Bochy: 'Fair to say' Zito will be on playoff roster

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Bochy: 'Fair to say' Zito will be on playoff roster

SAN FRANCISCO The Giants will wait to make firm decisionsabout their playoff rotation. But manager Bruce Bochy answered one majorquestion amid throbbing heads Sunday morning, saying its a near certainty thatall five of his starting pitchers will be on the postseason roster.

Thats fair to say, said Bochy, adding that one of thefive starters would be used in relief. Thats the plan, for sure.

The most important aspect of that news: Barry Zito, who wasso obviously left off the playoff rosters in all three rounds two years ago,will be a part of the action this time.

It feels really good, said Zito, informed of Bochyscomments. Im not sure whats going to happen. Its tough to process thingswhen Im getting ready for the next game Thursday But the playoffs are themost fun part of the game because all bets are off. Its all about getting itdone in one game, and if things work out, you have another game. Youre goingup against the best teams, the best starters. Thats what its all about.

The Giants are 19-11 in Zitos starts this season. Theyveonly won more often behind Matt Cain (20-10) this season.

Cain is the presumptive No. 1 starter for an NL DivisionSeries against Cincinnati or Washington; Bochy said the opponent wouldnt have muchinfluence on how he aligns the rotation, but a bigger factor could be whetherthe Giants open at home or on the road. If they are the No. 3 seed, they would playthe first two games at AT&T Park before the series shifts east.

The guess here: Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum andthen some combination of Zito and Ryan Vogelsong in the No. 4 spot.

Theres still a chance the Giants could catch the Reds orNats in the victory column, but Bochy said he wouldnt wear out hisroster trying to improve the clubs playoff seeding. (In fact, the advantagewould be negligible; in a one-year quirk to the playoff schedule, thetop-seeded club wont know where its going until its opponent wins thesudden-death wild card game).

Bochy is running out a lineup Sunday that wouldnt be legalin a spring training split-squad, but he said he couldnt pass up the chance togive nearly all his regulars a full, 48-hour break when combined with Mondaysday off. Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro need the rest more than anyone, he said.Bochy thought about putting Buster Posey at first base but he and the cleanuphitter decided the rest would be more beneficial.

Bochy plans to put his regular lineup out there on Tuesdayagainst Arizona, when Tim Lincecum will take the mound. Bochy said the rotationwould continue in the normal order after that, with Cain and Zito.

The manager said he wanted to give extra rest to Lincecum,who was scratched from Sundays start and replaced with right-hander YusmeiroPetit. Its possible that Petit will make another start down the stretch as theGiants slot starters into a playoff order, Bochy added.

And what about Lincecums odd absence from the teams NLWest celebration Saturday night?

Bochy said its customary for the starting pitcher to leaveearly when he is on the mound for a day game the following day. Lincecum wascontacted and invited to return, but the traffic made it logistically tough,Bochy said. The manager said he should have contacted Lincecum earlier to lethim know that Petit would take his spot.

Still, it was more than odd that Lincecum left in theseventh inning, knowing the Giants were just nine outs away from clinching.

Lincecum was back at the ballpark Sunday morning to gothrough his usual routine, but the clubhouse closed before reporters could havea chance to speak with him.

Dodgers trade top pitching prospect to Rays for 2B Forsythe

Dodgers trade top pitching prospect to Rays for 2B Forsythe

The Dodgers' months-long search for a second baseman is over.

Los Angeles has acquired infielder Logan Forsythe from the Rays, the team announced Monday afternoon.

The Dodgers are sending top pitching prospect Jose De Leon to Tampa Bay.

In 127 games for the Rays in 2016, the 30-year-old Forsythe hit .264/.333/.444 with 24 doubles, 20 home runs and 52 RBI.

Forsythe is set to make $7 million in 2017 and has a team option worth $8.5 million or a $1 million buyout for 2018.

De Leon, 24, made his major league debut for the Dodgers during the 2016 season. In four starts, he posted a 6.35 ERA while striking out 15 batters in 17 innings. In 16 startts for Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2016, De Leon registered a 2.61 ERA and struck out 111 batters in just 86.1 innings.

A native of Puerto Rico, De Leon was recently ranked as the Dodgers' No. 3 prospect Baseball America.

For most of the offseason, the Dodgers had been linked to Twins second baseman Brian Dozier, but the two sides couldn't come together on a deal.

Spring training to be slightly shortened starting in 2018

Spring training to be slightly shortened starting in 2018

NEW YORK -- For everyone who thinks spring training is too long, help is on the way - a little, anyway.

Spring training will be shortened by two days starting in 2018, when new restrictions in Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement take effect on game times for regular-season getaway days.

The voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players will be 43 days before the major league opener instead of 45, according to a copy of the agreement obtained by The Associated Press. For other players, the date will be 38 days ahead instead of 40.

The change was tied to spreading each team's 162 regular-season games over 187 days, up from 183.

Players' association Assistant General Counsel Matt Nussbaum said the union's goal was to create more days off during the season "in a way that doesn't just chew up offseason days."

"We have heard for years and I'm sure we will continue to hear that spring training is too long, that guys are really ready to go well before opening day, but I think what the commissioner's office would tell you is that there are big challenges for the clubs in substantially shortening spring training because they have various commitments to put on a certain number of games," he said Monday.

Late arrival times ahead of regular-season series openers also were addressed.

Starting in 2018, the latest possible start time on getaway days when either team is traveling to a game in another city the next day or a home off day will be calculated by subtracting the time of the flight over 2½ hours from 7 p.m.

There are cutouts for Sunday night games broadcast by ESPN and games after June 1 at Texas' current home ballpark - where the Rangers avoid afternoons for much of the season because of the heat.

Another new rule for 2018 says no game in the original schedule may be set for before 5 p.m. when a team played the previous night in another city starting 7 p.m. or later. There are exceptions involving flights of 90 minutes or less for home openers and holiday weekends. Current cutouts are carried over for up to six exceptions each season at Chicago's Wrigley Field and rescheduled games involving flights of 90 minutes or less.

"We fully recognize that our players play a very demanding schedule, and we're always looking for ways to ease the burden on players while at the same time scheduling games at a convenient time for our fans to watch them," MLB Chief Legal Officer Dan Halem said.

Sunday night games on holiday weekends followed by afternoon games still seem likely to occur.

"We have contracts with various national broadcast partners that limit our ability to schedule day games in certain instances," Halem said.

Nussbaum said if the players had their way, there would be "a flat rule that says all getaway games are day games" but understand why that would cause difficulty for teams.

"There's still going to be some challenges in the schedule," he said, "but we think what we've done with these two prongs is pare back the most egregious of the travel."

As part of the agreement, one game in the major leagues may be scheduled each year on the Thursday after the All-Star Game starting in 2018.