Bumgarner struggles, Giants lose to Cubs 5-4

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Bumgarner struggles, Giants lose to Cubs 5-4

SCOTTSDALE -- The sizzle of Carlos Zambrano finally fizzled in Chicago, and that caused the Cubs to try to find another starting pitcher.Enter Chris Volstad, acquired in a trade with the Miami Marlins in January for the more temperamental right-hander.Volstad describes himself as a laid-back guy who digs time on the beach back home in Florida and likes to dig his cleats into the mound and let the ball fly. From early indications this spring, the 6-foot-8 Volstad is fitting in nicely with the Cubs.On Tuesday, for the second time in as many spring starts, Volstad pitched three shutout innings and started a two-run inning by leading off the third with a single. The Cubs went on to hold off the San Francisco Giants 5-4."I felt good out there," Volstad said. "I was able to attack down in the zone, pound the strike zone, get ahead of guys and to let the sinker work for me."Told that his demeanor appears to be the opposite of the man for whom he was traded, Volstad said, "Yeah, that's what I hear. I still can get upset if things don't go my way. When that happens, you still have to make pitches and move on as best you can."RELATED: Posey hitless through three gamesThe 25-year-old Volstad pitched a combined 499 2-3 innings over the last three seasons, going 26-35. He is working on refining a four-seam fastball with new Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio and appears to be satisfied with his progress."Just continue to work and locate my pitches," Volstad said. "The infield did a great job for me today. If you can throw a quality pitch and get a ground ball, that's what you want."Another new Cubs player, right fielder David DeJesus, did a good job with the bat and his arm.DeJesus, who signed with Chicago as a free agent after spending the 2011 season with Oakland, doubled in the third to send Volstad to third, setting up a run-scoring groundout by Darwin Barney and an RBI single by Starlin Castro.In the second, DeJesus hustled over toward the corner to retrieve the ball, spun and threw to second, holding Ryan Theriot to a single.The Giants' pitching was not as effective. Left-hander Madison Bumgarner started and was inconsistent, giving up three runs on seven hits in four innings. Setup man Sergio Romo gave up a two-run homer to Anthony Rizzo in the seventh.EXTRAS: Plans for Posey, Wilson; spring roster whittled down
The Giants scored three times in the eighth and had the tying run at third with two outs in the ninth, but right-hander Alberto Cabrera got Gregor Blanco to fly out to end it."(Bumgarner) has been throwing the ball well, but he was a bit wild in the strike zone today, made too many mistakes," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.Bochy was a bit more upbeat when talking about center fielder Angel Pagan, who is expected to be the Giants' leadoff man after being acquired in a trade with the New York Mets for center fielder Andres Torres and reliever Ramon Ramirez.Pagan had a double and triple and drove in a run, and made a tumbling catch in left-center to rob Steve Clevenger of a hit in the second inning."He had a great game, swung the bat well. That's why he's the leadoff hitter. He can put the pressure on opposing teams," Bochy said.Bochy said Pagan likely would not play over the next few days as he recovers from surgery to remove a wisdom tooth.NOTES: Giants C Buster Posey caught four innings and likely will increase that six starting next week, Bochy said. Posey, with just five at-bats, is expected to be the DH against Cleveland on Wednesday. Bochy wants to get him about 50 at-bats by the end of the spring . ... Brandon Belt played right field against the Cubs, but Bochy said he likely would also try him in left, with Melky Cabrera moving to right.

Former Giants OF Gregor Blanco agrees to deal with NL West rival

Former Giants OF Gregor Blanco agrees to deal with NL West rival

After five seasons with the Giants, outfielder Gregor Blanco has a new home.

The veteran outfielder has agreed to a minor league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to his agent Wilfredo Polidor.

The deal includes an invitation to spring training.

The deal includes a $1 million base salary if Blanco makes the major league roster, according to SB Nation's Chris Cotillo. Blanco has a chance to earn an addition $2.7 million in performance-based incentives and has an opt-out of April 1 in the deal.

Shortly after Polidor made the announcement, Blanco thanked the D'backs on Twitter for the bringing him to the organization.

"Thanks to the @Dbacks for let me part of a dream the same dream I got another ring another championship let's all dream together we can doit," Blanco wrote.

Blanco bounced around from Braves to the Royals from 2008 to 2010, but found a home with the Giants prior to the 2012 season.

Over five seasons with the Giants, Blanco appeared in 649 games. He hit .259/.338/.360 with 244 runs scored, 78 doubles, 24 triples, 19 home runs, 157 RBI and 75 stolen bases.

President Obama pardons Giants legend Willie McCovey

President Obama pardons Giants legend Willie McCovey

President Barack Obama pardoned Giants Hall of Famer Willie McCovey on Tuesday.

McCovey, along with Dodgers Hall of Fame outfielder Duke Snider, pleaded guilty to tax fraud in July of 1995. The crime came from not reporting income McCovey earned from signing autographs and appearing at sports memorabilia shows. 

McCovey previously pleaded guilty to not listing $70,000 he made from 1988-90, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Through the Giants, McCovey said: "I want to express my sincere gratitude to President Obama not only for this kind gesture on my behalf, but also for his tireless service to all Americans. He will be deeply missed and I wish him all the best in the future."

The 79-year-old McCovey was one of 64 people who received pardons from President Obama Tuesday as his final days in office wind down.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.