Athletics

Giants make a decision on Melky Cabrera's future

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Giants make a decision on Melky Cabrera's future

From Comcast SportsNetSAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The San Francisco Giants have informed Melky Cabrera's agent they won't bring the suspended outfielder back at any point this postseason.Manager Bruce Bochy made the announcement before Thursday's series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks, San Francisco's final regular-season home game."We have decided not to send Melky on a rehab assignment because we do not intend to add him to any playoff roster," Bochy said. "We had to make this decision early because Melky would have to start rehabbing in Arizona. We have decided to develop our roster from our current group of players. They've done a terrific job during the critical part of the season. We have informed Melky's agent and they understand. I just like the way this club has played down the stretch and moved on. So we're going to move forward without Melky."Bochy said the NL West champion Giants will go into the best-of-five divisional series with the current roster. Cabrera's suspension takes him through the first five games of the playoffs, so he would have been eligible in the NL championship series if San Francisco advanced."While I am disappointed that I won't have the chance to join my team in the playoffs, I wish my teammates the best in the postseason and I'll be rooting hard for them to bring another world championship to San Francisco!" Cabrera said in a statement through his representatives.The All-Star game MVP, batting an NL-leading .346, was suspended Aug. 15 for a positive testosterone text. Last Friday, Cabrera asked to be removed from contention for the NL batting crown, saying he had no wish to win a tainted title.Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum appreciated that the team made a decision well in advance of the playoffs so everyone could stay focused on the next step, avoiding a potential distraction."I'm not saying that he's not somebody that when he's doing what he's doing that we could use," Lincecum said after a 7-3 win against Arizona. "I'm not saying we wouldn't appreciate the addition, but we've got something good right now. I'm not sure, but that would probably bring some controversy with it as well."Hall of Famer Wade Boggs feels Cabrera made the right decision about taking himself out of the race for the batting title."I'm glad that he stood up and said that he didn't deserve it, number one, because he cheated to get to that point," Boggs said in a phone interview. "I would have thought Major League Baseball would have stepped in before that and sort of disqualified him on that fact. But he's a stand-up guy, and as far as (public relations) concerns, it's was pretty good for his corner, for him to do something like that."Bochy was asked whether anything happening that could change in the team's thinking regarding Cabrera if there was a significant injury or other unforeseen circumstance."I can't say I can right now," Bochy said. "We've made this decision and that's where we're at right now. I'm not going to get into anything that's hypothetical. We have a number of outfielders. ... We have a big roster here. They've all done a good job and stepped up when we needed them. We're going to have a 25-man roster from the guys you can see here right now."Cabrera was batting .346 with 11 home runs and 60 RBIs in his first season with San Francisco and is five hits shy of 1,000 in his big league career. He is set to become a free agent after the season.Bochy said he would talk to his players about the decision either later Thursday or Friday. Players weren't consulted beforehand, Bochy said of what was an organizational decision."Melky understands," Bochy said. "I think it's in the best interest of this club if you look how we've played and all we've been through. These guys have really done a great job. They're the reason why we're in this situation. They've earned this and we're going to go with the 25 guys we have here."Outfielder Gregor Blanco said he spoke to Cabrera this week, but didn't talk business. He still supports Cabrera as a teammate and friend, but also understands the Giants' stance on this one."That's their decision. We can't do anything about it," said Blanco, who has picked up a bulk of the playing time in Cabrera's left field spot. "As a group, we've done a great job, and we have to continue to do it. We can't think about Melky."

A's rookie Olson stays humble during record-breaking power surge

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A's rookie Olson stays humble during record-breaking power surge

OAKLAND — Matt Olson is aware of the company he’s keeping in the A’s record books.

His reaction is a mix of reverence and a shrug-of-the-shoulders type humbleness.

That’s the personality of the A’s rookie first baseman. Even as the conversation about him and his awe-inspiring home run pace grows louder, he remains the same steady, grounded presence.

“I’m happy for him,” A’s hitting coach Darren Bush said. “The guy’s worked his butt off. He’s the same today as was when he first got called up.”

Olson cleared the fences once again Friday night, his two-run homer off Nick Martinez in the second inning helping the A’s to a 4-1 victory over the Texas Rangers. At this point, it’s much more newsworthy when Olson doesn’t homer than when he does.

He’s crammed 24 homers into just 57 games this season. Taking into account his first call-up last September, and Olson’s 24 homers over the first 68 games of his career are the second-most in the history of major league baseball over that span to open a career. The Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger also hit 24 and only the White Sox’s Jose Abreu, with 25, hit more over his first 68.

Olson’s 13 homers in September are the most by any rookie in major league history for the month, and there’s still eight games left in it. But Olson’s hot streak dates back to Aug. 27. He’s hit a major league-best 16 homers in 23 games since then.

Among rookies in A’s history, only Mark McGwire (49) in 1987 and Jose Canseco (33) in 1986 have hit more than Olson’s 24. But neither Bash Brother, nor any other player in Oakland history, ever hit 15 homers in a 21-game span as Olson recently did.

“It’s definitely an honor,” Olson said before Friday’s game. “I grew up with a Mark McGwire poster on my wall. It’s a little surreal.”

Who saw this coming?

Olson went 2-for-21 without a single RBI in his first taste of the bigs last September. Then he shuttled five times between Triple-A and the majors this season before getting called up once again Aug. 8 and being told he’d get a shot as the A’s regular first baseman with Yonder Alonso having been traded. The constant shuttling took its toll, though Olson never let on about that publicly to reporters.

“You could see (the frustration),” said Ryan Christenson, his manager at Triple-A. “When he walks in and you tell him ‘You’re getting sent up,’ and he’s like, ‘Well, how many days is it for this time?’ He wouldn’t voice it necessarily, but you could sense it.”

Olson, with help from Bush and others, made an adjustment coming into this season. He began holding his hands out farther away from his body to begin his swing. With his 6-foot-5 frame, Olson had found himself getting jammed inside. Then in trying to adjust to that, he couldn’t square up pitches on the outer half.

“Now, his hands are firing from where he wants them to,” Bush said. “He doesn’t have to fight. You want your hands to have a clean path. Now he can stay in there, stay behind the ball, let his hands work for him.”

Olson, a 23-year-old from Lilburn, Ga., takes this sudden burst of success — and attention — in stride.

“I’ve been hit with so many stats here in the past week, I can’t even keep track of who’s done what, and honestly what I’ve done,” he said. “I kind of try to ignore all that.”

That’s OK. Others are taking plenty of notice.

 

As Dodgers celebrate, Bochy turns eyes to franchise-altering talent

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As Dodgers celebrate, Bochy turns eyes to franchise-altering talent

LOS ANGELES — The Giants left their dugout quickly after Friday’s loss, escaping a celebration on the mound and a fireworks show in the sky. As Dodger Stadium shook with cheers, Bruce Bochy sat in the visiting clubhouse and smiled. He nodded at his laptop, which earlier had been used to pull up highlights of Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani. 

“He’s good,” Bochy said, laughing. “I absolutely would play him every day.”

Earlier in the week, when it became known that Bobby Evans and Jeremy Shelley were headed to Japan to scout Otani, Bochy said he couldn’t imagine a player pitching and then moving to the outfield between starts. What changed? 

Perhaps it was the tape Bochy saw. Otani throws 100 mph and hits homers with ease. Or perhaps it was the game he watched Friday. The Giants lost for the 94th time, with the big blow coming from a 22-year-old Dodgers star. Cody Bellinger’s blast was the difference in a 4-2 win, and the Giants don’t have a Bellinger, or anything close. Otani, 23, is a long shot for a team that very well could finish with the worst record in baseball. Still, he’s the kind of talent that could help pull the Giants closer in a hurry. He’s the  kind of talent they haven’t developed in years, and Bochy certainly sounded a bit wistful as he talked of the power Bellinger has put on display. 

“You call up a guy and he does that — that just doesn’t happen,” he said. “It’s a rare deal.”

The ninth inning of the Dodgers’ clincher reinforced that point for the Giants. They got a homer from Pablo Sandoval, but he’s playing only because Christian Arroyo — the Giants’ best prospect bet this year — is hurt. Ryder Jones, their 23-year-old prospect, struck out to end the night, dropping his average to .180. 

That set off a celebration for Bellinger and the Dodgers. They have won five straight NL West titles, with three of the last four clinched against the Giants. 

“Congrats to them,” Bochy said. “They’ve had a tremendous year across the board, and they’ve played great baseball. They brought some guys up that really did a great job for them. It’s well deserved.”

Bochy said it was not difficult to watch this one. The division has been wrapped up for months, with only a September slide keeping the Dodgers from clinching earlier. 

“We knew what we were facing here,” Bochy said. 

The Giants have two more against the Dodgers and then six more before a long winter. The Dodgers, on the other hand, will host an NLDS series here at Dodger Stadium. Both Bochy and starter Jeff Samardzija made the same observation, that the Dodgers will have a hard time cutting their deep roster down to 25 postseason players. 

That’s a nice problem to have. It’s a foreign one right now for the Giants, who have a serious talent gap and no clear solutions internally. It’s no wonder, then, that Bochy has all of a sudden become so intrigued by a wondrous talent overseas.