A's can't touch Jimenez in 5-2 loss to Rockies


A's can't touch Jimenez in 5-2 loss to Rockies

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Ubaldo Jimenez looks forward to this opening day assignment even more than his first one. This time he'll start at home.Jimenez showed he's set, pitching six shutout innings as a Colorado Rockies split-squad beat the Oakland Athletics 5-2 Sunday."I am 100 percent ready for the season to start," Jimenez said. "I'm happy to be opening at home in front of our fans. We all feel like we have some unfinished business."Jimenez gave up four hits, struck out three and walked none. Four of his five spring starts were scoreless - he also threw six shutout innings in a minor league game."That was a wonderful way for an opening day starter to finish the spring," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "He went out there and pitched. He used all his pitches effectively."Jimenez will start Friday at home against Arizona."We can do it all," Jimenez said. "We have starting pitching, we have a bullpen, we have guys who can play defense and guys who can hit. This year we were working on getting ready for the season. Last year we were working to get hurt."Willy Taveras had three hits, scored twice and showed off a strong arm for the Rockies."This guy had a spectacular spring," Tracy said. "I've seen a better player this spring than what I saw from the other dugout as an opposing manager."Kevin Kouzmanoff had two hits, his third straight multihit game for the A's."Our guys are ready to go," A's manager Bob Geren said. "The pitchers have been great. This is a good note for these guys to leave on."The A's open the annual Bay Bridge exhibition series in San Francisco on Monday night.A's starter Bobby Cramer went two scoreless innings. Craig Breslow, Brad Ziegler and Jerry Blevins each pitched a shutout inning.Taveras and Alfredo Amezaga hit back-to-back doubles with two outs in the sixth to give the Rockies a 1-0 lead.The A's had runners on first and third with no outs in the fourth. Jimenez got Mark Ellis to fly out and then induced a double-play comebacker by Conor Jackson."He's the ace of our staff and he's awfully good," Tracy said of Jimenez, 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA last year. "He's become the ace for a reason. He fields his position well."NOTES: The A's optioned RHP Joey Devine to Triple-A Sacramento. ... The Rockies optioned RHP Matt Dailey, RHP Greg Reynolds, C Jordan Pacheco and IF Eric Young Jr. to Triple-A Colorado Springs and reassigned LHP Eric Stults and LHP Rex Brothers to their minor league camp. ... A's 1B Daric Barton is 10 for 27 over his last nine games. ... Tracy's son, Mark, drew a walk in his first appearance with the parent club. "That was special," the manager said.

Dodgers infielder weighs in on Harper's errant helmet throw

Dodgers infielder weighs in on Harper's errant helmet throw

Before the right hooks and haymakers, there was the helmet toss.

A very bad helmet toss.

As he made his way to the mound after getting hit by a pitch on Monday afternoon, Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper attempted to throw his helmet at Giants reliever Hunter Strickland. He missed by a wide margin.

Observers took notice, including Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner.

"What was worse, Harper's helmet throw or 50 Cents first pitch? Heads up in the #McCoveyCove," Turner tweeted shortly after the brawl between the Giants and Nationals.

Turner is referring to a ceremonial first pitch thrown by rapper 50 Cent prior to a Mets game in 2014.

Harper mentioned the helmet when addressing the situation after the game.

"I was trying to go after him, with the helmet or with myself, just doing what I needed to do keep it going, I guess," Harper told reporters.


Fight Notes: Harper thought this was over; Giants collide; Posey avoids it

Fight Notes: Harper thought this was over; Giants collide; Posey avoids it

SAN FRANCISCO — When the Nationals visited AT&T Park for the first time after the 2014 postseason series, Bryce Harper took to Instagram to compliment the city. “Nothing like SF! #BayArea” he wrote underneath a photo of the Bay Bridge. 

Harper, a Las Vegas kid, has always seemed to enjoy facing the Giants. He hasn’t hit well at AT&T Park, but he was a star in their 2014 matchup and he praised Brandon Crawford on Twitter during this year’s WBC. The greeting Monday was not a friendly one. 

Harper was retired three times by Matt Moore. The first pitch he saw from Hunter Strickland left a dent on his hip and set off a wild brawl. 

Strickland denied any intent. Harper seemed confused by the timing of the payback pitch. 

“It’s so in the past, it’s not even relevant anymore,” he said of their 2014 series, according to Dan Kolko of MASN. “They won the World Series that year. I don’t think he should even be thinking about what happened in the first round. He should be thinking about wearing that ring home every single night. I don’t know why he did it or what he did it for, but I guess it happens.”

The Giants were not surprised when Harper reacted the way he did. Now they’ll wait for Strickland to get hit with a suspension, and Harper is looking at a layoff, too. 

“You never want to get suspended or anything like that, but sometimes you’ve got to go and get him,” Harper said. “You can’t hesitate. You either go to first base or you go after him. And I decided to go after him.”

Strickland, about an hour after the fight, said he’s not sure what will happen in terms of discipline. 

“That’s their decision and obviously I’ll take whatever consequences come with it and we’ll go from there,” he said. 

Any action by the league is unlikely to impact this series. Even if suspensions are handed down swiftly, players can appeal. Harper and Strickland may not be alone. Several players jumped into the fray aggressively and at least one non-active Giant — Hunter Pence — was right in the middle of the scrum. At the very least, he could be facing a fine for trying to help his teammate. 

“It doesn't look good when a guy gets hit but also on their side, the guy throws his helmet,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Strickland’s got to stand his ground. There’s no choice there. I can’t tell you what’s going to happen (with suspensions).”

One player who won’t face discipline: Madison Bumgarner, who is also on the DL but wisely stayed away from this one, even if it probably killed him to do so. 

--- The biggest hit didn’t come from Strickland or Harper. It was Jeff Samardzija and Michael Morse coming together in the middle of the field. Both players said they were fine. 

"I was just trying to get in there to break everything up," Morse said. "We lost the game, that's what's most important."

Ahhh, yes, the Giants lost 3-0. Bochy seemed particularly peeved that Strickland chose the eighth inning of a 2-0 game to exact revenge, and you can bet some teammates weren't thrilled. We'll see if there's anything more to this Tuesday. There was a lot of adrenaline flowing, but some of these guys might not be feeling so spry when they wake up in the morning. Bochy said he had not heard any reports of players getting injured, but he also admitted that he didn't see most of the collisions and had no idea what happened with Morse and Samardzija, who had a world-class reaction, by the way.  

--- As with the incident with the Dodgers a couple weeks ago, Buster Posey stayed out of this one. Smartly. 

"After it happened I saw Harper point and the next thing you know he's going out after them," Posey said. "Those are some big guys tumbling on the ground. You see Michael Morse, as big as he is, and he's getting knocked around like a pinball."

Posey is not alone in staying away from these scrums where 250-pound dudes are flying at knees and ankles. Brandon Crawford can often be found on the outside, as well. It's smart, but I think something else was at play here today. Posey understands that the Giants are fighting for every scrap at this point. Every loss digs the hole that much deeper, and this happened with two outs in the eighth inning of a 2-0 game, against a team with a poor bullpen. I'd imagine there was some serious annoyance there. 

--- How angry was Strickland? It took three guys, three big guys, to drag him into the dugout: Pence, Mac Williamson, and George Kontos. 

"I was pretty fired up to be honest with you, but that’s just adrenaline," he said. 

--- Baseball fights are rather silly, but at least you get some phenomenal photos.