS: Zito pitches through stiffness, etc.

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO Barry Zito walked the tightrope for sixinnings Saturday while holding the Cincinnati Reds to one run despite six walks.

It was not the cleanest start in the world in the Giants' 2-1 loss, but it waseffective. And Giants manager Bruce Bochy took it, especially since Zito wasdealing with a neck issue prior to the game.

Zito said he had been dealing with neck stiffness for a fewdays. It limited some of his pregame work, but it didnt bother him on themound.

It kind of affects you until the adrenaline takes over,Zito said. Then you pitch through it. That kind of thing happens a lot aroundhere.

Zito said he would continue to get treatment and expected tobe fine after a couple of days. Hes scheduled to make one more start beforethe All-Star break, on July 6 at Pittsburgh.

Bochy said Zito got out of sync occasionally, but alsodescribed the six walks, including one intentional pass, as mostly strategic. Theone to Ryan Hanigan with the bases loaded didnt fall into that category, ofcourse.

I thought he was pitching smart, Bochy said. He wasnt givingin. It was just at times he got a little quick there.

The Giants have received nine quality outings out of Zito's 16 assignments. The club is 8-8 in his starts. What if you told Bochy those results at the end of spring training? Yes, I do believe he would've taken that, too.

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Brandon Crawford is hitting a lot of line drives these days.He was the only Giant to reach base against Mat Latos in the first eightinnings. In addition to his double in the third, he lined out to shortstop.

Just trying to do the same thing Ive been doing, he said.See it and hit it up the middle.

Crawford said he was able to recognize Latos slider, whichmost of his teammates had trouble picking up. But Latos made him look prettybad when he dropped in a curveball.

Once were behind, its tough because you want to takepitches, get on base draw a walk, drive up his pitch count something likethat, Crawford said. But he was coming right after us.

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It turns out Pablo Sandoval didnt get the wind knocked out ofhim when he made a diving play on Drew Stubbs popped-up bunt in the seventhinning. When Sandoval hit the ground hard, the impact was felt in what Bochydescribed as Sandovals private area.

How was Sandoval after the game?

Sore, he said. Very sore.

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Bochy hasnt decided what hell do over the All-Star break.But dont be surprised if hes watching another baseball game. His son, Brett,was named to the Double-A All-Star Game in Reading, Penn.

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The Giants are 2-4 in the season series with the Reds. Whydo I get the feeling these two teams will see each other again after Sundaysseries finale?

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My quick All-Star predictions: Buster Posey and Melky Cabrera get voted in as starters. Matt Cain makes it on the player vote. And if the Giants get a fourth rep, I'll go with Ryan Vogelsong as one of Tony La Russa's final selections.

Former Giants OF Gregor Blanco agrees to deal with NL West rival

Former Giants OF Gregor Blanco agrees to deal with NL West rival

After five seasons with the Giants, outfielder Gregor Blanco has a new home.

The veteran outfielder has agreed to a minor league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to his agent Wilfredo Polidor.

The deal includes an invitation to spring training.

The deal includes a $1 million base salary if Blanco makes the major league roster, according to SB Nation's Chris Cotillo. Blanco has a chance to earn an addition $2.7 million in performance-based incentives and has an opt-out of April 1 in the deal.

Shortly after Polidor made the announcement, Blanco thanked the D'backs on Twitter for the bringing him to the organization.

"Thanks to the @Dbacks for let me part of a dream the same dream I got another ring another championship let's all dream together we can doit," Blanco wrote.

Blanco bounced around from Braves to the Royals from 2008 to 2010, but found a home with the Giants prior to the 2012 season.

Over five seasons with the Giants, Blanco appeared in 649 games. He hit .259/.338/.360 with 244 runs scored, 78 doubles, 24 triples, 19 home runs, 157 RBI and 75 stolen bases.

President Obama pardons Giants legend Willie McCovey

President Obama pardons Giants legend Willie McCovey

President Barack Obama pardoned Giants Hall of Famer Willie McCovey on Tuesday.

McCovey, along with Dodgers Hall of Fame outfielder Duke Snider, pleaded guilty to tax fraud in July of 1995. The crime came from not reporting income McCovey earned from signing autographs and appearing at sports memorabilia shows. 

McCovey previously pleaded guilty to not listing $70,000 he made from 1988-90, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Through the Giants, McCovey said: "I want to express my sincere gratitude to President Obama not only for this kind gesture on my behalf, but also for his tireless service to all Americans. He will be deeply missed and I wish him all the best in the future."

The 79-year-old McCovey was one of 64 people who received pardons from President Obama Tuesday as his final days in office wind down.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.