EXTRA BAGGS: Cain draws familiar, friendly foe on Monday


EXTRA BAGGS: Cain draws familiar, friendly foe on Monday

SEATTLE Matt Cain didnt change anything in his routineafter his 125-pitch perfect game on Wednesday.

He still threw his normal bullpen and did his normal workbetween starts.

With a littleextra media attention, of course. Cain will read the top ten list on the LettermanShow. Itll be taped on Monday before he takes the mound at Anaheim.

Hey, if the guy can swing a golf club and throw a perfectgame three hours later, he can stand at wooden attention in front of a cameraand read off a teleprompter on the day he pitches.

Itll be an event when Cain takes the mound again, and itsonly fitting that he faces a friend and former minor league teammate.

Cains face lit up when I mentioned that hell oppose formerGiant Jerome Williams. At one time, Williams and Jesse Foppert were supposed tobe the Giants aces of the future. It didnt happen, but Cain finally broughtthe franchise out of the pitching doldrums. Boy, did he ever.

As you might recall, Williams was traded to the Cubs in May,2005, with David Aardsma for LaTroy Hawkins. Three months later, Cain made hismajor league debut. But Cain and Williams did play together in the minors for atime.

Cain told me he admires Williams for the way he perseveredthrough independent ball to make his way back to the big leagues. Anyone whosheard his story knows the personal tumult hes been through. I know I cant seea puka shell necklace without thinking of him.

Cain and Williams are linked in one other respect.

I got my first hit off him, Cain said, smiling.

Indeed he did. It was a seventh-inning double and itcame during Cains third big league start Sept. 9, 2005, at China Basin. Cain threwhis first career complete game that day -- Dan Ortmeiers single scored the tiebreakingrun -- to win 2-1 and pick up his second major league victory.

I dug up my game story from that day. This is what Williamshad to say:

I dont like that he got a hit off me, Williams said witha laugh. I told him when I was at Fresno, Just keep pitching like yourepitching and youll be successful for a long time.

Cain listened. And Williams was right.

One more crystal-ball comment from that night in 2005, courtesy of Cubs(and former Giants) manager Dusty Baker:

Outstanding ball game. Outstanding fastball. He located iton the outside when he needed to. We heard he had good stuff and they werentlying. Thats a special young man right there.

Tim Lincecum is a special case, too. But he and Cain aregoing in vastly different directions.

If youre looking for silver linings after Saturday nightsloss to the Mariners, consider this: Lincecum faced 22 batters. He hadthree-ball counts on just three of them.

Yes, the Mariners are a bad offensive team. And Lincecum hasa 6.19 ERA. No amount of bleeders or bad luck can explain that away.
BAGGARLY: Time to skip Lincecum's start?

Still, youd rather have Lincecum embracing positives andworking constructively to make changes instead of hitting the panic button. Byall accounts, hes staying upbeat.

The DH role didnt suite Pablo Sandoval well Saturday night.Even by his free-swinging standards, he was chasing pitches with all the ferocity of WalterWhite swatting at flies in his laboratory.

It stands to reason that Sandoval could be more overanxiouswhen hes not in the flow of the game as the third baseman. I wonder if wellsee him DH again. Im betting no.

Its true, Joaquin Arias couldnt make a backhand play on akey ball in the sixth inning. Maybe Sandoval is able to pick it and beat therunner to third base. Well never know.

The consensus I get from scouts is that Arias has playedbetter defense at third base than Sandoval did in April. Its not that Sandovalis an inferior defender. Its just that he has to prove himself to managementagain. Hes always been a player who responds to a challenge. The Giants arecounting on him to respond this time, and I think he will.

Left-hander Dan Runzler (strained lat) pitched a scorelessinning Saturday while making his third rehab appearance for Single-A San Josein a 3-2 victory over Modesto.

The Giants finished the first half with a 38-32 record andin second place in the Cal Leagues North Division. Unbelievably, this is thefirst time since 2004 that San Jose did not win the first-half title.

Giants spring training Day 40: Belt continues domination of Rockies' home park

Giants spring training Day 40: Belt continues domination of Rockies' home park

BELT RIVER FIELDS, Ariz. — Earlier this spring, Brandon Belt moved his schedule around so he could get additional at-bats. That led to some random trips across the desert, but there was never any doubt Belt would be in Friday’s road lineup.

Belt demolishes the ball at Salt River Fields, spring home of the Rockies and Diamondbacks. After coming out of Friday’s win, he shook his head in mock disgust when talking about the day’s stats.

“One for four, you’ve gotta be kidding me,” Belt said. “That’s terrible.”

That one happened to be a homer, a three-run shot off Jon Gray, the likely opening day starter for the Rockies. Belt thought he crushed the ball but it ended up pretty high, so it simply dropped onto the berm in right. 

“It squeaked out,” Belt said. “Good mojo, I guess.”

The mojo kept his remarkable run going at Salt River. His updated career stats here: 22 for 35, with eight homers, four doubles, one triple and 18 RBI. Belt said he’s not quite sure why he turns into the flames emoji every time he steps onto this field. 

“I don’t know what it is, but I like hitting here,” he said. “Maybe it’s the batter’s eye?”

Salt River has a dark green batter’s eye with no distractions on either side, and the Giants certainly saw the ball well Friday. They had seven straight hits in the third before Gray was pulled with a sore foot. Belt hit second, and manager Bruce Bochy said that wasn’t simply because Joe Panik had the day off. Bochy will look at several different lineup permutations over the next week, and a Span/Belt/Pence/Posey/Crawford one-through-five is one option. 

“I like (that spot) a lot,” Belt said. “I feel good getting started and knowing I’ll get to bat in the first inning. It’s a good spot. I don’t think my approach changes that much: Get a pitch to hit and try to hit it hard.”

GAME RECAP: Jeff Samardzija was sharp in four innings, allowing just two hits and striking out three. He threw about 45 pitches on the field and then went down to the bullpen for 45 more. Samardzija certainly benefited from having Buster Posey back in the lineup. He said Posey noticed during warmups that Samardzija’s delivery was a little flat and his arm was dragging too low. 

“That doesn’t happen often,” Samardzija said of having a guy like Posey back there. “You have a lot of catchers who are afraid to say something.”

The rest of this one was a laugher until the ninth, when the Rockies rallied and brought the winning run to the plate. It hasn’t been a great spring for the bullpen.

STOCK WATCH: Chris Marrero hit a deep homer, his seventh of the spring. He also made a nice pick at first, where he looks much more comfortable. At this point, it appears it’s either Marrero or Kelby Tomlinson for that final bench spot.

TRAINER’S ROOM: The news on Will Smith was as expected. He will have Tommy John surgery next week. 

There is good news for Trevor Brown: The catcher, who has a sore ankle, took some swings and he’s feeling much better. Brown did not, as first reported, get hurt hiking on an off day. It happened during a game. Brown won’t be ready in time to return to Cactus League action, so he’ll likely stay here during the Bay Bridge Series and then travel home with Triple-A Sacramento. 

ICYMI: Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey and Mark Melancon are back in camp. Here’s a story on Posey’s WBC experience, with the catcher saying he’d like to play again in four years. Here’s Crawford on his month, which ended with him giving an NL West rival a slump-busting bat. 

ROSTER UPDATE: The Giants released David Hernandez, at his request. They have started to tell others that they’re not making the opening day roster, so there should be a series of minor transactions this weekend. (You know where to go.)

QUOTABLE: "I swung at a heater and a slider went right into my bat. I was happy to be able to track (pitches), and happy that the next time the bunt didn't go off my beautiful face." -- Samardzija, when asked about his double off the wall. 

Plenty of high-profile MLB players wearing new uniforms in 2017

Plenty of high-profile MLB players wearing new uniforms in 2017

Chris Sale traded socks (AP) -- or Sox - from white to red. Edwin Encarnacion took his big bat to Cleveland. Aroldis Chapman returned to the Bronx.

Plenty of All-Stars, Cy Young winners and MVPs are wearing new uniforms this season.

The biggest move occurred when the Boston Red Sox acquired Sale from the Chicago White Sox. The five-time All-Star left-hander left a team that hasn't reached the playoffs since 2008 for one that's won three World Series titles since 2004.

Encarnacion left Toronto for the team that beat the Blue Jays in last year's ALCS. He averaged 39 homers and 110 RBIs over the past five seasons in Toronto and gives the Indians a major boost.

Chapman is back in New York after spending the first half of last season with the Yankees before he was traded to the Chicago Cubs and helped them win the World Series.

Here's a 25-man roster of familiar faces in different places this season:


1. CF: Dexter Fowler. Jumped from World Series champion Cubs to rival St. Louis. Gives the Cardinals stability atop the batting order.

2. RF: Adam Eaton. Traded from White Sox to defending NL East champion Nationals. He'll play center field in Washington between Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper.

3. DH: Kendrys Morales. Joined Blue Jays to help fill Encarnacion's void after spending past two seasons with the Royals.

4. 1B: Encarnacion.

5. C: Brian McCann. Traded from Yankees to Astros, giving Houston's stacked lineup another slugger.

6. SS: Ian Desmond. Returns to NL to join Rockies after one season playing outfield in Texas. He'll play first base for Colorado, but he's back at shortstop on this squad.

7. LF: Matt Holliday. Signed with Yankees following 7 1/2 seasons in St. Louis. The seven-time All-Star will likely DH in New York though he'll see some action in left field.

8. 2B: Brandon Phillips. Waived no-trade clause to go to rebuilding Braves after 11 seasons with Reds.

9. 3B: Howie Kendrick. Comes east after spending his entire career in Los Angeles - nine seasons with Angels and last two with Dodgers. Kendrick is playing left field for Philadelphia but he starts at third to fill this lineup.


1B: Chris Carter. Landed with Yankees after swatting 41 homers for Milwaukee last season to tie for NL lead.

INF: Jimmy Rollins. Former NL MVP is trying to land a roster spot with San Francisco as a utility man after playing all but one-third inning of his 17-year career at shortstop. Has bounced from Dodgers to White Sox to Giants after 15 seasons in Philadelphia.

OF: Michael Saunders. All-Star for Blue Jays last season and will start in right field for Phillies.

OF: Carlos Beltran. Returns to Houston after spending half the 2004 season with the Astros and hitting eight postseason homers for them.

C: Matt Wieters. Left Baltimore for Washington to replace All-Star Wilson Ramos, who joined Tampa Bay and is still recovering from knee surgery.



Edinson Volquez. Goes from Royals to Marlins.

Jaime Garcia. Lefty joins Braves after eight seasons in St. Louis.

Jered Weaver. Stays in California, switching to Padres after 11 seasons with Angels.

R.A. Dickey. Knuckleballer returns to NL East after four seasons in Toronto. One of two 40-plus former Cy Young award winners signed by Braves.


Bartolo Colon. Other veteran Braves signed to bolster rotation. He'll be long man on this staff.



Mark Melancon. Signed with Giants after finishing last season in Washington.

Sergio Romo. Went from San Francisco to rival Dodgers.

Wade Davis. Traded from Royals to Cubs to replace Chapman.

Santiago Casilla. Stays in Bay Area, going from Giants to A's.