Forget Jamie Moyer - Giants have their own ageless wonder


Forget Jamie Moyer - Giants have their own ageless wonder

DENVER The old lefty has a head full of white hair andswears to the same baseball poem every waking day:

Throw till it blows. Thats my warrior cry.

It isnt Jamie Moyer, the Colorado Rockies 49-year-oldleft-hander. Shoot, Moyer is a kid compared to John Yandle.

He showed up in the clubhouse today and I said, hey!Giants third base coach Tim Flannery bellowed. We found somebody older thanJamie Moyer!

Yandle is a slim, trim 57-year-old commercial real estate executivefrom Menlo Park who also happens to be in his 28th season as theGiants left-handed batting practice pitcher. He competes in seniorleagues. Hell mix it up with the kids in the annual Stanford baseball alumnigame.

And he can still hit 80 mph.

Which made him the perfect scout-team quarterback as theGiants prepared to face Moyer on Thursday.

Oh, I wasnt gonna miss this, Yandle said. I know I canimitate Jamie. Its the guys throwing 95 that are a challenge. Thats when Ivegotta move up a little bit.

Yandle was a former 11th-round pick of the SanDiego Padres out of Stanford and made it as far as Triple-A before retiring asa 26-year-old. He played with a pitcher named Rich Adams in the CaliforniaAngels system, and when Adams got a cup of coffee with the Giants, Yandle paidhim a visit at Candlestick Park.

I was in the locker room, just hanging around, Yandlesaid. It was the end of 85 and all the coaches had sore arms. They asked if Icould throw to a couple groups. Then a few years later, when Dusty (Baker) gotin there, I started doing more specialized work with the left-handers.

Yandles role expanded further when he became a personalfavorite of Barry Bonds, who preferred facing lefties in BP. By that time,Cutter John had begun to travel with the team.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy and his staff kept on Yandle, whostill throws BP before the team faces a lefty.

We were teammates at Double-A and Triple-A, Flannery said.Hey, he used to get hit hard then, too.

Actually, Yandle was pretty good. The Lake Oswego, Oregonnative led the minors with a 1.77 ERA for Walla Walla as a 22-year-old. He madeit to big league spring training with the Padres in 78 and threw well, too.But San Diego GM Jack McKeon sent him back to Double-A and Yandle had thatthing that young kids get when the feel theyre too good for something.

He asked for his release and signed with the Angels. Oneyear in their system and he decided to turn his back on baseball. He had aStanford education and knew he could be putting it to use.

Aw, you know, he said. I had friends making more moneydoing other things. You start to think, OK, Ive gotta make my mark in thisworld. You dont think youve got 40 years until you retire. Once youre outof baseball, you can never go back.

Thanks to a bunch of sore-armed coaches in 1985, Yandlesnuck back into baseball. And hes going to keep on chucking as long as he can.

Now Im paid to get hit instead of get people out, he saidwith a laugh. Im right where I should be.

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.”