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."

Despite loss, Sharks 'in a good spot' headed into bye week

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USATSI

Despite loss, Sharks 'in a good spot' headed into bye week

SAN JOSE – Despite what was technically their sixth loss in the last eight games, the Sharks seemed to put more stock in the point they gained in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Bruins on Sunday night at SAP Center, rather than the one they left on the table.

They have that luxury. 

The Sharks will enter their bye week five points ahead of Edmonton and Anaheim for first place in the Pacific Division, and figure they’re due for some time off after a short summer followed by a World Cup for some, and a brutal condensed NHL schedule for all.

“[We’ve] showed up and played hard,” Joe Pavelski said. “We’ve been in a lot of games. Games we’ve lost, we’ve battled. There hasn’t been any cheat in [our] game. Defensively, we’ve been strong. There’s a lot of good areas in our game that we like right now.”

Playing in the second of a back-to-back against a Bruins team had was coming off of its own bye week, the Sharks fell behind 1-0 on a first period goal by Ryan Spooner, but notched a Patrick Marleau equalizer in a second period in which they outshot the Bruins 16-9. An evenly played third period gave way to overtime, where Brad Marchand scored on a breakaway to give the Bruins their fourth straight win since changing head coaches.

The Sharks spoke before the weekend about finishing the final two games strong before the respite. They ended up gaining three of four points, including Saturday’s 4-1 win in Arizona, and were pleased with their effort against the Bruins as they capped off 10 games in 20 days since the All-Star break.

“It was an important push into this break,” Pete DeBoer said. “To go in up [five points] on the next closest team is a real testament to our group.”

Paul Martin said: “I thought we played pretty well, considering the back-to-back with some travel, and a team that was waiting for us.”

Perhaps the most encouraging performance came from Martin Jones, who was one of a number of Sharks players that was looking particularly fatigued lately. The goaltender entered the game with a 1-0-2 record, 4.46 goals-against average and .837 save percentage in his last four starts, including getting pulled after the first period in Boston just 10 days ago.

Jones was impressive, though, making a vital pad stop on the dangerous David Pastrnak in front of the net midway through the third period to keep it a 1-1 score.

“It was a good game. Two teams playing hard,” Jones said. “We can take a lot of positives from that one. It was a good hard game, just didn’t go our way tonight.”

Overtimes have been an issue lately, though. The Sharks have lost their last four games decided during the three-on-three, all coming within the last two weeks. As satisfied as they are with their cushion in the division, it could have been cushier.

Against the Bruins, Tuukka Rask denied Brent Burns on a two-on-one in overtime, and Marchand scored off of the ensuing faceoff, blowing the zone past Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic and corralling a long toss from Torey Krug before sliding it home.

“We get to overtime, shootouts – we expect to get that extra point,” Pavelski said. “We haven’t found it lately. We’ll just keep looking for it.”

DeBoer said: “The points are critical, they’re valuable. I don’t read a lot into [overtime decisions], we’ve won our share over the time I’ve been here. We had a chance to win tonight, too. … I concentrate on the effort, and I thought we got better as the game went on.”

Being focused and energized, as they have been most of the season to this point, shouldn’t be a problem when the season resumes next Saturday in Vancouver. The Sharks are in prime position to win their first division title since 2010-11, and a return trip to the Stanley Cup Final is a distinct possibility.

Losing six of eight won’t be nearly as acceptable coming out of the break as it apparently is going into it, but that’s not something to worry about now, even after another defeat. 

“There are some games you wish you could get back and get those points, but we’re still in a good spot,” Marleau said.

Trading Cousins is the ultimate Kingstastic move

Trading Cousins is the ultimate Kingstastic move

There was a lot of complaining about the lack of defense in this year’s All-Star Game, as though last year’s All-Star Game didn’t happen.

But the Most Valuable Player, which was putatively Anthony Davis for scoring a record 52 points in front of his home crowd, was actually the man with the fewest minutes of all.

Yes, the man, the god, The DeMarcus Cousins. The Very Definition Of A Sacramento King, By Becoming An Ex-Sacramento King.

Cousins, now the second-best player on the New Orleans Pelicans, played only two minutes Sunday, the lowest total by any All-Star since Connie Hawkins in 1971, ostensibly because he told head coach Steve Kerr he was a little ouchy, but more likely because the Kings were frantically trying to trade him and didn’t want him hurting himself in a game with even no contact whatsoever.

Not during the All-Star Break, mind you. DURING THE ALL-STAR GAME ITSELF! Adam Silver must have been vomiting hedgehogs into a bucket at the very thought.

As it turns out, the Kings, who have sworn up and down that they would never consider trading Cousins, did that very thing, closing a deal to send Cousins and forward Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans for a first and second-round pick in the upcoming draft, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway (who is likely to be waived in true Kings fashion) and 2016 first-rounder Buddy Hield.

You remember Buddy Hield. He’s the guy who clocked Cousins in the joy division going around a Cousins pick during the last Pelicans-Kings game, and got tossed for doing so.

In other words, the Kings prefer the guy who punched their best player in the goolies to their best player. This is so Kingsy.

But on the back end, Cousins’ agent, Jarinn Akana, said Cousins is disinclined to sign a long-term contract with his next team, making him a rental who could some day return to Sacramento in a Groundhog's Day remake that would cause the Oroville Dam to get up and walk off the job.

This too is so Kingsy.

This is the greatness of the Kings. They blew up the All-Star weekend during the game itself. They blew it up trying to get rid of their best player when they are within fighting distance of their first playoff spot in 11 years. They blew it up after saying they weren’t considering trading the dynamite at all.

Kingsy, Kingsy, Kingsy. It’s Kingstastic!

And the best part of it all is that the trade leaves everyone deflated and confused and ultimately angry, while the Kings undervalued their only marketable player to invest in a future they have mocked for decades.

You know what we;’re talking about. Gimme a K! Gimme an I! Gimme an N-G-S, throw an extraneous Y on the end of it what does it spell?

Yeah. Right.

It’s remarkable thing, being a King. While we have all amused ourselves with the machinations of the thick-as-two-short-planks New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony, the Kings have been Kinging this way for most of the last 35 years.

And now, they have decided to feed their obsession with the Golden State Warriors by running even further away from them, by tossing their only bargaining chip for a future player or players that they typically ruin, and Buddy Hield, who just found out that even at these prices life can still be cruel.

Give them their due, though. The Kings could win the NBA title and hock the trophy. They could be invited to the White House when the President is off playing golf. They could increase their Forbes valuation to $5 billion and declare bankruptcy.

Because they are the Kings, and that sentence has rarely meant more than it does now.

Not because they traded Cousins. Trades happen all the time. Wilt Chamberlain got traded twice.

But the Kings handled this with all the skill of a pickpocket with feet where his hands should be. They lied unconvincingly. They talked hard business and ended up with a nebulous deal that guarantees nothing except more speculation come summer. And they have nothing else to trade between now and . . . well, whenever they stopped being so damned Kingsy.

For New Orleans, it is a roll of the dice, an attempt to make the playoffs with a two-headed monster in Cousins and Davis. It may be too much to giver, but without knowing how the Kings will screw up those picks, it remains speculative at best.

Indeed, this is subtraction by subtraction, the standard Kings deal. And whatever the Kings have gained in this trade (hey, you never know), we remain safe in saying that they did it in such a Kingsy way that they may never top this.

Until the next time they do anything at all. Never doubt the power of Kingsiness.