Athletics

Sanchez takes first spring loss, Giants fall to K.C.

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Sanchez takes first spring loss, Giants fall to K.C.

March 27, 2011BOXSCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLBPAGE MLBSCOREBOARD
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) The defending champion San Francisco Giants head back to the Bay Area with some uncertainty in their roster.Jonathan Sanchez and a Giants' team made of mostly minor leaguers lost to the Kansas City Royals 7-4 Sunday.Manager Bruce Bochy, though, was thinking about opening day."We've not finalized the team, yet," Bochy said. "We'll go to San Francisco and play a couple of games there. That's how close it is."With injuries to closer Brian Wilson and outfielder Cody Ross leaves two big holes in the lineup.Ross' injury - a torn calf that will keep him out three weeks - could open up a spot for first baseman Brandon Belt, who hit .352 with 23 home runs and 112 RBIs last year in three minor league stops in his first professional season. He is hitting .292 with three home runs, five doubles and 13 RBIs in 26 spring training games, but played only 13 games above Double-A last year."I like what I see from him on both sides of the ball," Bochy said. "He's done a great job at first. He's gives you quality at-bats, good balance up there, good discipline at the plate. You can see why this kid had a good year last year.He said the injury to Ross "does make it easier maybe a little bit" more to keep Belt."We lost a pretty good bat in Cody Ross," Bochy said. "That will come into play when we do make our decisions. It gives us another left-handed bat in the lineup if he's on the club. We do have some other options."Wilson, out with a strained side muscle, played catch for the second straight day. Bochy said Wilson would remain in Arizona, where the weather is better and the Giants can control how they use him on the mound better in extended spring minor league games."Depending on Wilson, we're still looking at the last spot, maybe two in the bullpen," Bochy said.Sanchez, who will be the Giants No. 2 starter behind Tim Lincecum, gave up five runs - four earned - on six hits and a walk, while striking out four. One hit was a three-run homer to Wilson Betemit in the fourth."I made one bad pitch, the home run, that was it," Sanchez said. "Everything else was good. I was down in the zone. My breaking pitch was good. The split was working."Royals left-hander Jeff Francis yielded one run on six hits in five innings, while striking out six and walking none."Francis threw the ball really, really good," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He kept the ball down, changed speeds, commanded the baseball. He's ready to go."Alex Gordon hit a two-run homer off Giants reliever Ramon Ramirez in the eighth. Gordon is hitting .365 with five home runs and 22 RBIs."He's been as good as we hoped he could be this spring," Yost said. "He's been very impressive, very encouraging and (I'm) excited to see what he can do during the year"NOTES: Royals CF Melky Cabrera had two doubles and raised his Catcus League-leading average to .474. The Royals made two roster moves, optioning OF Lorenzo Cain to Triple-A Omaha and returning Rule 5 draft pick LHP Robert Fish to the Los Angeles Angels.

The young A's player that could be biggest beneficiary of Rajai Davis trade

The young A's player that could be biggest beneficiary of Rajai Davis trade

The A's traded veteran center fielder Rajai Davis to the Red Sox on Wednesday afternoon, clearing yet another veteran from their roster.

In return they receive 18-year-old outfielder Rafael Rincones, a Venezuela native currently playing in the Dominican Summer League.

The move doesn't come as a shock in the grand scheme of things. Davis, 36, is signed only through this season and didn't fit in the plans of Oakland's current youth movement. He did, however, have to clear waivers before this move could happen. And he joins Yonder Alonso as the second veteran the A's have shipped off after the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

The move opens up the possibility of Chad Pinder getting some playing time in center field against left-handers, as manager Bob Melvin has said he'd like to get Pinder some starts out there.

With recently promoted Boog Powell playing well in center, there's the chance he could draw some starts against lefties too, so it may not be a straight platoon. Pinder also sees playing time in right field, shortstop and second base.

Teams will continue to call about Klay Thompson and Warriors will keep laughing

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AP

Teams will continue to call about Klay Thompson and Warriors will keep laughing

There is a single reason teams keep sniffing out the availability of Klay Thompson, and it’s far more easily understood than the myriad reasons the Warriors keep telling them no.

No fewer than four teams have either reached out or considered reaching out, the latest being revealed as the detested Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Warriors, of course, declined them, perhaps after general manager Bob Myers put Cavs GM Koby Altman on speakerphone so everybody at Warriors HQ could double over with team-building laughter.

The Cavs got the same answer as was previously heard by the Pacers and the Timberwolves, and maybe even the Celtics, whose interest was rumored though never actually substantiated.

All four teams, though, along with maybe few others, all reached the same conclusion. They looked at the Warriors, studied their prime core, and concluded that Thompson was the most available member.

Clearly more available than Stephen Curry, who is the face of the franchise.

Likely more available than Draymond Green, whose two-way versatility and temperament are vital to the grand ambitions of the Warriors.

And infinitely more available than Kevin Durant, who arrived two years after Minnesota shot its shot -- by dangling Kevin Love -- and evolved into their most impressive overall player.

So it’s Thompson who gets his tires kicked. He’s 27 years old, has two years remaining on his contract and, most germane, seems to be the least emotionally invested star in the organization. That is may not be true, but it’s an easy conclusion based on appearances and the misguided thought that the Warriors don’t value him as much as they do the others.

Wrong.

“It's really cool,” Thompson said Wednesday, referring to being pursued and prized. “It shows the Warriors believe in me and these other teams want me to be a part of their success. So I appreciate it. I've been in trade rumors forever. Everyone has. Except for maybe LeBron James, Steph — well, even Steph early in his career.”

Any team that asks about Thompson is aware that the Thompson-Love deal gained considerable traction in 2014 before it was vetoed by then-adviser Jerry West and newly hired head coach Steve Kerr.

If the Warriors were thinking about it then, why not later?

They have their reasons, beginning with the fact they’ve experienced more success over the past three seasons than at any time in franchise history, winning two championships in three seasons and becoming a regular in the NBA Finals. Why even consider breaking the squad that so clearly is the cream of the NBA?

Another reason is that the Warriors have come to fully understand Thompson’s role in their competitive prosperity. He’s a gunslinger that manages to be highly productive without spending much time with the ball, and his fabulous defense makes that end of the court so much easier for Curry. The Thompson-Curry backcourt is the best in the league and already in the discussion for the best ever.

There is another component that is rather understated. Thompson is the ultimate zero-maintenance All-Star. In a locker room of varied personalities, some loud, nearly all opinionated, he’s like a breeze that is cool enough be felt yet never so much it feels imposing.

The Warriors have come to appreciate Thompson being the closest thing to a wind-up All-Star in a league where that is exceedingly rare. Give him a jersey, a ball and some shoes and let him go.

So, no, he’s not leaving anytime soon. The only way he goes before he becomes a free agent in 2019 -- at which time he’s likely to take a peep around the NBA -- is if the Warriors somehow take a tumble in the standings or try to low-ball him.

Until then, teams may continue to ask. They have to as a strategy to improve themselves while diminishing the league’s powerhouse. Understanding this, the Warriors will take the calls and appreciate the humor of it all.