Bumgarner experiments with new slider grip in rough start

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Bumgarner experiments with new slider grip in rough start

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Madison Bumgarner allowed three runs onseven hits in his longest outing of the spring -- four innings -- in a 5-4 Giants loss tothe Chicago Cubs Tuesday at Scottsdale Stadium.

RECAP: Giants lose to Cubs 5-4
Coming off three shutout innings in his last start Thursday in Peoria againstthe Padres, Bumgarner blamed his regression on falling behind many of the Cubshitters.I got behind and had to give in a little bit, Bumgarnersaid. They hit the balls they should hit. They hit some good pitches, too, butmostly just working behind a lot is what got me.Despite struggling with location, Bumgarner had his strikeout pitches workingas he racked up four, bringing his Cactus League total to 13 in 9.2 innings.

Im just trying to get ready for the season, Bumgarnersaid. Today I experimented on a little different slider grip and it was okay.There was some really good ones and some really bad ones, too. When asked if he would stick with the new grip on his slider, Bumgarner wasnon-committal.Im going to keep working with it, he said. I dont know well see how itgoes.Bumgarner wasnt concerned about the rough outing.Thats what spring is about, just practicing and gettingready for the season.Bumgarners regular season preparation extended to the plate, where he had hisfirst at-bat of the spring, a five-pitch strikeout in which the bat never lefthis shoulder.I dont know if it felt good, but it was nice to see somepitches, he said. A little different than the coaches throwing to us.Manager Bruce Bochy and his catcher Buster Posey agreed withBumgarners assessment that he was in the strike zone often Tuesday.He probably threw too many strikes, Bochy said. He was a little wild in thestrike zone. But his stuff wasgood, he just made a few too many mistakes today. Hes been throwing the ballwell, he just left some balls up out over the plate today. Said Posey: I thought he threw the ball pretty well, he just left a fewpitches out over the plate. But all in all I thought he looked pretty good.

Former top prospect Andy Marte dies from car accident in Dominican Republic

Former top prospect Andy Marte dies from car accident in Dominican Republic

Former major leaguer Andy Marte died early Sunday from a traffic accident in his native Dominican Republic.

Metropolitan traffic authorities say Marte died when the Mercedes Benz he was driving hit a house along a road between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.

Marte, a 33-year-old infielder, played for several Major League teams, including Atlanta, Cleveland and Arizona, and was most recently playing in the Korean league.

Marte was playing in the Dominican winter league with the Aguilas Cibaenas team.

"We have awoken this Sunday with this sad news that we have lost a special being," club president Winston Llenas said in a statement about Marte.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Santiago Casilla says he never received offer from Giants

Santiago Casilla says he never received offer from Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — Over the final month of his time with the Giants, it became clear that Santiago Casilla and the team would part ways. On Friday, Casilla confirmed that he never had the opportunity to return. 

On a conference call to announce a two-year deal with the Oakland A’s, Casilla said he “would have been happy to return to the Giants, but I never got an offer from them. I understood.”

Casilla said he had several opportunities to go elsewhere and close, mentioning the Milwaukee Brewers as one interested team. Casilla signed a two-year, $11 million deal with the A’s, who likely won’t need him to pitch in the ninth. The Brewers went on to bring in Neftali Feliz for one year and $5.35 million; he is expected to close. 

“I preferred to return to the Athletics because that’s where my career started,” Casilla said through interpreter Manolo Hernández Douen. “And I’m very excited.”

Casilla spent the first six years of his career with the A’s before crossing the bridge and becoming a key figure in three title runs. In seven seasons in San Francisco, he posted a 2.42 ERA and saved 123 games. Casilla had a 0.92 ERA in the postseason, but he was stripped of a prominent role in the weeks leading up to the 2016 playoffs. 

Casilla, 36, blew nine saves before being pulled from the ninth inning. He appeared just three times in the final 14 regular season games and just once in the playoffs. He did not take the mound in Game 4 of the NLDS, watching as five other relievers teamed up to give back a three-run lead. 

That moment stung Casilla, and it affected Bruce Bochy, too. The Giants struck quickly in December to bring Mark Melancon in as their new closer, but at the Winter Meetings, Bochy said he would welcome Casilla back in a setup role. 

“He’s a great team player (and) teammate,” Bochy said. “(I) certainly wouldn’t rule it out because he still has great stuff. And he had some hiccups there in that closing role, but I would take him anytime.”

As it turned out, that opportunity was never there for Casilla. The Giants didn’t make another move after the big deal with Melancon, and they’ll rely on younger arms to record most of the outs in the seventh and eighth. Casilla said he’s not bitter about the way it all ended. 

“I have left that in the past,” he said. “It’s a new year, it’s a new year. I have left this in the past.”