EXTRA BAGGS: Melky Cabrera returning to Kansas City?


EXTRA BAGGS: Melky Cabrera returning to Kansas City?


MIAMI Melky Cabrera prefers to use a translator in formalinterviews, and Emmanuel Burriss happened to be the bilingual teammate within aSpanish-English dictionarys length of him after Thursday nights victory.

So after Cabrera turned in another three-hit game, I proceeded to ask a fairlyinnocuous icebreaker: Have you felt really comfortable at the plateall year?

Oh, no, no, dont answer that! Burriss said. Let me. Iwill, I will. Ill answer it.

Burriss looked me in the eye.


Burriss was only slightly placated when Iagreed to tap Cabreras wooden locker.

You dont ask that! he said.

The answer is yes, of course. Yes to all of it. Yes toCabrera being the savior for a Giants offense that has dead production zones atthree or four infield positions every night. Yes to the trade with the KansasCity Royals looking so lopsided, Dayton Moore might never take another callfrom Brian Sabean. And yes to Cabrera returning to Kansas City to represent theGiants in the All-Star Game.

The Giants didnt have a four-RBI game from anyone allseason. Cabrera and Angel Pagan each drove in four in Thursdays 14-7 victory.

Cabrera leads the majors with 67 hits and 22 multi-hitgames. Hes on a pace for 241 hits, which would be the most by National Leagueplayer since Bill Terry for the 1930 New York Giants. (Terry, a Hall of Famer, had 254 hits that season.)

And then you think of that miraculous throw from left fieldin Milwaukee. And then you notice how Cabrera made an instant read to score thetying run from second base on Pagans jam-shot single in the fourthinning.

I just knew off the bat it was hit good and in the rightspot, Cabrera said, fielding a question that Burriss allowed him to answer. Ididnt need to hesitate at all.

Cabrera is hitting .361, and the most impressive part isthat his average isnt the most impressive part. Its amazing what happens whenyou mix talent, intelligence, instincts, focus and dedication.

Melkys just unbelievable, said Ryan Vogelsong, who justmight join Cabrera in Kansas City in July. Hes done nothing but impresseverybody in this locker room from the day he got here.

Still, there are 117 games on the schedule. Theres a reasonthe words on pace dont mean a lot in May. But the early returns, at least,would favor the notion that Cabreras 201-hit campaign for the Royals last yearwas no flash in the cooking implement of your choice.

Yes, its possible to sustain this pace. Ive seen it oncebefore, when I covered the Anaheim Angels in 2000. Darin Erstad hit .355 thatseason and finished with 240 hits, and the most marvelous part about it waswatching his daily routine. He took countless swings off a tee and in the cage.He stuck to a rigorous schedule. He never rested after a two-hit game, or athree-hit game, or a four-hit game. He was out there the very next day, doingeverything possible to stay sharp. And then hed spit out more hits with thatflat-bat swing of his.

Thats how teammates describe the relentless way Cabreragoes about his business, both in the cage and in the weight room.

Know this: The man travels with his personal medicine ball.

Every day I work hard and make sure I prepare myself totake good at-bats, Cabrera said. Its all about preparation, doing whatever Ican.

His routine does not include being overly chatty. ButCabrera offers peeks to his personality.

When asked what he thought of Sergio Romo copying hischinstrap beard, Cabrera didnt wait for the translation.

He looks better, he said, smiling.

The Giants didnt just score 14 runs against Anibal Sanchezand Co. They also looked smart doing it.

How about the discipline that Buster Posey showed in thesixth inning? He worked a count to 3-2, and when he got a breaking ball, hedidnt lunge at it. That's something he wasn't doing earlier this month, when the strikeouts were piling up in uncharacteristic fashion.

And how about Angel Pagan? Hes proving to be quite anasset as the No.5 hitter. When Posey walked to load the bases, Paganstiebreaking double drove in two runs.

You could argue the two most important moments in the game came with the bases loaded: Pagan's double in the sixth, and Vogelsong's getting Giancarlo Stanton to pop out in the fifth.

One more small thing I noticed, even if I forgot when it happened: With a hit-and-run on, Joaquin Arias found a way to foul off a pitch that was a footoutside. It didnt make a major difference in Thursdays outcome, but those arethe little things that add up over the long haul.

The Giants set season highs with 15 hits and four stolenbases. So the early returns on Marlins Park are favorable, no matter what an art critic would say about the home run fountain in center field.

Check out Romos before-and-after barbershop photos. Heposted them to his Twitter page.

I also happened to go for a haircut today near Little Havana. Theplace was called Manny Sosas. Sadly, the barber didnt look anything likeManny Mota or Sammy Sosa.

Tomorrow for lunch: Versailles, and arroz con pollo. With plaintains and then Cafe Cubano, of course.

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.