Giant Olympians?


Giant Olympians?

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DENVER Ryan Theriot thought deeply on the question:Which of his Giants teammates could win an Olympic gold medal, and in what event?I would probably win what is it, the decathlon? Theriot said. Yeah. Id win that. Because Im a freak athlete.Baseball is no longer a medal sport (the recently traded Nate Schierholtz won a bronze in Beijing four years ago), but there are plenty of Olympic endeavors some more random than others -- that use similar skills. And baseball players come in all shapes and sizes, from lithe Tim Lincecum to the rotund Kung Fu Panda.Surely these world-class athletes could find their way to some medal stand in London, right?Oh, no joke, said Brandon Belt, shortly after watching the American swimmers dominate the 4x100 medley relay. Im undefeated in the Nacogdoches city pool. I turned away all challengers. I swim like a fish. I could probably do the medley, but freestyle is my thing.Anyone want to get behind a freestylebelt hashtag?Ill either swim the freestyle or, you know what, I could play ping-pong, Belt said. Id do that. People dont account for my left-handedness.Theriot rolled his eyes.Have you seen those guys? Theriot said. You wouldnt win one point.What if you combined swimming and table tennis into one event? Its no less random than the winter biathlon, where you cross-country ski and shoot a rifle, right?Thats not a bad idea, Belt said. That might be my best chance.Speaking of marksmanship, several players suggested Jeremy Affeldt would hold his own in an archery competition. And as head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner said, If it involves shooting something, Ill take Bumgarner.Yes, Madison Bumgarner was a popular mention in any of the various events involving firearms. The big left-hander actually has won a few long-distance 5-shot and 10-shot competitions in North Carolina.Can I use a scope? he said.Sure. Why not? Would he always use the same gun?Nope, he said. Ive got lots of guns.Left-hander Javier Lopez said Bumgarner might be the Giants best chance at a medal.Because theres no actual physical activity, Lopez said.Well, baseball players are pretty good at throwing. So maybe Pablo Sandoval could heave a shot put and Melky Cabrera, who has unleashed a few missiles to the plate this season, could be one heck of a left-handed javelin thrower (following in the footsteps of onetime international javelin competitor Felipe Alou).As for the discus?Give me Hunter Pence, Giants third base coach Tim Flannery said. You see the way he throws from down there? There you go.Pence received mentions in several categories, actually. Manager Bruce Bochy shared Flannerys notion of the discus throw. Lopez suggested Pence looks kind of like a beach volleyball guy to me.Yeah, Ive played a little beach volleyball, but I dont know, Pence said. Ive got long arms, but I cant extend them. And if its anything to do with throwing, Ill take our pitchers. Weve got a pretty good pitching staff here.This reporter suggested that Pence, with his long legs and upper body strength, might do well in sculls or one of the other rowing events.Rowing? Yeah, that might be my best shot, Pence said. Its endurance and back strength. I could see myself being decent.Brad Penny told shortstop Brandon Crawford that he could medal in one of the rowing events as hard as that might be to envision.I dont see it either, but Ill take his word for it, Crawford said.Lets put down Penny for Greco-Roman wrestling, instead.But lest we forget, baseball is a team sport. And there were several players who suggested a dynamic badminton duo of Theriot and Tim Lincecum.Theriot would win at badminton, Pence said. Hes got the quickness and the hand-eye coordination. Hes got the squirrelly mannerisms.Right-hander Clay Hensley mentioned that Buster Posey would make a good water polo goalie, since hes always blocking scuds in the dirt. And he embraced the badminton idea for Lincecum as well.Hey Timmy, would you be good at badminton? Hensley asked.Yes, Lincecum said, matter-of-factly. Id be pretty good at fencing, too.Just make sure Affeldt doesnt get near a foil or epee. Remember, this is the guy who stabbed his hand last year while trying to separate frozen hamburger patties. Its a miracle Affeldt didnt cut himself when he handled the Samurais sword given to Matt Cain after he pitched his perfect game.Posey had a safer suggestion for Affeldt:I can see Affeldt in beach volleyball because of his superior physique, Posey said, trying to swallow a smile. If you ask him, hell tell you how good hed look out there. Oh yeah, the Speedo put him and Bumgarner on a team. Now youre talking.Posey couldnt come up with an event for himself, leading Crawford to moan, Im sure Buster would win in anything hed be in.And as for Crawford?Well, for me I guess I played basketball in high school, he said.A member of the Dream Team? Crawford and LeBron and Kobe, finishing on a break?Sure, why not? Crawford said.If you want an out-there suggestion, Theriot is your man. He kept coming back with more ideas, including bench coach Ron Wotus in that run-walk thing.Ive got it. Ive got it, said Theriot, rushing back to offer one more wild thought. Romo and Wilson synchronized diving. Maybe representing the country of Mars.OK, time for some practical suggestions. Lets ask strength and conditioning coach Carl Kochan, who knows these players physical skills and potential better than anyone:Ill take Affeldt at archery, Bum with shooting, Javier Lopez with the bikevelodrome thing Kochan said. Ill take (Gregor) Blanco playing soccer and maybe Hector Sanchez, too.
He can do some tricks with a soccer ball. Lets go with Melky in the javelin and Pablo in the shot put. And Angel Pagan with boxing.Boxing?Sure, Kochan said. Hes quick, explosive, powerful, selective everything he does has a purpose. Boxing is very technical. I think hed be good at it.Pagan said he laced up the gloves a few times while growing up in Puerto Rico. But hed rather take his chances in the 100 meters or 200 meters. And he likes Bumgarner in the javelin, but only if he has animals he can aim it at.And Pagan had a little fun with Aubrey Huff, who face-planted while trying to jump the dugout rail after Matt Cains perfect game.Hey Huffy, Pagan said. How about the 110-meter hurdles?Huff shot him a look that said everything.But in all this discussion, both silly and serious, weve left out the obvious: Lincecum, the gymnast.He has a spine-bending delivery. He walks on his hands. He can do backflips on command. Its a given, right?Great call, oh, great call, Kochan said. Id take him in the floor exercise because hes like a freaky spider monkey.Id like his chances in the all-around, Theriot said.Lincecum said he never tried organized gymnastics as a kid, but he thought about it.It was more climbing trees, messing around, jumping on a trampoline he said.Trampoline? Really? Hey Timmy, you do realize that trampoline is an Olympic event, right?Noooo.its not, Lincecum said. Seriously?Seriously.

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.”