Ross, Posey, Huff go yard in Giants' 3-1 win over K.C.


Ross, Posey, Huff go yard in Giants' 3-1 win over K.C.


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) After another strong spring outing, Barry Zito appears to be ready for the start of the season.Zito pitched six efficient innings, giving up a run and two hits in six innings as the San Francisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals 3-1 on Saturday."He threw very well. He had good command for the most part," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He got into a few jams but got out of them. I'm very pleased with how he is throwing and where he is at."He was pounding the strike zone. The last two or three outings, he has thrown a lot of strikes."Zito, who walked four and struck out two, got support from solo home runs by Cody Ross, Buster Posey and Aubrey Huff.Ross hit his third homer of the spring off left-hander Bruce Chen in the second inning. Posey hit his third in the fourth, and Huff connected for his fourth in the sixth.Zito is 40-57 with a 4.45 earned-run average in 131 starts over four years since leaving the Oakland Athletics to move across San Francisco Bay to join the Giants as a free agent October of 2006. He has never quite recaptured the form that earned him the American League Cy Young Award in 2002. He started out 5-0 in 2010, but finished the season at 9-14.Earlier this month, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Zito's spot on the Giants' roster wasn't guaranteed. However, Bochy immediately denied truth to the report and Zito is 2-0 in four starts with the Giants this spring and pitched five innings in a minor-league game.Now that right-hander Matt Cain has rebounded from elbow stiffness with two solid outings, the Giants' rotation appears to be set with right-handers Tim Lincecum and Cain, and left-handers Jonathan Sanchez, Madison Bumgarner and Zito.The Giants' starters have limited opponents to two earned runs or fewer in all but one of their games, and that was the opener on Feb. 25 against Arizona.The closer's role is another story, however.San Francisco was hit by the news before the game that closer Brian Wilson will be out temporarily and possibly longer with a strained left rib cage muscle. He will be re-evaluated on Monday. Wilson, who led the National League in saves with 48 last year, also was bothered by a stiff back earlier in camp.
NEWS: Giants Wilson injured, Opening Day in question
Some of the candidates to step in in Wilson's absence pitched on Saturday - left-hander Jeremy Affeldt and right-handers Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla.Bochy figured that people would speculate that the job would be Casilla's, "but you shouldn't read anything into that. We needed them to get their work in, and this was the only real way to do it with the way Zito was pitching. All three pitchers are expected to throw again on Sunday, when the Giants play split-squad games against Oakland and the Chicago Cubs.
URBAN: Giants can't afford to lose Wilson for long
Casilla struck out two of the three men he faced in the ninth, relying on a potent curveball."There were a couple of filthy ones," Bochy said.NOTES: Bochy said he was going to try to get Huff more time in left field before the team breaks camp. Huff started 97 games at 1B last season, 33 in RF and 24 in LF. Bochy's decision could mean the team is considering keeping rookie 1B Brandon Belt on the opening-day roster. ... 2B Freddy Sanchez increased his hitting streak to six games. ... Royals OF Melky Cabrera drove in the only run with on a ground ball in the sixth. He was hitless in three at-bats but still is hitting .488 (20 for 41).

Source: Kaepernick visits 49ers headquarters

Source: Kaepernick visits 49ers headquarters

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who faces an uncertain future with the 49ers, visited team headquarters in Santa Clara on Wednesday morning, according to a league source.

Kaepernick was likely there to meet with 49ers general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan for the first time since they were hired to replace Trent Baalke and Chip Kelly.

On Feb. 9, Lynch said Kaepernick “reached out” to him shortly after he was hired as general manager. Lynch said he and Kaepernick planned on meeting in the near future.

Earlier this week, Lynch said he would have open and honest communication with Kaepernick about the club’s plan at the quarterback position.

“The one thing we will do very well with Kap is we’ll communicate,” Lynch said Tuesday on 95.7 The Game. “And I think that’s very important for both sides. Like everything else, that process is well in the works. We’ll continue to do that and we’ll be very up-front with him, in terms of what we’re thinking and we’ll want to know what he’s thinking, as well.”

Kaepernick and the 49ers agreed to a restructured contract in October. The sides tore up the final four years of Kaepernick’s contract and replaced it with a deal that enables Kaepernick to opt out to become an unrestricted free agent in March. Kaepernick's non-guaranteed scheduled pay is $14.9 million for the 2017 season.

Kaepernick does not currently have agent representation, according to the NFL Players Association.

He started 11 games last season after replacing Blaine Gabbert in the starting lineup and bounced back with a solid statistical season. Kaepernick threw 16 touchdown passes and just four interceptions for a passer rating of 90.7. He also rushed for 468 yards and a career-best 6.8-yards per carry.

MLB players’ union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

MLB players’ union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

NEW YORK -- There won't be any wild pitches on intentional walks this season.

The players' association has agreed to Major League Baseball's proposal to have intentional walks without pitches this year.

"It doesn't seem like that big of a deal. I know they're trying to cut out some of the fat. I'm OK with that," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.

While the union has resisted many of MLB's proposed innovations, such as raising the bottom of the strike zone, installing pitch clocks and limiting trips to the mound, players are willing to accept the intentional walk change.

"As part of a broader discussion with other moving pieces, the answer is yes," union head Tony Clark wrote Wednesday in an email to The Associated Press. "There are details, as part of that discussion, that are still being worked through, however."

The union's decision was first reported by ESPN .

"I'm OK with it. You signal. I don't think that's a big deal," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "For the most part, it's not changing the strategy, it's just kind of speeding things up. I'm good with it."

There were 932 intentional walks last year, including 600 in the National League, where batters are walked to bring the pitcher's slot to the plate.

"You don't want to get your pitcher out of a rhythm, and when you do the intentional walk, I think you can take a pitcher out of his rhythm," Girardi said. "I've often wondered why you don't bring in your shortstop and the pitcher stand at short. Let the shortstop walk him. They're used to playing catch more like that than a pitcher is."

Agreement with the union is required for playing rules changes unless MLB gives one year advance notice, in which case it can unilaterally make alterations. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope Tuesday that ongoing talks would lead to an agreement on other changes but also said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Some changes with video review can be made unilaterally, such as shortening the time to make a challenge.

"I know they were thinking about putting in a 30-second (limit) for managers to make a decision," Francona said. "I actually wish they would. I think it would hustle it up and if we can't tell in 30 seconds, maybe we shouldn't be doing it anyway."