Is Hector Sanchez mashing his way onto the roster?


Is Hector Sanchez mashing his way onto the roster?

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Young catcher Hector Sanchez continuesto post big numbers this spring. And he might be starting to change the Giantsroster calculus.

The 22-year-old switch hitter had another banner afternoonSaturday, first pulling a two-run home run off Rockies right-hander JuanNicasio, then working a long and impressive at-bat that ended with anopposite-field double off Esmil Rogers.

Sanchez is hitting .452 with a team-leading four home runsand 10 RBIs. He has a .935 slugging percentage and half of his 14 hits havegone for extra bases. He didnt lose any momentum from a huge season in theVenezuelan winter league.

But will he fit on the Giants opening-day roster?

With Freddy Sanchez and Ryan Vogelsong expected to start theseason on the disabled list, the Giants should have two extra spots toallocate. It would be logical to use one of those spots on Hector Sanchez, especiallyconsidering that Buster Posey could be eased back into everyday duties behindthe plate early in the season.

A third catcher isnt the worst thing to have in the shortterm especially one who could be a switch-hitting threat off the bench.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy appears to be warming to theidea. Just a few days ago, he called the young Sanchez a longshot in the competition withEli Whiteside and Chris Stewart.

But after watching Sanchez rake again in a 7-6 loss to theRockies, Bochy said he and the staff would stay open minded.

Youd have to say hes in the mix, particularly with howhes playing, Bochy said. Of course, you come up with the idea of, Is hebetter off playing every day or playing a couple times a week and coming offthe bench? These are the things well discuss this week.

Sanchez still has plenty to learn behind the plate, both ingame calling and blocking skills. For that reason, the plan was to send Sanchezto Triple-A Fresno where he can continue his development.

But as Bochy said just 24 hours earlier when discussing NateSchierholtz, its incumbent upon him to pick players who can put runs on theboard. Nobody in camp has done that better than Sanchez.

Hes a nice player. He had a nice winter ball, Bochy said.Hes got the ability from both sides, a good eye, uses the whole field. Hereally doesnt have a hole, and hes a smart hitter. He knows what he wants todo up there. Hes got a great gift there.

Sanchez said he made huge strides with Tiburones this winterafter coaches suggested he use a quieter stance and keep his hands still.

I think that helps me a lot, he said. I feel comfortableup there. Everybody wants to be in the big leagues. I just try to play hard andwait for the opportunity. Thats all I can do.

One other factor to consider as the Giants look at variousroster possibilities: Of their first 10 games, four of them are day games precededby night games. The Giants have 39 such quick turn games on the schedule thisseason.

Posey has caught just 27 innings all spring three fullgames, really and neither he nor the coaching staff can be certain how his reconstructedankle will respond.

Posey played six innings at first base Saturday and lookedcomfortable while receiving throws. He also made an on-target throw to theplate, where Sanchez applied a tag on a fielders choice.

Posey also continues to look comfortable at the plate. Hehad a pair of RBI hits Saturday, bouncing a single up the middle and runningwell on a double to right-center field. His average is up to .319.

Posey will be off Sunday but will get stretched out to catchnine innings soon, Bochy said.

Hes coming out of these games with no issues, Bochy said.Hes getting his at-bats. Hes getting his timing.

Sanchezs timing appears to be right on, too.

Giants catching prospect Garcia relishing reps in Arizona Fall League


Giants catching prospect Garcia relishing reps in Arizona Fall League

After being selected in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the San Francisco Giants, catcher Aramis Garcia quickly opened eyes with his power. Garcia totaled 15 home runs between Rookie Ball and Short Season Single-A in only 28 games after the draft. 

The next year, Garcia equaled his 15 long balls and spent the majority of his first full pro season at High Single-A. He also improved overall as a hitter, raising his 2014 slash line of .225/.301/.343 to .264/.342/.431 in 2015. The next climb up the farm system ladder was set in place, until it was gone with an excruciating injury. 

Garcia's 2016 season was limited to 47 games played as he sustained a facial fracture in May while sliding into second base. In an attempt to break up a double play, Garcia took a knee to the face. The injury kept him out until the end of July.

When the chance to play in the Arizona Fall League for the Scottsdale Scorpions arose, Garcia jumped at the opportunity. 

"First thing I did was call my parents and let them know," Garcia told on Monday. "I was just really excited for getting the opportunity to play against guys who are extremely talented and obviously make up for reps, which are extremely important."

Garcia never did exactly find his rhythm after the injury and finished the season batting .257/.323/.340 with two homers in 41 games. In the first half, the 23-year-old hit .298/.359/.369 compared to a lowly .200/.273/.300 in the second half. 

The catcher known more for his offense than defense, is off to a slow start at the plate while facing some of the top prospects in baseball. Throuh six games, he has gone 3-for-17 at the plate, good for a .176 average. But, Garcia acknowledged he's focusing heavily on his defense in the AFL. 

"I feel like when somebody tries to steal on me, I tend to take it a little bit personally," he said. "It's definitely something I take pride in, something I work on hard every day. There's a little routine I do with receiving and footwork, things like that every day."

Behind the dish, Garcia caught 38 percent of base runners looking to swipe a bag on him last season. Through his three years in the minors, Garcia has erased 34 percent of base stealers and owns a .993 fielding percentage. 

Cubs, Indians name starting pitchers for Game 1 of World Series


Cubs, Indians name starting pitchers for Game 1 of World Series

World Series ace Jon Lester is all set to start Game 1 for the Chicago Cubs.

Lester will be fully rested when he pitches Tuesday night at Cleveland. Corey Kluber will start for the Indians.

The 32-year-old lefty is 2-0 in three starts during this postseason, with wins over the Giants and Dodgers in the NL playoffs. He was 19-5 during the regular season.

Lester is 3-0 in three starts in the World Series with a sparkling 0.43 ERA. He helped the Boston Red Sox win championships in 2007 and 2013.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon says Lester is "really, really in the moment" right now.


Indians ace Corey Kluber will start Game 1 of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs.

Manager Terry Francona said Sunday that he will go with Kluber, an 18-ame winner during the regular season, in the opener on Tuesday night. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 0.98 ERA in his first postseason.

Francona has right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin penciled in for Games 2 and 3, respectively. The order could change depending on how Bauer's injured right pinkie heals over the next few days.

Bauer's start in the AL Championship Series lasted less than one inning after his pinkie began bleeding against Toronto. He injured his finger when he sliced it open while repairing a drone.

Also, injured starter Danny Salazar could be available against the Cubs. Salazar hasn't pitched since Sept. 9 because of forearm tightness but he's made major progress in the past week and could be on the World Series roster.