How will Giants address leadoff woes? (plus lineups)


How will Giants address leadoff woes? (plus lineups)

WASHINGTON -- They have strong coffee in the press box here at Nationals Park. God bless America.

Below you'll find lineups for Tuesday morning's game, which begins at 11:05 a.m. here in the District. (That's 8:05 a.m. to everyone in San Francisco who isn't enjoying the view of the inside of their eyelids right now.)

Mark DeRosa, former World Series champion, is in the Nationals lineup.

The Giants are wearing special Fourth of July caps featuring a camouflage logo that seems more appropriate for Memorial or Veteran's day, if you ask me. But whatever. I don't make the rules.

Gregor Blanco gets a start even though he's struggling and played to the end of Tuesday night's dragged-out game. That's because Blanco got three hits in that game ... and Angel Pagan is also struggling. He's a .182 hitter with just two extra-base hits in his last 18 games. Giants manager Bruce Bochy pulled Pagan as part of a double-switch in the fourth Tuesday night.

Bochy plan to do about the leadoff spot, which hasn't been nearly as productive in recent weeks? Will he give Blanco a few days off?

"I'll pick my spots with him," Bochy said. "It's fair to say Angel is searching. And Blanco, even though he hasn't been getting hits, he's been making good contact. He just hasn't gotten luck to go along with it."

I mentioned to Bochy that the league might be adjusting to Blanco, who had a .401 OBP through the end of May with 22 walks in 137 plate appearances. Since then, he's got seven walks in 131 plate appearances and the OBP is .279 over that span.

"Sure, that's the game plan," Bochy said. "Make him hit his way on."

It's a game of adjustments. Even when it begins at an insanely early hour.

Oh, and thanks for that pitching change with two outs in the ninth inning of a 9-3 game last night, Davey Johnson.

CF Blanco
2B Burriss
LF Cabrera
C Posey
3B Sandoval
1B Belt
RF Schierholtz
SS Crawford
P Madison Bumgarner

2B Espinosa
CF Harper
3B Zimmerman
LF Morse
SS Desmond
1B Moore
RF DeRosa
C Solano
P Edwin Jackson

Dodgers trade top pitching prospect to Rays for 2B Forsythe

Dodgers trade top pitching prospect to Rays for 2B Forsythe

The Dodgers' months-long search for a second baseman is over.

Los Angeles has acquired infielder Logan Forsythe from the Rays, the team announced Monday afternoon.

The Dodgers are sending top pitching prospect Jose De Leon to Tampa Bay.

In 127 games for the Rays in 2016, the 30-year-old Forsythe hit .264/.333/.444 with 24 doubles, 20 home runs and 52 RBI.

Forsythe is set to make $7 million in 2017 and has a team option worth $8.5 million or a $1 million buyout for 2018.

De Leon, 24, made his major league debut for the Dodgers during the 2016 season. In four starts, he posted a 6.35 ERA while striking out 15 batters in 17 innings. In 16 startts for Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2016, De Leon registered a 2.61 ERA and struck out 111 batters in just 86.1 innings.

A native of Puerto Rico, De Leon was recently ranked as the Dodgers' No. 3 prospect Baseball America.

For most of the offseason, the Dodgers had been linked to Twins second baseman Brian Dozier, but the two sides couldn't come together on a deal.

Spring training to be slightly shortened starting in 2018

Spring training to be slightly shortened starting in 2018

NEW YORK -- For everyone who thinks spring training is too long, help is on the way - a little, anyway.

Spring training will be shortened by two days starting in 2018, when new restrictions in Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement take effect on game times for regular-season getaway days.

The voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players will be 43 days before the major league opener instead of 45, according to a copy of the agreement obtained by The Associated Press. For other players, the date will be 38 days ahead instead of 40.

The change was tied to spreading each team's 162 regular-season games over 187 days, up from 183.

Players' association Assistant General Counsel Matt Nussbaum said the union's goal was to create more days off during the season "in a way that doesn't just chew up offseason days."

"We have heard for years and I'm sure we will continue to hear that spring training is too long, that guys are really ready to go well before opening day, but I think what the commissioner's office would tell you is that there are big challenges for the clubs in substantially shortening spring training because they have various commitments to put on a certain number of games," he said Monday.

Late arrival times ahead of regular-season series openers also were addressed.

Starting in 2018, the latest possible start time on getaway days when either team is traveling to a game in another city the next day or a home off day will be calculated by subtracting the time of the flight over 2½ hours from 7 p.m.

There are cutouts for Sunday night games broadcast by ESPN and games after June 1 at Texas' current home ballpark - where the Rangers avoid afternoons for much of the season because of the heat.

Another new rule for 2018 says no game in the original schedule may be set for before 5 p.m. when a team played the previous night in another city starting 7 p.m. or later. There are exceptions involving flights of 90 minutes or less for home openers and holiday weekends. Current cutouts are carried over for up to six exceptions each season at Chicago's Wrigley Field and rescheduled games involving flights of 90 minutes or less.

"We fully recognize that our players play a very demanding schedule, and we're always looking for ways to ease the burden on players while at the same time scheduling games at a convenient time for our fans to watch them," MLB Chief Legal Officer Dan Halem said.

Sunday night games on holiday weekends followed by afternoon games still seem likely to occur.

"We have contracts with various national broadcast partners that limit our ability to schedule day games in certain instances," Halem said.

Nussbaum said if the players had their way, there would be "a flat rule that says all getaway games are day games" but understand why that would cause difficulty for teams.

"There's still going to be some challenges in the schedule," he said, "but we think what we've done with these two prongs is pare back the most egregious of the travel."

As part of the agreement, one game in the major leagues may be scheduled each year on the Thursday after the All-Star Game starting in 2018.