Surkamp goes four, Giants top Cubs 3-2


Surkamp goes four, Giants top Cubs 3-2

MESA, Ariz. -- Eric Surkamp made another pitch to become part of San Francisco's rotation.A long shot to claim a spot, Surkamp threw four effective innings as the Giants beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2 Friday.Surkamp went 2-2 in six starts for San Francisco as a rookie last season. He gave up one run and four hits, striking out four.

"I'm happy with how I did," said Surkamp, nicked only by Anthony Rizzo's home run. "My arm speed is coming back a little bit. I ran into a little dead arm early in spring training. But I'm starting to feel better."Surkamp's chances to make the rotation rest on whether the Giants start somebody on the disabled list."Eric threw well," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It seems like he's developing more and more confidence each time he gets out there."For the Cubs, Matt Garza chopped into his sky-high spring ERA by allowing two runs and three hits in four innings. He walked one and struck out three."I pulled out all my stuff today," said Garza, hoping to be the opening day starter for the Cubs. "That makes it a lot easier when I need a weapon besides a fastball and a changeup.""I'm happy we made progress but I'm still not done," he said. "I've done this the last seven years. Six actually - it took one year to figure it out. I getting my ready at my pace. I know my body."Garza carried a 16.20 ERA into the game. He sailed through the first three innings before giving up two runs in the fourth."When April 5th comes, I'll be ready to go. It's one step at a time to get everything right, get everything in sync. The hardest thing about this game is getting back into the rhythm," he said.Rizzo's homer was his second of the spring. Catcher Blake Lalli, a non-roster invitee, also hit a solo homer for the Cubs.Cubs manager Dale Sveum has been preaching aggressive baserunning. But in this game, the approach backfired in the ninth inning.With the Cubs trailing 3-2, Joe Mather singled but was then thrown out trying to go form first to third on Brett Jackson's sacrifice bunt.For the Giants, Buster Posey went 1 for 2. He is scheduled to serve as the DH in a minor league game, then take a few days off, Bochy said.
BAGGARLY: Posey pleased after outing
The Cubs will play a split-squad set Saturday, with one game against the Athletics at Phoenix and the other being the first of two against the Texas Rangers in Las Vegas."It breaks up spring training," Sveum said of the Vegas trip. "I don't know if it's a reward. You're still playing. You don't get to enjoy Vegas, though I'm sure somebody will."NOTES: The game drew a packed crowd of 13,245...The Cubs picked up RHP Frankie de la Cruz off waivers from Milwaukee. ... Sveum likes what he sees from pitcher Lendy Castillo, a right-hander obtained in the Rule 5 draft. "He's obviously doing well," Sveum said of Castillo, who has given up one run in five innings. "He's been able to throw strikes, his stuff is there. His poise on the mound. ... and his athleticism and competitiveness has been far and above the Rule 5 guys I've been around."

Giants catching prospect Garcia relishing reps in Arizona Fall League


Giants catching prospect Garcia relishing reps in Arizona Fall League

After being selected in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the San Francisco Giants, catcher Aramis Garcia quickly opened eyes with his power. Garcia totaled 15 home runs between Rookie Ball and Short Season Single-A in only 28 games after the draft. 

The next year, Garcia equaled his 15 long balls and spent the majority of his first full pro season at High Single-A. He also improved overall as a hitter, raising his 2014 slash line of .225/.301/.343 to .264/.342/.431 in 2015. The next climb up the farm system ladder was set in place, until it was gone with an excruciating injury. 

Garcia's 2016 season was limited to 47 games played as he sustained a facial fracture in May while sliding into second base. In an attempt to break up a double play, Garcia took a knee to the face. The injury kept him out until the end of July.

When the chance to play in the Arizona Fall League for the Scottsdale Scorpions arose, Garcia jumped at the opportunity. 

"First thing I did was call my parents and let them know," Garcia told on Monday. "I was just really excited for getting the opportunity to play against guys who are extremely talented and obviously make up for reps, which are extremely important."

Garcia never did exactly find his rhythm after the injury and finished the season batting .257/.323/.340 with two homers in 41 games. In the first half, the 23-year-old hit .298/.359/.369 compared to a lowly .200/.273/.300 in the second half. 

The catcher known more for his offense than defense, is off to a slow start at the plate while facing some of the top prospects in baseball. Throuh six games, he has gone 3-for-17 at the plate, good for a .176 average. But, Garcia acknowledged he's focusing heavily on his defense in the AFL. 

"I feel like when somebody tries to steal on me, I tend to take it a little bit personally," he said. "It's definitely something I take pride in, something I work on hard every day. There's a little routine I do with receiving and footwork, things like that every day."

Behind the dish, Garcia caught 38 percent of base runners looking to swipe a bag on him last season. Through his three years in the minors, Garcia has erased 34 percent of base stealers and owns a .993 fielding percentage. 

Cubs, Indians name starting pitchers for Game 1 of World Series


Cubs, Indians name starting pitchers for Game 1 of World Series

World Series ace Jon Lester is all set to start Game 1 for the Chicago Cubs.

Lester will be fully rested when he pitches Tuesday night at Cleveland. Corey Kluber will start for the Indians.

The 32-year-old lefty is 2-0 in three starts during this postseason, with wins over the Giants and Dodgers in the NL playoffs. He was 19-5 during the regular season.

Lester is 3-0 in three starts in the World Series with a sparkling 0.43 ERA. He helped the Boston Red Sox win championships in 2007 and 2013.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon says Lester is "really, really in the moment" right now.


Indians ace Corey Kluber will start Game 1 of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs.

Manager Terry Francona said Sunday that he will go with Kluber, an 18-ame winner during the regular season, in the opener on Tuesday night. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 0.98 ERA in his first postseason.

Francona has right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin penciled in for Games 2 and 3, respectively. The order could change depending on how Bauer's injured right pinkie heals over the next few days.

Bauer's start in the AL Championship Series lasted less than one inning after his pinkie began bleeding against Toronto. He injured his finger when he sliced it open while repairing a drone.

Also, injured starter Danny Salazar could be available against the Cubs. Salazar hasn't pitched since Sept. 9 because of forearm tightness but he's made major progress in the past week and could be on the World Series roster.