Cain hammered by Abreu, Angels in shutout loss

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Cain hammered by Abreu, Angels in shutout loss

March 23, 2011BOXSCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLBPAGE MLB SCOREBOARD

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Bobby Abreu and the Los Angeles Angels made Matt Cain pay for throwing too many balls.Abreu hit his third homer this spring, a three-run shot that highlighted a five-run first inning that sent the Angels over the San Francisco Giants 8-0 Wednesday with boxing great Muhammad Ali in attendance.Many of the Angels had their pictures taken with Ali prior to the game in the locker room. Ali then watched part of the game from a suite behind home plate.Cain pitched three innings. He had gone five scoreless Cactus League innings over two previous games."I was behind on a lot of counts," Cain said. "I wasn't able to command the left side of the plate. I was a little bit out of rhythm. My arm strength was fine. I felt fine. Today doesn't look great, but I felt fine."Angels starter Ervin Santana pitched five shutout innings, striking out six."Those were great hitters," said Santana, 17-10 with a 3.92 ERA in 2010. "They made me think a little bit."Abreu's homer followed singles from Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick to start the game. Mark Trumbo continued his fine spring later in the inning with an RBI double and scored on Jeff Mathis' single.Mathis had two hits, raising his spring batting average to .371.The Angels added two more runs in the fourth. Peter Bourjos opened with a bunt single and scored on Aybar's double. Torii Hunter had a sacrifice fly.Aybar finished with three hits.NOTES: Giants OF Cody Ross came out of the game in the first inning after catching a sinking line drive off the bat of Alberto Callaspo. Ross left with a strained left calf. ... Angels OF Vernon Wells left in the third with tightness in his left hamstring, but said he would have continued had it been a regular-season game. "There was no sense in pushing it," Wells said. "I've learned over the years to play through it. I've turned it into an art form. These things pop up." ... Angels closer Fernando Rodney enjoyed his best outing of the spring, striking out the side in one inning of relief of Santana.

Giants spring training Day 11: Blach has shown versatility

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Giants spring training Day 11: Blach has shown versatility

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Bruce Bochy announced a slight tweak to the spring schedule on Thursday: Matt Cain won't follow Madison Bumgarner on the mound in the opener; he'll likely start the second game, with Ty Blach backing him up.

The Giants have made no secret of the fact that Cain is the perfect-world pick to be the fifth starter this season. Is there a world where Blach could still be in the big leagues?

"Sure, I could see that," manager Bruce Bochy said.

Bochy called Blach a potentially good "swing guy." If he can't crack the rotation this season, Blach may see time as a long reliever or even a short-stint lefty. With Will Smith (elbow) on a tight timeline to get ready for opening day, the lefty help could be needed.

"He's confident, he's a strike-thrower, he has really good command and he's a good athlete," Bochy said, noting the traits that allow Blach to be versatile.

The 26-year-old had already proven to be flexible. A week after he threw eight shutout innings against the Dodgers, Blach came out of the bullpen at Wrigley Field and threw 1 1/3 hitless innings. Two days later he threw two more scorleless innings out of the bullpen. 

Blach said he was at first a little worried about the transition, but he talked to Cain, Jake Peavy, Chris Heston and Chris Stratton about the best ways to adjust to a switch to the bullpen. He ultimately didn't have any problems warming up quickly as a reliever.

"It was pretty similar, you just try to go out there the same way and execute pitches," Blach said.

Blach made the quick transition look easy, and that might have opened up a second path to a roster spot. 

Elsewhere on the final day before the games start ...

STOCK WATCH: Tyler Beede will pitch Sunday, and there are going to be a lot of eyes on him. Beede is probably the No. 7 starter at this point, and when you're in that spot, you're just about guaranteed a decent chunk of starts. Injuries will open doors.

"He's looked real sharp this spring," Bochy said. "He's coming off a great year. He's got great stuff, great makeup. He’s a smart pitcher along with having good command of all of his pitches. He knows what he’s doing out there. He’s one of those guys on a fast pace.”

ICYMI: Speaking of guys on a fast pace, here’s my feature on Christian Arroyo

SPRING OPENER: Buster Posey won’t catch Bumgarner on Friday, but Brandon Crawford will be behind him. Crawford is going to get plenty of time early on to prepare for the WBC. Posey makes his spring debut Saturday.

LIGHTER SIDE: Just about every day, a rookie has to get up in front of the team and do something embarrassing. Thursday’s entertainment: Jae-gyun Hwang, the Korean third baseman, dancing to “Gangnam Style.”

QUOTABLE: I think Mike Morse was the best podcast guest so far. We talked about his wedding negotiations with Bobby Evans, his friendship with Hunter Pence, the photo he took with a trophy right after the World Series, why it’s SF-or-bust, and much more. You can stream it here or download it on iTunes here. 

The last question for Morse: Will he use “Take on Me” this year?

“If this is going to be the last time I play baseball, I’m going to have that song every at-bat,” he said. 

Kevin Durant's future plans: General manager of NBA team he owns

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AP

Kevin Durant's future plans: General manager of NBA team he owns

OAKLAND -- Still only 28 years old, Kevin Durant already is visualizing his post-career options.

The Warriors forward wants to stay involved in the NBA, and he aspires to levels above being a coach.

“I want to be a GM, want to own a team, hopefully own a team and run it,” Durant said Thursday, after the team’s morning shootaround.

Minutes before the trade deadline of noon Thursday, Durant acknowledged to following the various web sites devoted to basketball-related speculation regarding potential deals and the thinking behind them.

It’s all part of his long-term plan.

“So I look to see what rumors are getting out there, what deals are being presented to these teams,” he said. “Try to figure that stuff out. It’s fun, especially for a guy who knows that part of the business.”

[POOLE: Mum at deadline, Warriors ineligible to re-sign Andrew Bogut]

The latest former superstar to join the ranks of architects is Magic Johnson, who this week assumed control of the Lakers, the team with which he spent his entire Hall of Fame career. Johnson joins the likes of Larry Bird (Pacers) and Michael Jordan (Hornets).

Only Jordan, though, has the power of ownership.

Though several other former players run front offices, Durant would not be just another former player. Midway through his career, he already owns four scoring titles and an MVP trophy.

For now, he’s doing his homework, examining the Collective Bargaining Agreement in order to better understand its complexities.

“Obviously it affects me and affects my peers,” Durant said. “Like I said, I want to learn more and more about the business of basketball. I try to keep that fine line of keeping it pure and fun and also knowing that this is a really big business. So I like to go through the CBA, also ask questions.”