Zito self-critical despite improvement in second start

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Zito self-critical despite improvement in second start

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Barry Zito worked three scorelessinnings in his second start of the spring Saturday against the Brewers.In his first action since giving up two runs on four hits in two inningsagainst the Dodgers on Tuesday, the Giants high-priced lefty was perfect otherthan hitting a batter and allowing one infield single. He threw 30 of his 45pitches for strikes.The batter he hit was none other than San Francisco native Nyjer Morgan, whodrew the ire of Giants fans last season by making some mildly obscene gesturesaimed at the AT&T Park bleachers.Morgan, the second batter of the afternoon, took a Zito curveball to the headand stayed in the game as a baserunner before being pulled as a precaution inthe bottom of the 1st inning.

It was a curveball so I mean sometimes you just throwthrough it, Zito said.The only other blemish on Zitos pitching line was an infield single by MatGamel.I actually felt like my timing was better Tuesday just as far as the ballbeing down and pouring strikes in the zone, Zito said. Results were a littlebetter today, but its not really about that for me, its about lining up thepitch and having everything be on time.With no radar available at Scottsdale Stadium and the scouts guns out ofeyesight, its difficult to pinpoint how hard Zito was throwing, but he was inthe strike zone and kept the Brewers lineup off balance using all of hispitches.Despite a solid spring pitching line on Saturday, Zito was self-critical in hispostgame comments.I felt like I couldve been better being down in the zone with the fastball,he said. If you look at strike ratio and how many balls were down in the zone,today was not as good as last game. But there were other positives today.One such positive for Zito was the ability to work on his windup.Right now when Im in the windup its just trying to getthat timing down, he said. I didnt throw out of the windup a lot thisoffseason, so Im just working on making some adjustments. I got to throw outof the windup a lot more today, which is good.
Bruce Bochy had no issue with the outing when told that Zito himself said he wasn't as sharp.He may not have felt as good, but he did anice job," Bochy said. One breaking ball got away from him, but overall I thought he threwstrikes and did a nice job. Now the starters will go back to their normal rest and wellstart stretching these guys out.
With a split squad game against the Cubs, the Brewerslineup wasnt filled with a lot of star power on Saturday. Rickie Weeks and Aramis Ramirez playedin Milwaukees other game and Ryan Braun didnt see action at all.The only projected Brewer starters in the lineup against Zito were CarlosGomez, Morgan and Gamel. Brooks Conrad, who Giants fans may remember as theAtlanta second baseman that made three errors in Game 3 of the 2010 NLDS, hit third for the Brewers.The Giants pitchers were not blessed with immense run support in 2011, andZito was no exception. But Saturday in Scottsdale, the Giants teed off on theBrewers early on and gave Zito a 2-0 cushion in the second, andexpanded the lead to 10-0 an inning later. Yeah, that was great, Zito said of watching his offensebat around and put double digits on the board for him.Zito wasnt very talkative at his locker after the outing,providing reporters with the modern athletes most dependable cliche.I take it one day at a time, he said. Thats one thing Im not going to dois get too far ahead of myself. Just come back tomorrow and keep on working onwhat I got to do and just take that approach.

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.