Vogelsong expected to start season opener for Fresno


Vogelsong expected to start season opener for Fresno

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Ryan Vogelsong is hoping for a repeat ofhis smashing 2011 season. At least hes starting it the same way, albeit underdifferent circumstances.

The Giants are planning to have Vogelsong start the seasonopener for Triple-A Fresno on April 5 at Tucson, GM Brian Sabean told me. Then Vogelsong would make one more rehabstart for the Grizzlies and be lined up to take the ball when the Giants need afifth starter April 15 against the Pittsburgh Pirates at AT&T Park.

Vogelsong was last years opening-day starter for Fresno, too.He was among the last roster trims but his impressive spring won the confidenceof the coaching staff and his contract was purchased after Barry Zito sprainedhis ankle a few starts into the season.

The Giants signed Vogelsong to a two-year, 8.3 millioncontract with an option for 2014 and he was determined in his offseason workouts to build on his breakthrough season. But his spring didnt get off to a good start.He missed three weeks because of a lower back strain and only made his CactusLeague debut on Monday. It was a solid outing, though, as he had snap on hisbreaking pitches in 2 23 innings.

As it turns out, that start will be Vogelsongs only tuneup against major leaguers.Because the Giants must backdate his DL assignment, Vogelsong cannot face theCincinnati Reds on Saturday. Hell throw in minor league camp, instead.

Vogelsong said he came out of Mondays start with no issues,and his teammates were encouraged.

He looked really good, catcher Buster Posey said. I knowhe had to be happy with it. He looked really crisp.

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 MLB.com 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.