Pagan quickly feeling at home with Giants


Pagan quickly feeling at home with Giants

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Angel Pagan has worn a Giants uniformfor just two spring training games, but hes already finding that his neworganization has his back.Even up in the broadcast booth.In the second inning of Sundays 11-1 exhibition victory over the ArizonaDiamondbacks, Pagan drilled a hard ground ball that hit runner Hector Sanchezbetween first and second base. Sanchez was ruled out, correctly. The inning wasover. The official scorer called it a fielders choice.Thats when Hall of Fame announcer Jon Miller came rushing out of the booth,waving his rulebook. He pointed to Rule 10.05 (section A, subsection 5), whichshowed that Pagan should have been credited with a single.

You cant just make this up, Miller said (and further explains in the embedded video). Under the rules of baseball, itsa hit.And so it was. Pagan went 2-for-4. You can look it up in the box score.Its very, very early in the spring, but Pagan has been a big hit in his shorttime as a Giant. He added an RBI single later in Sundays game to drive in arun. No. 2 hitter Melky Cabrera also doubled for the second consecutive game andprobably seared his retinas while making a tough catch on a sun ball in leftfield.With their catalysts leading the way, the Giants also got three hits each fromBrett Pill and Mike Fontenot on the hard-baked surface to rout the defending NLWest champions at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.Manager Bruce Bochy wanted to see plenty of Pagan and Cabrera in the top twolineup spots, which is why he put them in the same split-squad roster Sunday.He likes what he sees thus far.Its early. Its two games, Bochy said. But even with that, you like the wayits going right now. We have time to get this thing jelled together into alineup that will pretty much be our everyday lineup.As the two guys at the top of the order show, were a little more athleticnow. Theyre getting good at-bats and swinging the bat well. We ran the baseswell today. It was a very nice ballgame.Pagan is making an impression in the clubhouse, too. His upbeat personality wasreadily apparent to teammates from his first day he spent with them at FanFestat AT&T Park last month. It was a trip he didnt have to make, especiallyconsidering the long flight from his home in Puerto Rico.Wow, he said at FanFest, his face aglow as he was ushered from the stage toan autograph station. They dont have anything like this with the Mets.Pagan showed more personality when asked about the swarm of bees that delayedthe game for 41 minutes in the second inning."Never seen anything like it," he said. "I didnt know what todo. If I got stung by one, Id get stung by a million. I stood in the dugout bythe bathroom, ready to lock myself in."Asked about his upbeat, outgoing nature this spring, Pagan made reference to acouple of pretty good sparkplugs.What you see is what you get, he said Sunday. I like to be a good guy aroundmy teammates so they can be comfortable. I played with (Jose) Reyes so I try tohave that same infusion of energy in me. Its being energetic, no differentthan Andres Torres. Thats something that every team needs. When you have aspark like that at the top of the lineup, it can change your lineup dramatically.Youll remember that Pagan and Torres were traded for each other in December.The Mets wanted to cut costs, and Ramon Ramirez filled their need for adependable right-handed reliever.The Giants believe they got a more dependable everyday offensive player inPagan, without sacrificing too much defense in center field. As beloved asTorres was among Giants fans, its no secret he was mentally drowning as thestrikeouts piled up.And Pagan looks like he could be a fan favorite, too.This team is committed to win, he said. Im not saying that the Mets werentcommitted, but these guys have a very good chance to make it to the postseason.Theyre committed to get back. Last year, they got hit by injury bug and thatssomething they cant control.But this year is different. They put some speed in top of lineup with me andMelky. Weve definitely got some power. If we can provide some runs early, thatmight be the game. Seeing it from the outside, every time you put three orfourruns up with this pitching staff, its over.

He hopes to save some runs forthat staff in center field, too.Very wide outfield gaps, he said. Its good for me. Im a gap-to-gap hitterso hopefully I can get a lot of triples over there. Its a lot of room to cover(but) I worked really hard this offseason for that. Im ready.One other note of interest to Giants fans: Pagan is not related to former Giant Jose Pagan, who passed away last June. But they did meet a few times, and when people called to express condolences, Angel kindly accepted.

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.