Bolt promises more antics for his fans

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Bolt promises more antics for his fans

From Comcast SportsNet Thursday, August 25, 2011
DAEGU, South Korea (AP) -- Usain Bolt promises more antics and more amusement when the always entertaining sprinter takes the track at the world championships. As for more records, well, even the Jamaican sensation thinks that might be a bit of a stretch. Bolt isn't anywhere near his record-setting form of 2009, when he shattered his own marks in the 100 and 200 meters. Calling this his "comeback season," Bolt downplayed expectations at a Jamaican-themed event Thursday. He's contending with nagging injuries, which have hampered his training. Tip-top shape or not, Bolt has a clear path in the 100, especially with Asafa Powell withdrawing because of a lingering groin injury and American rival Tyson Gay already sidelined due to a surgically repaired hip. Once again, Bolt's only real competition may be against the clock, even if he doesn't think he can lower his time of 9.58 seconds set at the worlds in Berlin two years ago. "I don't think I'm in 9.5 shape," Bolt conceded. "But I definitely think I will be able to run fast." When hasn't he? It's all part of his plan to become a "legend" in the sprint game. Defend his title in Daegu, claim another next year at the London Olympics, and his place among the track greats will be etched. "A lot of people have their own goals. My goal is to become a legend," the 25-year-old Bolt said. "I'm working on it." Bolt certainly knows how to make a grand entrance. He was the guest of honor at a get-together Thursday, strolling in with reggae music blaring in the background. He did a little shuffle before lounging on a couch set in the center of an auditorium to answer questions from a moderator. "I've been working hard in training to get everything right for this one moment," said Bolt, who donned a hat with his initials "UB" interlocked. "I think I'm ready. I'm focused and going to take everybody seriously." But it's a watered-down field with all the injuries and no-shows because of doping issues. Powell had the best time in the world this season and was going to provide the biggest threat before suddenly pulling out, a move that even caught Bolt by surprise. "Asafa's out? That's the first I heard of it," Bolt said. Now, Bolt's top challenger just may be Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago, whose best time came this season at 9.85 seconds. Bolt's top mark this year is 9.86. In a promotional appearance earlier in the day across town, Gay picked Bolt to win the 100. That's hardly going out on a limb. Still, Bolt appreciated the nod. "I guess he knows what he's talking about," Bolt said. "At the championships, I'm much more focused. I really want it really bad." Bolt has been contending with back issues, which forced him to shut down his season early in 2010. He's still attempting to round into the form that led to a sensational showing in Berlin, when he not only broke his world record in the 100 but also his mark in the 200 (19.19) as well. "I think people expect a lot from me," Bolt said. "Personally, I'm just focused on winning. The pressure is always there. Even before I won my first gold medal, it was always there." His way of coping with the stress is by clowning around. Like record-setting performances, his antics are almost expected at big meets. "That's just who I am. I like to have fun, like to make people laugh," Bolt said. "The fans like seeing me being me and trying to enjoy the championships as much as possible." But, for once, Bolt was rattled. So calm and cool on the track, he didn't know how to answer a question lobbed at him. Someone asked about his longtime girlfriend and when he was going to marry her. He squirmed and sank into the couch before quickly recovering. "Presently, I don't want to talk about personal life," he said as he tried to stifle a laugh. "It's all about business at this championships. Let's keep it business." Sitting in the back of the packed auditorium was former Olympic gold medalist Maurice Greene, intently listening to Bolt's every word. Greene said this kind of personality, this kind of talent, was exactly what track needed. "Anytime you can get the interest built up like this and have people come out and talk good things about the sport, it's great," Greene said. "He's very important. He's making a name for (track) right now. That's a good thing." Even as he dominates on the track, Bolt is already planning his next line of work -- football. If the Manchester United wanted him on the field for his speed, he would definitely go to the English Premier League. But that's for a later time, maybe when he's 28 and contemplating retirement, he said. Until then, Bolt's interested in only one thing: making his name stand out above track's greatest stars. "A lot of people have said that I'm a legend," Bolt said. "I don't look at it like that. But I'm working on it."

Bumgarner throws three innings of no-hit ball in first rehab start

Bumgarner throws three innings of no-hit ball in first rehab start

BOX SCORE

Madison Bumgarner was back on the bump Sunday night in a Giants jersey for the first time since being placed on the DL due to a dirt bike accident on April 21.

Bumgarner took the mound for the Arizona Rookie League Giants against the Arizona Rookie League Angels and did not allow a hit in three innings pitched. The Giants' ace also struck out two and walked one. 

In both the first and third innings, Bumgarner pitched a perfect three up and three down frame. 

Bumgarner was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of his left throwing shoulder and sustained bruised ribs from his dirt bike accident on an off day in Colorado. Pitching in a game for the first time in over two months, Bumgarner was throwing between 88-91 miles per hour, according to Tommy Stokke of FanRagSports. 

After finishing his three innings of work, Bumgarner went down to the bullpen to increase his pitch count, reports Sande Charles of FanRagSports

Before sustaining the injury, Bumgarner was 0-3 with a 3.00 ERA in four starts this season. 

The Giants have gone 21-41 since Bumgarner's injury. They are 27-51 on the year and sit 24.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West. 

After another Giants clunker, Bochy tells players 'enough is enough'

After another Giants clunker, Bochy tells players 'enough is enough'

SAN FRANCISCO — A few minutes after yet another missed opportunity at the plate Sunday, a voice came over a speaker in the press box at AT&T Park and announced a 524th consecutive sellout. It nicely summed up this current stretch of Giants baseball. 

The seats are emptier than they used to be at first pitch, and they were just about abandoned in the ninth inning of an 8-2 loss, but for the most part the fans are still showing up in droves. One woman brought a toaster by the dugout Sunday morning and asked players and coaches to sign it, hoping to recapture the magic from across the bridge. Another, Bryan Stow, made his first appearance of the season at AT&T Park, met with Bruce Bochy, and said he hoped to see a win. As Matt Moore started warming up, a band set up on top of the visiting dugout to play hits that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. 

For a while, AT&T Park was rocking. And then, as has happened so often this summer, the game started. 

The Giants turned in another epic clunker in a season full of them. They have lost 12 of their last 13 games and 21 of 26, but it’s worse than the raw numbers. On most nights, some in the organization have noted privately, they are simply boring. It’s one thing to lose, it’s quite another to do it in this way. 

“There’s no getting around it,” Bochy said after the sweep. “I’ve been through some tough stretches here and this is as tough as any stretch I’ve seen. For some reason the baseball gods are really testing us here and (testing) this group. It’s not that they’re not coming out ready or trying, but enough is enough.

“At some point, we’ve got to find a way to get this thing turned around.”

Even a slight pivot would be welcomed by the faithful. There were scattered boos Sunday, the latest in a growing trend. This is a fan base that has seen the highest highs, but rarely in franchise history have the lows been this low. 

The crowd no longer turns to the rally lights that were used so often in an awful April, but the noise still grows with each new rally. And then, every single time Sunday, the Giants killed off any hope. 

In the second inning, a Brandon Belt bunt single and Brandon Crawford bloop put two on, but a pair of rookies flied out. 

In the third, the bases were loaded ahead of Buster Posey. He flied out to bring one run across, and there were still runners on the corners for Belt, who leads the team in homers. On a 2-2 count, Hunter Pence inexplicably took off for second. He was caught, the inning was over, and the two-run Mets lead was intact. Bochy said he did not send Pence. 

In the sixth, there were two on with no outs for Posey. Both runners bolted to stay out of a double play. Posey popped up to first -- for a double play.

“He’s not a guy that strikes out, so I’m pretty confident sending runners with Buster,” Bochy said. “We can’t keep laying back. We’re trying to force the issue a bit and stay out of double plays.”

In the eighth, the Giants loaded the bases for Posey and Belt. Posey grounded out. Belt struck out for the third time. 

“We’re getting guys out there,” Bochy said. “We’re not doing enough damage.”

Matt Moore’s damage was self-inflicted. He twice gave up homers to the guy — Rene Rivera — hitting in front of the pitcher. Moore said he has stopped throwing his cutter the past three starts and tried to get his four-seamer going, but the Mets were teeing off. Moore gave up five runs on seven hits. He was pulled in the fifth, left to think about mechanics that still aren’t right. 

“The cutter is a little bit different of a pitch and at times it can take away from the four-seam fastball location-wise, and command of the four-seam was starting to go down the more I threw (the cutter),” Moore said. “I’m anxious to get back to it, but the foundation has got to be throwing the four-seam fastball. I need to execute where they’re carrying through the zone, not running or cutting.”

Moore said his confidence is fine and his problems are not physical. Others can no longer say that. Austin Slater, a rare bright spot in this five-win month, was pulled with a tight hip flexor. He was headed for an MRI. 

Slater is too young to be one of the players Bochy approached after the game. He said he talked to a few, though, passing along that “enough is enough” message. Moore, last in the National League in ERA (6.04), was not one who needed a reminder. 

“I’m sitting on a six right now with not a lot of wins and not enough team wins when I’m throwing,” he said. “It’s been 'enough' for me for the last couple of months.”