EXTRA BAGGS: Pence, Aramis not likely for Giants

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EXTRA BAGGS: Pence, Aramis not likely for Giants

SAN FRANCISCO Giants GM Brian Sabean left no doubt whyMarco Scutaro was an important piece to add to the roster.

Its his versatility and experience, Sabean said Fridaynight. This is not to disparage players on our team, but you look at theDodgers bench and you look at our bench.

It wasnt a bench player who beat the Giants with a two-runhome run in the Dodgers 5-3, 10-inning victory Friday night. It was former NLbatting champ Hanley Ramirez, acquired from the Miami Marlins when the Dodgersagreed to take on the 30 million still owed to him.

But Sabean tempered expectations that the Giants would makea countermove.

Its not a real good year for us to match up on a biggerpiece, Sabean said. We found that out early, given the number of clubsinvolved, how our roster is situated, and how were constituted payroll-wise,too.

Yes, the payroll: It stands at roughly 130 million, andSabean said on KNBR earlier in the week that he is not getting feedback fromownership that hell get a line of credit to answer the Dodgers by absorbingsalary to take on a big-time hitter.

(The Rockies even kicked in a portion of the 2.2 millionowed to Scutaro in order to get a better player in Triple-A infielder CharlieCulberson.)

That means Aramis Ramirez and his backloaded contract-- 10 million next year, 16 million in 2014 -- probably wont leave Milwaukee for San Francisco. Ive also been told that anyconversations between the Giants and Phillies over outfielder Hunter Pence have not been initiated by Sabeans cabinet.

Yet the Giants will have new faces on the roster soon. Therecould be multiple moves on Saturday as Scutaro joins the roster. PabloSandoval, who wasnt available Friday night, still could go on the disabledlist with a strained left hamstring.

I wasnt going to use him tonight, Giants manager BruceBochy said. Hes making progress and well talk tomorrow. We may have anothermove tomorrow. We do have to make a call. We have to do whats right forPablo.

The Giants could activate Aubrey Huff as well to provide apower threat off the bench, perhaps creating room by demoting Justin Christianor Emmanuel Burriss, who would seem to be less mecessary on the roster now thatScutaro is able to back up at three infield positions.

The roster is in a state of flux, Sabean said.

Scutaro hasnt played third base since 2008 but Sabean saidhed be surprised if the 36-year-old couldnt handle the position.

This guy has been a starting player, Sabean said. This isnot going to threaten (Ryan) Theriot at all, but we do need depth. Hopefully thisis the first of a couple moves. Well see.

I asked Sabean if he sees the potential to acquire a powerthreat for the bench.

Right now Im not sure that exists, Sabean said. Maybesome will come available late. A lot is being bandied about that is not exactlyfactual.

This much is known: The Giants want more bullpen depth,especially from the right side. They might not want to part with the package ofprospects it would take to pry away controllable Cleveland Indians closer ChrisPerez, but perhaps this years version of Ramon Ramirez is lurking out there.

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The Scutaro trade was the news to follow in the postgameclubhouse, but Matt Cain did not brush aside a question about Hanley Ramirezsbody language as he circled the bases after his home run in the 10th.

Ramirez posed and watched his shot, then made the lo vistegesture something he carried with him from Miami in the direction of theDodgers dugout.

Yeah, Cain said. Thats something that definitely, guysnotice.

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What about the 3-2 pitch to Andre Ethier that Sergio Romodidnt get? (It came two pitches before Ramirezs home run, in case you werentwatching)

Yeah, I think he thought the pitch was there, Bochy saidof Romo. Its one of those pitches you hope you get and we didnt get it. Youput it behind you. He just made a pitch against the next hitter.

There were a few calls there and pitchers were a littlefrustrated. He was calling the same on both sides, I think.

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Nate Schierholtzs father, Vai, commented on Twitter thathed seen Dodgers starter Stephen Fife before. His younger son, Vai, got twohits against him while playing for Air Force against the University of Utah.

Its hard to imagine the younger Vai squared one up betterthan his big brother did in the fourth inning with two aboard. But Matt Kempmade the catch on the dead sprint at the wall. There arent many Matt Kemps inthe Mountain West Conference, Id imagine.

Giants spring training Day 10: Bochy on board with new rules

Giants spring training Day 10: Bochy on board with new rules

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — During his season managing Barry Bonds, Bruce Bochy watched the slugger get intentionally walked 43 times. 

“There were (managers) who had the (signal) up before he even got to the batter’s box,” Bochy said Wednesday. 

That’s part of the reason Bochy is completely on board with a new rule stating that managers only have to signal for an intentional walk. The elimination of the four pitches has been approved by MLB and the MLBPA, with the caveat that a manager can change his mind in the middle of the plate appearance. 

“I’m fine with it,” Bochy said. “I know a few pitchers are happy because they kind of have a thing about throwing (those pitches), not on our team, but last year it happened to us and we didn’t go. I’m fine with it.”

It’s rare that an intentional ball would go to the backstop, but the Giants experienced it last year against the Yankees. Dellin Betances threw wide as he tried to put Brandon Crawford on and Angel Pagan didn’t react quickly enough to score from third. 

Bochy met with league officials last week to go over some of the new rules and ideas, and he said he wants MLB to keep pushing to cut the time of games. 

“We talk about it so much but we really haven’t done a lot,” Bochy said. “I’m all for (limiting mound visits). I’m all for it, I am. It’s gotten more and more popular in the game. It used to be the catcher, and now it’s the catcher and infielders, and they go to the mound and come back and then the pitching coach goes out there.”

EXHIBITION SCHEDULE: Bochy said Madison Bumgarner is currently slated to start Friday’s Cactus League opener, with Matt Cain also throwing an inning. Ty Blach will start Saturday, Matt Moore and Tyler Beede will pitch Sunday, and Jeff Samardzija will start Monday. It’s possible that 18 or 20 different pitchers will take the mound over the first two days since almost all of them will be scheduled for just three outs. With the exception of Will Smith, every projected Giant should see the field this weekend. Hunter Pence is the only guy who has been held back at all, but his intercostal issue has cleared up. Pence put several on the left-field berm during BP on Wednesday.

“Hunter wants to (play Friday). He's ready to go,” Bochy said. “I’ll make that call tomorrow once I talk to the staff, but Hunter assured me he’s a full go with no limitations, and he really wants to play.”

PROSPECT WATCH: Bochy took the van over to the minor league facility to watch some of the projected Triple-A players take part in live BP. Jae-gyun Hwang hit a homer off Jose Dominguez during his session. 

“He’s a guy that rotates (well) and he’s got good power,” Bochy said. “He can go the other way. He’s got some bat control. He’s got a nice swing.”

Over on the main field, Gorkys Hernandez hit an impressive homer to left-center. 

ICYMI: From this morning, Smith is being held out of workouts. Reporters spoke to him in the afternoon and he said there’s no concern. Also, here’s a podcast with Derek Law and Josh Osich. Subscribe on iTunes if you haven’t … there’s a very popular Giant coming soon.

QUOTABLE: Smith missed time last season because he tore a knee ligament while taking his shoe off, so this spring’s speed bump is somewhat easier to take. He had a message for the trainers: “I said I’m going to sit down every day this spring,” when I take my shoes off.

MLB players’ union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

MLB players’ union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

NEW YORK -- There won't be any wild pitches on intentional walks this season.

The players' association has agreed to Major League Baseball's proposal to have intentional walks without pitches this year.

"It doesn't seem like that big of a deal. I know they're trying to cut out some of the fat. I'm OK with that," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.

While the union has resisted many of MLB's proposed innovations, such as raising the bottom of the strike zone, installing pitch clocks and limiting trips to the mound, players are willing to accept the intentional walk change.

"As part of a broader discussion with other moving pieces, the answer is yes," union head Tony Clark wrote Wednesday in an email to The Associated Press. "There are details, as part of that discussion, that are still being worked through, however."

The union's decision was first reported by ESPN .

"I'm OK with it. You signal. I don't think that's a big deal," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "For the most part, it's not changing the strategy, it's just kind of speeding things up. I'm good with it."

There were 932 intentional walks last year, including 600 in the National League, where batters are walked to bring the pitcher's slot to the plate.

"You don't want to get your pitcher out of a rhythm, and when you do the intentional walk, I think you can take a pitcher out of his rhythm," Girardi said. "I've often wondered why you don't bring in your shortstop and the pitcher stand at short. Let the shortstop walk him. They're used to playing catch more like that than a pitcher is."

Agreement with the union is required for playing rules changes unless MLB gives one year advance notice, in which case it can unilaterally make alterations. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope Tuesday that ongoing talks would lead to an agreement on other changes but also said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Some changes with video review can be made unilaterally, such as shortening the time to make a challenge.

"I know they were thinking about putting in a 30-second (limit) for managers to make a decision," Francona said. "I actually wish they would. I think it would hustle it up and if we can't tell in 30 seconds, maybe we shouldn't be doing it anyway."