Coaches Working OT in Spring

Coaches Working OT in Spring

Feb. 25, 2010GIANTS PAGEGIANTS VIDEO

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. If you think players work hard at spring training, you should see what kind of time the coaches put in. Theyre the first to show up in the morning and typically the last to leave.This is their busiest and most important time of year; once the season starts, the amount of actual coaching -- more specifically, teaching -- is minimal. Here is where they refine everybodys fundamentals, help individuals make any necessary adjustments in their game, and set the work-ethic tone for the marathon to come.During the season, coaches are basically in maintenance mode, keeping their troops sharp during the limited work time before each game. During the game, they assume roles just like the players.Third-base coach Tim Flannery has one of the most important in-game jobs on the Giants coaching staff; hes the guy who has to make the split-second, high-profile decisions -- stop or try to score -- that can be the difference between winning and losing.His job at spring training is awfully big, too, though, as evidenced by a scene I observed and a conversation I had with Flannery in the Giants dugout at Scottsdale Stadium.The scene -- part of which you can see in my flip-cam home videos for the day -- played out on the main diamond, some 45 minutes before the start of the full-squad workout. Flannery, well into his workday at about 9:15 in the morning, was on the mound feeding a pitching machine. Rotating in and out of the cage were Andres Torres, Eugenio Velez, Nate Schierholtz and Kevin Frandsen.Early hitting? Nope. Early bunting, and Flannery is the designated bunting instructor. Torres, Velez, Schierholtz and Frandsen are the fastest players on a generally slow roster, and the Giants need to take advantage of that speed whenever possible.None of the aforementioned four has a starting job locked down, but Schierholtz is the obvious frontrunner in right field. Torres likely will end up as a backup in the outfield, Frandsen is trying to win a job as a utility infielder, and Velez will play all over the field.As bench players, theyll be key to the Giants success this year, and Flannery needs to make sure each of them can consistently play small ball.Thats not all Flannery does here. He throws batting practice every day, hes the baserunning instructor, and he hits fungoes -- ground balls -- throughout the day. He hits a lot of fungoes. I was wondering exactly how many hes hit in his 15 years as a coach, so I asked him when he stopped to get a drink of water while I was working in the dugout. "You know, I figured it out one day, a rough estimate," he told me. "I figure I hit about 44,000 ground balls a year."Multiplied by 15 seasons, that equals 660,000 fungoes. If he stays in coaching, that means hell pass the million mark at some point in 2017."Thats why," Flannery said with a smile before running back onto the field for more work, "we all get double shots of cortisone the day we get here every spring."--Mychael Urban
What's your take? Email Mychael and let him know. He may use it in his weekly Mailbag.

Team USA dominates Puerto Rico to win 2017 World Baseball Classic

Team USA dominates Puerto Rico to win 2017 World Baseball Classic

LOS ANGELES -- Marcus Stroman tossed six hitless innings, Ian Kinsler slugged a two-run homer and the United States routed Puerto Rico 8-0 on Wednesday night to win its first World Baseball Classic in four tries.

Stroman dominated the tournament's highest-scoring team. Puerto Rico lost for the first time in eight games after outscoring the opposition 55-26. The U.S. territory finished runner-up for the second time, having lost to the Dominican Republic in the 2013 final.

Stroman, who was named the tournament's MVP, avenged his shakiness in the Americans' 6-5 loss to Puerto Rico during pool play. The right-hander from the Toronto Blue Jays retired the side on three grounders to open the game. In all, he gave up one hit, struck out three and walked one on 73 pitches.

He allowed just three balls past the infield until Angel Pagan's double in the left-field corner leading off the seventh, when Stroman departed to a standing ovation, having staked the Americans to a 7-0 lead.

Stroman walked Carlos Beltran leading off the second, but the defense helped him out. Yadier Molina hit the ball to shortstop Brandon Crawford, who started a double play before Stroman struck out Javier Baez to end the inning.

The U.S. pounded out 13 hits and finished with a 6-2 record while making the final for the first time in front of 51,565 at Dodger Stadium.

Kinsler homered off an 0-1 pitch from Seth Lugo into left-center field in the third, scoring Jonathan Lucroy, who singled leading off.

Lugo of the New York Mets allowed four runs and five hits, struck out seven and walked four in four innings. The right-hander won his first two starts of the tournament, including in the second round against Stroman and the U.S.

In that game, Stroman gave up six consecutive singles in a four-run first inning and took the loss against Puerto Rico last Friday in San Diego.

The Americans made it 4-0 in the fifth on RBI singles by Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen.

Fans wore flags of both countries as capes and decorated their faces in team colors. Puerto Rico boosters pounded cowbells, tooted horns and blew whistles early on before their team fell behind 4-0.

Fans were on their feet chanting "U-S-A" when the Americans loaded the bases in the seventh with two outs. They were rewarded with Crawford's two-run single that chased J.C. Romero, extending the lead to 6-0.

The U.S. tacked on another run on Giancarlo Stanton's RBI single off Hiram Burgos past diving shortstop Francisco Lindor.

Burgos' wild pitch moved runners to second and third before he walked Lucroy to load the bases a second time. Kinsler flied out to end the inning.

The Americans led 8-0 in the eighth on McCutchen's RBI single with two outs.

The U.S. defeated two-time champion Japan, while Puerto Rico beat the Netherlands to reach the final.

The three games at Dodger Stadium drew 109,892.

Instant Replay: Kings blown out by Bucks, Antetokounmpo at home

Instant Replay: Kings blown out by Bucks, Antetokounmpo at home

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO -- The Milwaukee Bucks are where the Sacramento Kings hope to be in two seasons - young, athletic and on their way to the playoffs. Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center, the visiting team jumped all of the Kings early on their way to a 116-98 win. 

The Greek Freak didn’t let up on his fellow countryman, Georgios Papagiannis. Giannis Antetokounmpo went at the Kings from the opening tip, finishing the night with 32 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block.  

Former Kings Jason Terry and Spencer Hawes heard boos every time they touched the ball. Unfortunately for Sacramento, they hit almost every shot they took, combining for 19 points on 6-for-9 shooting.

Greg Monroe added 15 points and five rebounds. Mirza Teletovic finished with 13 points off the bench and Khris Middleton hit 3-for-6 from long range to score 13. 

Rookie Buddy Hield put on a shooting clinic. The 22-year-old shooting guard dropped in 8-of-16 from the field on his way to 21 points and four rebounds

Darren Collison set up his teammates from the opening tip. The veteran point guard dropped in 10 points and a team-high seven assists, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

Garrett Temple stepped up his scoring, chipping in 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting and chipped in three rebounds in the loss. 

Willie Cauley-Stein stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists and four blocks. 

Arron Afflalo started at the small forward position and added 12 on 5-of-9 shooting. Tyreke Evans came off the bench, posting 18 points in 20 minutes of action behind Afflalo.

Skal Labissiere managed to shake off a rough first half to drop in eight points and grab eight rebounds, and fellow rookie Georgios Papagiannis picked up four points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 23 minutes off Dave Joerger’s bench.  

STANDOUT PERFORMER

Antetokounmpo was as advertised and more. The 6-foot-11 forward gave the Kings fits from start to finish on his way to another huge performance.

TURNING POINT

The Bucks blew up in the first half, scoring 69 points on 61.4 percent shooting from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range. This game was over before the teams headed in for the break.

INJURY UPDATE 

Kosta Koufos and Ty Lawson both missed the game for scheduled rest. Rookie Malachi Richardson is out with a right hamstring thickness tear, but is expected back soon. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles. 

WHAT'S NEXT 

The Kings hit the road again following the game against Milwaukee. They will face the Golden State Warriors on Friday evening at Oracle Arena, followed by a stop in Los Angeles on Sunday to visit the Clippers.