EXTRAS: Pagan snaps slump, Bochy on OF situation


EXTRAS: Pagan snaps slump, Bochy on OF situation

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Angel Pagan, acquired for fan-favoriteAndres Torres and reliever Ramon Ramirez in an offseason trade with the Mets,came into Tuesdays game just 5-for-22.After a 2-for-4 day against the Chicago Cubs, including a double and a triple,Pagan upped his spring average to .269 and flashed his speed and glovework incenter all afternoon.Today was a good day, Pagan said. Now I just have to workon consistency.In the top of the second inning, Pagan dove to rob the Cubs Steve Clevenger ofa base hit in the left-center field gap with a runner on second base.Madison Bumgarner, who was struggling in the inning, was appreciative.It looked like he was gaining on it pretty quick so Ithought he might have a chance to catch it, Bumgarner said. It was afantastic catch, though.Manager Bruce Bochy was also impressed.

Great game for him, Bochy said. Great play out there almost made another tremendous play and swung the bat well. Good to see him getsome good swings off.The almost play that Bochy referred to was a fly ball to dead center off thebat of David DeJesus. Pagan turned around and sprinted with his back to homeplate, attempting to make a basket catch a la Giants legend Willie Mays TheCatch. He came up short, but said after the game that he was close tofinishing the play. RELATED: Bumgarner tests new slider grip in rough start
Believe it or not, I thought I had the ball in my glove,Pagan said. I thought it was a pretty good effort. I know I can do a betterjob than that, but thats what were here for. Id rather miss it over herethan miss it in the season. Next time I should be able to catch it.While Pagans speed can lead to some spectacular plays on defense, it alsohelps on the basepaths. It certainly helped him on his RBI triple into right-centerfield in the fifth inning. He looked fast heading to first, then put it intoanother gear halfway between first and second.When he gets going, hes flying, Bochy said. He can run.Thats why hes our leadoff hitter. Hopefully he puts some pressure on opposingteams and makes some things happen. You saw him going home to third thatspretty quick.After covering a lot of ground in center Tuesday, Bochy saidthat Pagan will get the day off Wednesday for rest and maybe Thursday as well becausehes getting a wisdom tooth pulled. Pagan knows his speed will help him handle the difficultoutfield at his new home in San Franciso.The hardest part is how the wind carries it, he said. Thebounce it takes off the brick wall is hard too. RELATED: Posey hitless in third spring start, will DH Wednesday
When I asked if he leans on Nate Schierholtz for advice, Pagan had kind words forhis new teammate: He knows whats going on out there, for sure.--

Brandon Belt saw more action in right field Tuesday, butBochy said that he wont get much time there in the regular season andclarified his plan for positioning his outfielders.Belts doing fine, Bochy said. Hes done OK. He playeda little more right in his younger years so I think hes a little morecomfortable there. I just want to take a look at him there but more likelyhell be going back to left, particularly at our ballpark. Melky will probablybe the one going to right field. But I just want to take a look at it. Huffwill play some outfield, too. Well have to make that decision, which way wethink is the best way to go.Belt went 1-for-3 Wednesday and was tested in right when Alfonso Soriano triedto stretch a single into a double in the fifth inning. Belt hustled to get to theball down the line and fired a one-hop throw to Brandon Crawford, who couldnthang on to apply the tag.I figured he would try and do that so I got to it as fast Icould, Belt said. I gave Crawford a tough ball to handle.--Nate Schierholtz and Mike Fontenot both saw game action Wednesday, alleviatingfears about nagging injuries.NEWS: Bumgarner struggles, Giants lose to Cubs 5-4
Schierholtz, who was nursing a bruised hip, went 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter. AndMike Fontenot, limited with a groin injury, singled, walked and played secondbase after coming off the bench.While Schierholtz and Fontenot made strides, Freddy Sanchez had his timetablefor a return to second base pushed back. Bochy recently said that Sanchez couldplay defense for the first time this spring on Thursday or Friday, but is nowsaying he hopes to have Sanchez ready this weekend. In the mean time, he willcontinue to get at-bats as Bochys designated hitter.In other minor injury update news, Ryan Vogelsong is stillscheduled to throw 45 pitches in a bullpen session Wednesday morning. And BrianWilson will make his second Cactus League outing later that afternoon againstthe Indians.--No one should be worried about Sergio Romos 4.50 ERA this spring, but itsworth noting that the run he gave up Wednesday wasnt of the ordinary variety.Romo left a slider up to big Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who was a memberof the Padres last year after coming over from the Red Sox in the AdrianGonzalez trade. Rizzo pounced on it and sent it around 450 feet to deep rightfield.He hung that one breaking ball, a bad pitch with two strikes, Bochy said. Wherehe threw that ball, it should be hit hard. Its good he gets to see someleft-handed hitters. As good as he is, he has little hiccups againstleft-handers.--In the familiar faces department, spotted at Scottsdale Stadium Tuesday morningwere former Giants outfielders Randy Winn and Pat Burrell. Brian Sabean wasalso seen on the field talking with Bochy, presumably about the tough rosterdecisions that await the general manager and field manager.

How Cubs beat Kershaw to move on to World Series

How Cubs beat Kershaw to move on to World Series

Two quick runs off the best pitcher on the planet on Saturday night afforded the Cubs exactly what they needed to snap a 71-year-old drought.

Already confident after consecutive offensive outbursts in the previous two games, a two-run first inning against Clayton Kershaw had Cubs hitters in a positive frame of mind.

They rode the surprising rally and a dominant performance by Kyle Hendricks to a 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. The win earned the Cubs their first NL pennant since 1945 and on Tuesday night they’ll seek their first World Series title since 1908 when they face the Cleveland Indians in Game 1.

“It’s huge for the confidence, the positive momentum from LA, to carry over back home,” left fielder Ben Zobrist said. “Those were the biggest moments in the game early on to help everybody keep pushing and that we got this thing -- that we’re in charge of the game early. That’s a huge momentum builder.”

The Cubs did a little bit of everything in the first inning against Kershaw, who dominated them for seven scoreless frames in a 1-0 Dodgers victory in Game 2 on Sunday night. Some hitters took a more aggressive approach against the three-time NL Cy Young winner while others remained patient. The one constant throughout the 30-pitch frame was that Cubs hitters took advantage whenever Kershaw made a mistake.


MLB becomes whole new ballgame since Cubs last World Series trip


MLB becomes whole new ballgame since Cubs last World Series trip

One way to realize just how long it's been since the Chicago Cubs last reached the World Series is to look at how much the game has changed since then, on and off the field.

The Cubs are making their first appearance since 1945 and chasing their first title since 1908.

Some of the ways the game has changed since the Cubs lost Game 7 to the Detroit Tigers some 71 years ago:

INTEGRATION: Jackie Robinson became the first black player to reach the major leagues in 1947, two years after the Cubs' last World Series appearance. Baseball has turned into a virtual melting pot in the seven decades since. The Cubs' roster includes players from Cuba (reliever Aroldis Chapman and outfielder Jorge Soler), along with Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, as well as the United States.

EXPANSION: There were 16 teams in the majors in 1945, including two in St. Louis, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago, and three in New York. The total is up to 30 now.

GO WEST: There were no major league franchises west of St. Louis in 1945. The Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles and the New York Giants headed to San Francisco in 1958. In 1969, the Seattle Pilots showed up - they went 64-98 in their first year, then became the Milwaukee Brewers.

DIVISIONAL PLAY: There were no divisions in 1945, just eight teams in both the American League and National League. They split into East and West divisions in 1969. Then a Central was created in 1994, with the Cubs shifting from the NL East to the NL Central.

PLAYOFFS PLUS: Extra teams and divisions resulted in expanded playoffs. The League Championship Series began in 1969, the Division Series started in 1995 and a one-game wild-card playoff came in 2012. A longer postseason pushed the World Series deep into October and beyond. If the Cubs and Cleveland go the distance this year, Game 7 would be on Nov. 2.

FREE AGENCY: When Phil Cavarretta and Peanuts Lowrey helped lead the Cubs to the 1945 Series, they were bound to the team until they were traded or released. Curt Flood tested baseball's reserve clause in the early 1970s and took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, helping pave the way for players to move around as free agents. Jon Lester, John Lackey and Ben Zobrist are among the players the Cubs acquired this way.

DESIGNATED HITTER: The designated hitter joined the American League lineup in 1973. The DH debate is still hot, with the leagues playing by different rules. When this year's World Series opens at the AL park, both teams will use the DH; when the Cubs host, the pitchers will hit.

LIGHTS AT WRIGLEY: The Cubs were the last team in the majors to play only day games. That changed when lights were installed at Wrigley Field in 1988. The games there have always been played outdoors on green grass, never under a dome or on artificial turf, trends that became popular starting with the Astrodome in the mid-1960s.