Leyland maintains steady approach

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Leyland maintains steady approach

DETROIT -- Dont expect Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland to make any rah-rah speeches or smash any coolers even though his team trails 2-0 in the World Series.

Even-keeled as ever, Leyland showed no signs of panic as he addressed the media on Friday afternoon and even made a few jokes as he described how he planned to address his charges.

Leyland didnt require his players to workout at Comerica Park on Friday, though many did, after the team arrived home after 6 a.m. from San Francisco. Leyland said he wants to keep the approach simple before the World Series resumes with Game 3 at 5:07 p.m. on Saturday night. Detroit sends Anibal Sanchez to the mound to face the Giants and Ryan Vogelsong.

The way I look at it, were two games back with give to play, Leyland said. But were playing the team we need to catch, and I think thats the best way to approach it.

Most analysts predicted the Tigers --- whose 133.475 million payroll ranked third in the majors --- to cruise to an American League Central crown. But with 16 games left on the schedule, they trailed the Chicago White Sox by three games. The Tigers also spent only 34 days either tied or alone in first place. But even as they struggled, Leylands players said he never wavered and they dont expect him to begin now.

RELATED: Giants-Tigers Game 3 stat pack

Skip is not the one thats going to hold a meeting or a big speech or anything like that, catcher Alex Avila said. Hes extremely honest, and as players you appreciate that type of honesty. He treats us like professionals and grown men, knowing we can get the job done.

So how does Leyland expect his players to handle their current task of rallying from a two-game deficit?

Simple: concentrate and relax.

You have to have that combination in situations like this, Leyland said. There is a lot of pressure, but you just have to learn to embrace it. I think thats the most important thing.

Dan Hayes is the White Sox Insider for CSNChicago.com

Matt Williams joins NBC Sports Bay Area's Giants TV coverage

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AP

Matt Williams joins NBC Sports Bay Area's Giants TV coverage

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — It has been 30 years since Matt Williams broke into the big leagues with the Giants, and he has been back many times in recent seasons as an opposing player, coach and manager. When the Giants play their home opener on April 10, Williams will once again be affiliated with them, this time in a new role. 

Williams will join NBC Sports Bay Area this season as a studio analyst for the pre- and post-game shows, which are expanding to one hour. After spending most of the last two decades in various on and off-field roles for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Williams is coming full circle with the Giants. 

“It feels like that, doesn’t it?” he said. “I love coaching and managing, but I also enjoy talking about the game and experiencing the game from that angle, which is a lot of fun. I really enjoy it. You get to talk about the intricacies of the game.”

Williams knows it inside and out, and not just because he played 17 seasons for the Giants, Diamondbacks and Indians. He has coached first and third base for the Diamondbacks, most recently during the 2016 season. When the organization retooled the front office in the offseason, changes were made to the coaching staff. Williams has also had a stint as a manager, doing two years with the Washington Nationals. He went 179-145, winning the NL Manager of the Year Award in 2014, when the Giants knocked the Nationals out of the postseason in the NLDS. 

Williams is best known in San Francisco for 10 strong years on the field. He hit 378 career home runs, 247 of them with the Giants. Williams is a five-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger winner and four-time Gold Glove winner, and he finished in the top five in the MVP voting in 1994 and 1999. While Williams was gone by the time a title drought was broken, he does have a ring to wear around the ballpark. He batted .275 with 16 homers for the champion Diamondbacks in 2001. 

Williams’ time in Arizona also included color commentary for their television and radio broadcasts, and he said he’s looking forward to working with former Giants players he has coached against, and fellow former coach Tim Flannery, who was an NL West rival in the late 1980s. 

“During the offseason, this is always one of my favorite cities to visit,” he said. “It’s home. I’ve been in the Bay Area practically my whole life. It’s a fantastic atmosphere in the ballpark with a great fan base, and the Giants’ recent success has been phenomenal.” 

The Giants plan on that success carrying over into the odd year, and one of the best infielders in franchise history will be along for the ride. 

D'backs release former Giants outfielder

D'backs release former Giants outfielder

Editor's Note: The above video was recorded following Matt Cain's perfect game in 2012.

Gregor Blanco's bid to make the Arizona Diamondbacks' Opening Day roster is over.

The former Giants outfielder was released on Monday, Arizona announced.

Blanco had been dealing with an oblique injury and had played since March 21.

In 14 Cactus League games, Blanco went 9-for-40 (.225) with one double and three triples.

Blanco spent five years with the Giants and was part of the World Series winning teams in 2012 and 2014. During his time in San Francisco, the 33-year-old hit .259/.338/.360 with 78 doubles, 24 triples and 157 RBI in 649 games.

The D'backs signed Blanco to a minor league deal in January.