Giants

Bumgarner to be Giants' No.2 starter?

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Bumgarner to be Giants' No.2 starter?

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Tim Lincecum is scheduled to pitch aninning in the Giants first Cactus League game Saturday, and hell take thebaseball April 6 for what would be his fourth opening-day assignment.Not much of a surprise, right? Well, how about Madison Bumgarnerin the No.2 slot?Manager BruceBochy said Bumgarner would start one game in Sundays exhibition split squadand the staff has talked about slotting the 22-year-old left-hander in a primeposition to start the season in between Lincecum and Matt Cain.
Thats a possibility, Bochy said of Bumgarner, whoselocation has been pinpoint in two sessions against hitters.Its a vote of confidence in Bumgarner but also a signalthat the coaching staff is concerned about Ryan Vogelsong, whose strained lowerback has prevented him from ascending a mound. If left-hander Eric Surkamp mustreplace Vogelsong in the rotation, the Giants would begin the season with threesouthpaws in the Nos. 3-5 spots. Moving up Bumgarner in front of Cain couldsplit up that group.Bochy has given enough thought to that possibility that hemet with Cain on Wednesday to explain the situation.Cain is scheduled to pitch an exhibition on Monday withBarry Zito backing him up.Well see how it goes with Vogelsong, Bochy said. Knockon wood, itll go well. We dont think its something well need to do. Butif he has a hiccup or we dont think hes quite ready, thats a way we couldgo.The Giants dont believe Buster Posey is ready for a bigtest in Saturdays exhibition opener. Bochy said Posey more than likely wontcatch, but later said its possible the cleanup hitter could get one inningbehind the plate. The Giants and Diamondbacks cold agree to employ a DH, whichis a common practice for NL clubs early in the spring.Lincecum didnt pitch on Wednesday, which would be hisnormal day to throw batting practice. Instead, hell throw off a bullpen moundon Thursday as the Giants continue to take extra precautions because of thelower back tightness that set him back earlier this spring.But opening day is Lincecums assignment. Thats fair tosay, Bochy intoned.Surkamp, Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo and Guillermo Mota areother pitchers on the list to follow Lincecum when the Giants play host to theArizona Diamondbacks.Bumgarner will start for Sundays split-squad against theMilwaukee Brewers at Maryvale. Brian Burres will start for the other squadagainst Arizona at Salt River Fields.Bumgarner still ranks as the youngest pitcher in camp, butit didnt quicken his pulse to hear he could pitch on the day between Lincecumand Cain.Ill be excited first, third, fifth, wherever, he said,pulling on a pair of cowboy boots. Its just fun to pitch any doesntmatter.So not a big deal?Definitely not, he said.Bumgarner puts more stock into the way hes throwing thisspring. His fastball is popping and his location might be the best of anypitcher in camp.I feel really good, he said. Ahead of schedule. Its beenbetter than usual and I definitely feel good with where Im at.

Magic Johnson vows World Series win for Dodgers this year

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USATSI

Magic Johnson vows World Series win for Dodgers this year

The Los Angeles Dodgers are 71-31 ahead of a three-game home series with the San Francisco Giants, and owners the best record in baseball. 

[MLB STANDINGS]

Confident co-owner Magic Johnson on Thursday made a bold statement.

"Last but not least, the Dodgers are going to win the World Series this year," he said while standing next to Clayton Kershaw and addressing a group at Dodgers Stadium during a "Ping Pong 4 Purpose — Kershaw's Challenge" event.

"That's the only ring I don't have and I need that ring."

The Dodgers have been eliminated from the playoffs in each of the past four seasons -- twice in the NLDS and twice in the NLCS. They haven't reached the World Series since defeating the A's in 1988.

"And last but not least, the @dodgers are going to win the World Series this year." #pingpong4purpose #dodgers #dodgersradio

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Familiar faces trying to find success, health with Giants' Triple-A affiliate

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AP

Familiar faces trying to find success, health with Giants' Triple-A affiliate

SACRAMENTO -- A young man named Clayton Blackburn walked into the home clubhouse at Raley Field on Tuesday decked out in Round Rock gear. 

"You're here for my start?" he said, smiling.

Sorry, Clayton, I was on Panda Watch for two days. But it was fun watching Blackburn, DFA’d in a weird move earlier this year, face former teammates. Blackburn hasn't had a great season with Texas, but he is still just 24 and he has gotten into terrific shape. Given what happened during his call-up last year, you should root for him to get a second chance. 

Blackburn gave up three runs over six innings against his former team. The River Cats won on Jarrett Parker’s walk-off homer to dead center with two outs in the ninth. Parker was one of many familiar faces in the lineup Tuesday. Here are some thoughts on guys you know, and guys you will: 

--- Trevor Brown is the backup catcher in Sacramento, which is certainly a fall from his run as Buster Posey's backup. Brown is batting .168 in what has been a very frustrating season for him. The groin injury that slowed him early lingered, he had a concussion, and he hasn't been able to find any BABIP luck. This year seems a lost one for a guy who was a big part of 2016. I’m still intrigued by his versatility.

--- Chris Shaw is the latest podcast guest. You can stream it here. We talked about his power, his move to left, thinking he was a Ray, and more. I didn't see many at-bats, but I saw enough in left field to be confident he'll be fine out there. 

--- Parker started in center field and made a nice running catch at the wall. He wouldn't hold up as a big league center fielder, but perhaps the Giants should throw him out there a few times down the stretch to see if he can be a backup option next season. Parker said he finally found his swing over the past few games. His rehab assignment ends in about a week, and he’s expected back in San Francisco. 

--- Reyes Moronta, who spent a day in the majors in May, was promoted to Triple-A. In his first inning, Drew Stubbs took him deep. I found that quirky. It's been a long season with far too many transactions. 

--- If Steven Duggar would stay healthy, he would probably make it up to SF in September. Unfortunately, his hamstring was tight again this week, keeping him out of San Jose’s lineup for a few days. Speaking of health: Tyler Beede’s groin injury will keep him out longer than just the standard DL time … Melvin Upton Jr. is still in Sacramento rehabbing a shoulder injury, but he’s not throwing yet so it’s hard to picture him making any noise before September call-up time …Christian Arroyo is in Arizona rehabbing from hand surgery. 

--- Derek Law was smiling because Derek Law is always smiling. He has a 4.32 ERA but said he feels much better than those results. “My slider is back,” Law said. He should be, too, when the Giants expand their roster. There are some other interesting relievers in Sacramento. A first baseman told me opposing hitters grumble about facing D.J. Snelten (1.84 ERA) and Tyler Rogers has a 1.94 ERA as a dirt-scraping right-hander. 

--- A teammate predicted Carlos Moncrief would hit .270 in the big leagues if called up, and he ended up getting that call Wednesday morning. Moncrief is a fun clubhouse addition. He gave Sandoval some good-natured heckling for talking to reporters after going 1 for 4. 

--- The Giants have had a lot of veterans visit San Jose this season. They all bought the postgame spread, but word around the block is that Madison Bumgarner provided the best meal. He had steak and lobster delivered to San Jose Muni.