Giants' top pick Stratton hospitalized with head trauma


Giants' top pick Stratton hospitalized with head trauma

LOS ANGELES Right-hander Chris Stratton, the Giants topdraft pick in June, was taken by ambulance to a hospital after he was struck inthe head with a line drive during batting practice for Salem-Keizer in theshort-season Northwest League.

Stratton was in stable condition and preliminarily diagnosedwith a concussion, Giants vice president Bobby Evans said. Evans could not confirmthat Stratton was taken via ambulance but an eyewitness confirmed to ComcastSportsnet Bay Area that the power pitcher needed to be transported by emergencypersonnel.

Hes at the hospital now being evaluated to make sure itsnothing more than a concussion, Evans said. He does have symptoms of aconcussion. They are working on the diagnosis to confirm that. They are goingto be cautious and thorough.

Stratton, who turns 22 on Wednesday, was the 20thoverall selection after winning Southeastern Conference pitcher of the yearhonors for Mississippi State. He was 0-1 with a 2.76 ERA in eight games (fivestarts) for the Volcanoes, but was dealing with some control issues. Strattonhad walked 10 and struck out 16 in 16 13 innings.

Stratton was standing behind second base when struck by theline drive during batting practice, Evans said.

Its likely that the injury will be season-ending, sinceplayers must go through a protocol and pass a series of evaluations following aconcussion. Salem-Keizers season ends Sept. 1.

Obama celebrates World Series champion Chicago Cubs at White House


Obama celebrates World Series champion Chicago Cubs at White House

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama celebrated the World Series champion Chicago Cubs on Monday and spoke about the power sports has to unite people.

"Throughout our history, sports has had this power to bring us together even when the country is divided,"Obama said at a White House ceremony for his hometown team. "Sports has changed attitudes and culture in ways that seem subtle but that ultimately made us think differently about ourselves."

"It is a game and celebration," he said, and noted that "there's a direct line between Jackie Robinson and me standing here." Robinson, a second baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers, broke Major League Baseball's color line to become its first black player.

The White House event came four days before Obama hands the presidency over to Donald Trump following one of the most divisive elections in recent memory.

It also follows a weekend in which civil rights icon John Lewis said he didn't consider Trump a legitimate president because of Russian meddling in the election. Trump responded on Twitter by criticizing Lewis as "all talk" and suggesting the Democratic congressman take better care of his Georgia district.

Obama has a home in Chicago, but is a longtime White Sox fan. He rooted for the Cubs after the Sox failed to reach the playoffs.

His wife, first lady Michelle Obama, however, is a lifelong Cubs fan. She greeted Cubs players before the ceremony, which Obama noted was her first appearance at some of the roughly 50 events he has hosted for championship college and professional sports teams.

The Cubs gave Obama two baseball jerseys — home and away — with the number 44, among other gifts. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo also wears the number, and Obama referred to Rizzo as "my fellow 44."Obama is the nation's 44th president.

Obama said it will be hard for him to wear the jersey, but told the Cubs: "Do know that among Sox fans I am the Cubs' No. 1 fan."

Hours after the Cubs won the series in November, Obama asked the team on Twitter if it wanted to visit the White House before his term ends Friday.

The World Series title was the first for the Cubs since 1908, and they won it by defeating the Cleveland Indians in seven games.

Giants avoid arbitration with Nunez, Smith, Kontos

Giants avoid arbitration with Nunez, Smith, Kontos

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants avoided arbitration with three more veterans on Friday, agreeing to one-year deals with third baseman Eduardo Nuñez, left-hander Will Smith and right-hander George Kontos.

Financial details were not immediately available. MLB Trade Rumors' projections put Nuñez at about $4.4 million, Smith at about $2.3 million, and Kontos at about $1.7 million. The Giants reached deals with all six arbitration eligible players this offseason. 

Nunez, acquired last summer, will enter camp as the starter at third base. He posted a .269/.327/.418 slash line and 12 stolen bases after coming over from the Twins.

Smith was also acquired before the trade deadline, and he had a 2.95 ERA in 26 appearances for the Giants. He is expected to play a pivotal role in setting up for new closer Mark Melancon. 

Kontos has long been Bruce Bochy's most reliable reliever in the middle innings and he could move to a higher-leverage role in a revamped bullpen. He had a 2.53 ERA in 2016, his fifth season with the Giants.

The Giants had previously reached one-year deals with Cory Gearrin, Ehire Adrianza and Conor Gillaspie. They have not gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when a deal could not be reached with A.J. Pierzynski.