Giants get no relief vs. Mets, but is some on the way?

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Giants get no relief vs. Mets, but is some on the way?

SAN FRANCISCO For all the talk of Hunter Pence and theGiants need to lengthen their lineup, GM Brian Sabean has spent just as muchtime trying to bolster his bullpen ahead of Tuesdays 1 p.m. (PDT) non-waivertrade deadline.

The Giants needed relief Monday night. The bullpen brokedown several times in an 8-7, 10-inning loss to the New York Mets, and it wastheir frontline guys who got hit hard.

Sergio Romo gave up a tying, two-run home run to ScottHairston, who saved up another poison-tipped dart for Santiago Casilla with atiebreaking solo shot in the 10th.

It was Hairstons sixth multi-homer game. You might beconvinced all six came against the Giants. (Fact check: Only two of them,really.)

And if that werent enough, the Giants watched another oftheir trade targets drop off the board when the Dodgers acquired right-handerBrandon League from the Seattle Mariners.

League isnt having a good season and his strikeout-to-walkratio (27 to 19) will make you run in fear for the hills, but hes held right-handedhitters to a .224 average and no home runs. If you can keep him away fromlefties, hes a useful piece.

He certainly would have helped to take some of the strain off Romo, whois hitting a rare skid after being flawless for the better part of two seasons.

Romo allowed a tiebreaking, two-run homer to Hanley Ramirezin Fridays loss to the Dodgers. Before that, hed allowed two homers toright-handed hitters in two years.

When I dont execute, thats what happens, said Romo, whoseERA has gone from 0.60 to 2.30 in two games. Its the big leagues. You cantexpect anything else.

Its been a great ride. Im not saying its the end of theride, but Im in a rut. Thats what it is. I just need to keep on pushing.

"The team needs me to be good. Im down for that.

Romo has been good. So was Casilla while saving 19 of hisfirst 20 chances.

We had the right guys out there our setup guy andcloser, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. The only thing you can do in thisgame is get your guys out there, and we did that.

Now its up to Sabean to get more guys on the roster.

The Dodgers already have Ramirez, who appears to have amotivation level that more closely approximates his extreme talent level. Theygot League. Theyre reportedly in on Pence and Shane Victorino, if only todrive up the price on the Giants. And its better than a coin flip that theylladd Ryan Dempster, or trade for another starting pitcher if they cant makethat deal work with the Cubs.

Oh, and Fox Sports is reporting that the ArizonaDiamondbacks, just 3 games back of the co-leaders in the NL West, are bracingto make a potentially blockbuster pitching addition. (Cliff Lee, maybe?)

Its never, ever a good idea to make a baseball decisionbased on pure marketing motives. If you dont believe me, come along for a tour of the S.S.Zito. Shes a fine, sturdy vessel. It won't do much good to make a move for the sake of making a move. (And yes, we saw the CBS Sports report that Alfonso Soriano told the Cubs he wouldn't accept a trade to the Giants. Try not to take it personally.)

But if the Giants stand pat while the Dodgers andDiamondbacks add at the deadline, its not going to be pretty around theseparts.

And that five-game losing streak is going to feel a lotworse than it already is.

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:

STARTING LINEUP

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.

BENCH

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.

STARTING ROTATION

Sale.

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.

LONG RELIEVER

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

BULLPEN

Chapman.

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.