'Quiet' Thursday for Giants -- no callups


'Quiet' Thursday for Giants -- no callups

Sept. 1, 2011


Follow @MUrbanCSNMychael Urban

A day after shaking up their big-league roster by parting ways with veterans Miguel Tejada and Aaron Rowand while adding prospect Brett Pill and activating slugger Pat Burrell from the disabled list, the Giants likely wont be making any moves Thursday despite MLBs annual allowance of roster expansion to 40 men.A team source told CSNBayArea.com on Thursday morning that itll be a quiet day for sure.
That doesnt mean the Giants wont be adding to their complement of players for the final month of the stretch drive, however. It just wont happen until Friday, before the club opens a critical three-game series against the visiting Diamondbacks, who will bring a six-game lead in the National League West over the defending world champions into AT&T Park this weekend.Among the players expected to be added is rookie shortstop Brandon Crawford, the best defender at the position in the organization. Crawford, who took the starting job from Tejada not long after being called up for his big-league debut in May, lost the job -- and his spot on the San Francisco roster -- amid an offensive slump that prompted the Giants to acquire veteran Orlando Cabrera.Crawford, who was batting .172 with the Giants when he was sent back to Triple-A Fresno after going 0-for-3 to extend a 1-for-14 slide on June 30, was batting .176 over his past nine games with Fresno through Thursday and .243 overall.Hes going to get some playing time, Giants general manager Brian Sabean told CSNBayArea.com while discussing Crawfords short-term future during a one-on-one conversation shortly after Wednesdays shakeup. Were at a point where were going to look at a lot of different things in an effort to get things going in the right direction.That includes giving Burrell, who missed 43 games with a strained right foot before being activated Wednesday and going 1-for-1 in the Giants 4-0 victory over the Cubs, a shot at reprising the role he played as an imposing long-ball threat after being picked up off the scrap heap following his release from the Rays last May.Burrell, who hit 18 home runs in 96 regular-season games for the Giants in 2010, is batting .237 with seven homers and 21 RBIs in 81 games for San Francisco this season.Other candidates for promotion Friday include Darren Ford, whom a year ago Thursday scored on an errant throw after stealing third base to set up a huge win over the Rockies that served as a springboard to the late-season magic that carried the Giants to their first World Series title since moving to San Francisco.Left-hander Eric Surkamp, who shined in his big-league debut Saturday at AT&T but was optioned back to the minors shortly thereafter to stay on turn while the Giants skip the No. 5 spot in their starting rotation to set up this weekends Arizona series, was scheduled to pitch for Single-A San Jose on Thursday but will return to the big-league team to take his next scheduled turn Tuesday on the road against the Padres.

Steve Kerr responds to notion Andre Iguodala's hip strain a white lie

Steve Kerr responds to notion Andre Iguodala's hip strain a white lie

On Tuesday morning, the Warriors announced that Andre Iguodala would not play against the Mavs because of a left hip strain

"I would go with 'hip' every single night I was looking to rest a player from now on," 95.7 The Game's Damon Bruce said to Steve Kerr on Wednesday. "A little white lie goes a long way. Is it safe to say that Andre Iguodala's 'hip' is gonna look fantastic come Friday?

"I understand where you're going with this, but this was not a white lie," Kerr said in response. "Andre has had hip tightness the last three days or so.

"He played through it in Oklahoma City. And Chelsea Lane, our physical therapist, told me after the game 'Andre really needed the night off. It would be great to knock this thing out over the next few days, so let's give him tomorrow off.'

"And I always listen to the training staff ... hopefully this will knock out any potential injury."

[RATTO: With resting players, there's one obvious solution for Adam Silver, NBA]

On Monday night in Oklahoma City, recorded six points, four rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block in about 22 minutes off the bench.

Through his first 57 appearances this season, Iguodala averaged 25.7 minutes per game. Since Kevin Durant's injury, Iguodala is averaging 29.1 minutes per game.

How much influence do trainers and/or physical therapists have in determining if a player suits up or takes a night off?

"Coaches have always had to rely on the medical staff to help them with the decision-making process," Kerr explained. "I think where we've made progress is in the amount of information that we have. As a coach, my job is to kind of gauge where the players are. But we have a lot more knowledge now with some of the technology where the training staff actually can measure how fatigued a player is.

"I think it's a little easier these days for the training staff to come to the coach and recommend something and have some data to back it up."

Kerr is an advocate for reducing the number of games in the regular season, but he understands that's not a reality.

"I don't think that's gonna happen," he said. "I think it would be great, honestly, if they cut it back to 75 games ... but, let's be honest, there's a lot of revenue at stake."

Bullied by Bucks, Kings unable to match playoff intensity

Bullied by Bucks, Kings unable to match playoff intensity

SACRAMENTO -- The NBA learning curve is steep. On Wednesday night in Sacramento, the young Kings faced one of the league’s up and coming players and a team fighting for a playoff spot. The atmosphere was foreign and the Kings didn’t respond well in the 116-98 loss to the Bucks.

Milwaukee came out of the gate and bullied the Kings. They threw a young Sacramento team all over the court on their way to a 69 point half. To add to the insult, some of the Bucks veterans even taunted the Sacramento crowd as they shot a stunning 61.4 percent from the field before the intermission.

“I think we got pushed around a little bit in the first half,” rookie Skal Labissiere said. “But they’re trying to make the playoffs still. They’re trying to make the eighth spot. So we have to be a little bit more physical with them and not let them punk us around.”

What the Kings saw from the Bucks is the mindset of a team fighting for a playoff spot. Wednesday night’s contest is what you see in the tail end of a season when one team has something to play for and the other has gone with a youth movement.

“They’re playing physical, they’re not backing down from nobody,” Buddy Hield said. “They have something they’re playing for. Obviously we don’t right now because our season is out of reach.”

Sacramento’s veterans looked at the game as a learning experience for the younger players. They need exposure to this type of game late in the season. They need to see what the expectations will be in a year or two when the Kings hope to be in a similar situation.

“These guys have to go through it, they have to learn it and then hopefully when we make the playoffs in the coming years, they’ll be able to understand that it jumps to another level,” Garrett Temple said. “The first 50 games is one level, the the next 30 is another and that playoff is different animal.”

Building a winner usually comes in stages in the NBA. By the time you sneak into the playoffs, you have already come close once or twice and the first round matchups are usually against seasoned winning clubs.

That is something the Bucks will learn soon enough. With the win, they are now tied for the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff chase, but nothing is certain. They currently sit a game out of the eight spot and just 2.5 from falling to ninth and missing the playoffs entirely.

If they squeak in, they will play either the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics or Washington Wizards in Round 1.

Every game is magnified when you have something at stake late in a season and the Kings were never able to match the intensity of their opponent.

All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo put on a show. The star forward dominated every player the Kings threw at him on his way to a 32-point, 13-rebounds, six-assist performance.

“People think I’m crazy to say that - if he gets a 3-point shot, he’ll be the best player in the league,” Temple said of Antetokounmpo. “He can penetrate, he has great court vision, can handle the ball, not to mention he’s 6-11 and a wiry strength that you don’t understand unless you’re play against him. He can literally play 1-5 in this NBA and he has a mismatch at every position.”

Labissiere drew the first look on Antetokounmpo and it didn’t take long to see that the rookie was overmatched by his opponent’s versatility. Willie Cauley-Stein had some success early in the second half, using his length and getting physical with the star forward, but the game was already decided.

It’s a process. With a youth movement comes games like the one against Milwaukee. All you can ask for is effort, which Sacramento has shown. Despite the team’s 3-11 record since the All-Star break, there is progress, especially from the core of first and second year players.

“They’re getting better and better,” Tyreke Evans said. “They’re still learning the game, but as they’re playing, they’re working hard. They’re working hard in practice, getting reps up. It’s going to take time, it’s not going to happen overnight. They’re going to have good games, they’re going to have bad games. You’ve got learn from it.”

Sacramento is in the middle of a seven game stretch against teams tuning up for the playoffs. The schedule doesn’t get any easier Friday when the Kings travel to Oracle Arena to face the Golden State Warriors. It’s another chance to learn on the fly.