Vogelsong 'just along for the ride' in Giants' win

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Vogelsong 'just along for the ride' in Giants' win

SAN FRANCISCO -- Ryan Vogelsong said it best: I was justalong for the ride tonight.Vogelsongs 19th consecutive start of six innings or more, datingback to his last outing of 2011, was overshadowed by a three-hit night fromBuster Posey, a cringe-inducing catch from Melky Cabrera and a crew of umpiresthat made itself a part of the game.The Giants had already pounced on the Padres for three first-inning runs whenBrandon Crawford hit a sinking line drive that San Diegos Mark Kotsay appearedto trap. Crawford and third base coach Tim Flannery, who had the best view ofthe play along with third base umpire and crew chief Dana DeMuth, were irateimmediately. Bruce Bochy trotted out of the dugout to voice his displeasurewith the call as well, and before the Padres had time to switch their fieldinggloves for batting gloves, the umpires met on the field and overturned DeMuthscall of a catch.Its a tough call, Bochy said. You run and you try and make the call. Weknew it short-hopped him. Its all about getting it right, which they did. Theydid a great job of getting together and getting it right. Thats a big call toobecause the run scores.Vogelsong, who was in the on-deck circle with Crawford atthe dish, said he never returned to the dugout despite the out call on thefield.I saw the ball hit the ground, Vogelsong said. I didntknow if they were going to overturn it or not.The four-run first inning gave Vogelsong a cushion he rarely enjoys. Cominginto Mondays game, the Giants had provided their veteran right-hander with3.16 runs of support, lowest on the teams staff and third lowest in theNational League. Though the four runs would end up being more than enough forVogelsong, the Giants werent done.Posey, who was in the middle of the Giants first inning rally, put the gameout of reach with a three-run shot into the first row of arcade seats in right.The fans above Levis Landing seemed to know off the bat it was gone, but didPosey?Not off the bat, Posey said of only the 14th home run by aright-handed Giant at AT&T Park. I knew I got the barrel on it. I sawMark Kotsay keep drifting and thought it was going to go off the wall, butwas even happier when it went over.Posey collected three hits, as did Cabrera and Ryan Theriotfor a potent 2-3-4 part of the lineup that combined for six runs and four RBIs.Multi-hit games from Cabrera have become the norm since he came to SanFrancisco in an offseason trade, but his catch in the sixth inning as he fellinto the stands was nothing short of spectacular.Even in a 7-1 game in July, Cabrera hustled to make it to the short wall nearthe Giants bullpen, then sacrificed his body as he left his feet to make thecatch. Cabrera landed on a few fans, who helped him back onto the field, thentrotted back to his position with a wide smile and chants of Melky! Melky!surfacing around the stadium.Bochy and Posey both said they did not think Cabrera had a chance to catch theball.First of all, I thought it was going to be in the seats,Posey said. He went a really long way and that was an unbelievable catch.Bochys take is nearly identical.I thought the ball was in the seats, Bochy said. Its a dangerous play. Youhate to see him go into the stands like that but hes so athletic and he landedpretty soft there. It looked like he landed in the seat. But what a grab. Ittakes great focus to catch that ball. Thats the way he plays.For Cabrera, its just part of the job.I always play hard because I like to help my team in any way I can, Cabrerasaid through a translator. Before Cabrera even had time to catch his breath, the umpires re-took centerstage. In a cruel twist of fate, Crawford went from having an out turned intoan RBI hit in the first inning to having a double turned into an out in thesixth. After splitting the right-centerfield gap, Crawford appeared to have aneasy double, but was called out when first base umpire Jordan Baker said henever touched first on his way to second. Unlike in the first inning, argumentsfrom the Giants side fell on deaf ears.When Crawford grounded out to first in the eighth, he stepped on the bag harderthan normal and tried to have a conversation with Baker. But the umpire wasntin the mood and handed the Giants young shortstop his first career ejection.I didnt think I said anything worthy of getting tossed, Crawford said. Other than the hit to Crawfords batting average, the Giants had a bannerMonday to open a 10-game homestand. The bats looked lively, the defense stepped up in big spots, and the starterthe Giants picked up off the scrap heap continues to prove that his 2011breakout season was no fluke.

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.