Sandoval shines, Giants beat Rangers 11-8


Sandoval shines, Giants beat Rangers 11-8

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) San Francisco right-hander Ryan Vogelsong is enjoying every moment of his attempt to make it back to the major leagues for the first time in five years."I'm having a lot of fun," Vogelsong said after throwing four strong innings in the Giants' 11-8 win over the Texas Rangers on Sunday. "The days I'm pitching I'm super excited. I can't wait. Even between innings I can't wait to get back on the mound."Vogelsong last appeared in a regular-season game when he made 20 appearances for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2006. He then signed a one-year deal with the Hanshin Tigers of the Japanese Central League, re-upped for a second year and played a third season with the Orix Buffaloes.The 33-year-old Vogelsong returned to the states last season, trying and failing to earn a job with the Philadelphia Phillies. He agreed to a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Angels in July and joined the Giants in January.Vogelsong, a non-roster invitee to San Francisco's camp, said he's a different pitcher than the one who went 10-22 with a 5.86 ERA in his first 120 major league appearances over six seasons."It's fun to feel the competition between me and the hitters," Vogelsong said. "Before, it wasn't a competition. It was just the hitters. Now I'm enjoying getting into the chess match with them."Vogelsong pointed to Sunday's outing as a sign of his maturity. The Rangers loaded the bases with three infield singles into the third inning, including a bunt from Julio Borbon that danced along the third-base line before rolling to a stop a few feet in front of the bag. But Vogelsong managed to limit the damage to one run."In the past when that happened I would have been trying to throw the ball harder, to make it move, to try and get them to pop it up," Vogelsong said. "I'm able to slow the game down better now. I just try to throw strikes, pound the strike zone, and let the ball do what it's going to do."Vogelsong, trying to win a spot as a long reliever, allowed two runs and four hits. He threw 45 of his 67 pitches for strikes.Rangers starter Tommy Hunter pitched 3 2-3 innings, allowing seven runs - four earned - and nine hits."He got to two outs a couple of times, two strikes, and just couldn't put them away," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He's got to work on that third out. We definitely need to see a better job of that going forward."Hunter, the Rangers' likely third or fourth starter, has surrendered 11 runs, eight earned, and 14 hits in 6 2-3 innings over his last two starts, both against the World Series champion Giants."This spring stinks," Hunter said.Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval went 2 for 3 with an RBI triple. He also scored twice and swiped a base.Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus was 2 for 4 with a triple and five RBIs, and David Murphy homered.NOTES: The game was played in front of a stadium-record crowd of 12,014. ... Rangers RHP Brandon Webb threw a 61-pitch session of live batting practice. Next up for Webb is another session of batting practice Wednesday and a possible appearance in a simulated game. ... Giants CF Andres Torres had a pair of hits and scored a run. ... Giants RF Nate Schierholtz had a productive day. He cut down Andrus at third in the fifth inning on a perfect throw after Josh Hamilton singled, then homered in the sixth against Rangers LHP Arthur Rhodes. ... 3B Adrian Beltre is expected to make his Texas debut on Monday.

Boedker tops list of disappointing Sharks depth forwards

Boedker tops list of disappointing Sharks depth forwards

SAN JOSE – The Sharks didn’t make any blockbuster moves last summer, content to make another run in 2016-17 with largely the same group that came within two wins of capturing the Stanley Cup.

They still acquired a notable player, though, when Mikkel Boedker was signed on July 1 to add an element that the Sharks knew they needed more of moving forward – speed. Boedker was expected to make the team faster, after the Sharks were exposed for not having enough of that against Pittsburgh in the NHL’s final round, as well as play in a top six role. 

At the time, it was hailed as a slick, under-the-radar move that wasn’t going to change the dynamic of the club but could help push it over the top.

When Boedker was a healthy scratch in games three and four of the first round against Edmonton, the evidence became clear, though, that this was a decision that fell flat on its face. 

Frankly, Boedker – who is signed for three more years with a $4 million salary cap hit – looks more like the second coming of Marty Havlat in a Sharks sweater than anything else. You know the skill is there, but the desire to use it on a nightly basis while showing any semblance of a battle level is lacking. 

Should the Sharks give Boedker another chance next season, or should they do everything in their power to try and move him? That’s a question that will likely be debated in the front office over the next several weeks.

On get-away day on Monday, indications were that the Sharks were planning on sticking with the 27-year-old, who finished with 26 points in the regular season (10g, 16a) and added one goal and one assist in four games in the playoffs.

“He has the things we’re looking for: his career scoring average, his speed, [penalty killing] ability,” general manager Doug Wilson said. “Did he meet the expectations that he had for himself [or] that we had for him? No. Can we get that out of him? Pete [DeBoer] believes we can.”

DeBoer has known Boedker since he played for him in 2007-08 in Kitchener (OHL). Despite scratching him in the playoffs, DeBoer said he saw “huge improvement” in Boedker throughout the course of the season after the forward spent nearly all of his NHL career in Arizona.

“There was an adjustment. He’s played 6-7 years a certain way in the NHL,” DeBoer said. “We’ve asked him to play differently here, and there was an adjustment.”

Boedker still believes that he can be a fit in San Jose.

“I think it will be and it can be,” he said. “It’s learning period, but you’ve also got to look in the mirror yourself and see what you can change and what assets you need to bring. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m ready to do that.”

The list of Sharks depth forwads that had frustrating seasons hardly begins and ends with Boedker, though.

Veteran Joel Ward’s production dipped from 43 points last season to 29 in 2016-17, although that probably isn’t too surprising considering he’s 36. Tomas Hertl is proving to be a streaky player, too, although his season was interrupted by another a knee injury.

The bigger disappointment came from players like Chris Tierney and Joonas Donskoi, who both made big impressions in the 2016 playoffs but struggled to produce consistent offense this year. Both were mentioned by name by DeBoer on Monday.

There are some promising youngsters in the pipeline like Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and Marcus Sorensen, but it’s still too early to project any of them as can’t-miss scorers at the NHL level.

“I think we’ve got a large group of guys that I like, but need to step up,” DeBoer said. “Is Sorensen [like] Donskoi next year, where he takes a step back, or [does he take a] step forward? We’ve got a lot of guys that there’s a lot of potential there – Chris Tierney. 

“There’s a lot of those guys, but they need to have big summers and take a step, and show that they’re not just one season or one month players.”

Down on the Farm: Williamson breaks out, hits go-ahead grand slam

Down on the Farm: Williamson breaks out, hits go-ahead grand slam

Going into the 2017 season, the Giants had a pretty simple plan to find their Opening Day left fielder -- competition. The plan was for Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson, two players who showed plenty of pop in Triple-A, to win the job. 

“In a perfect world, one guy would win the job,” GM Bobby Evans said before spring training. “You’re not necessarily looking for a platoon. You’re looking for one guy to win the job.”

Well, sometimes plans take wild turns and plenty of them. Parker is on the 60-day DL with a broken right clavicle and Williamson is on a rehab assignment after straining his left quadriceps in spring training. The Giants' left fielder is now currently infielder Eduardo Nunez with the promotion of top prospect Christian Arroyo. 

Williamson, 26, started his rehab assignment one week ago in Advanced Single-A with the San Jose Giants. In two games, he went 1-for-6 with three strikeouts. Still, the Giants advanced Williamson's rehab and assigned him to Triple-A with the Sacramento River Cats. 

The results continued to waver for Williamson, going hitless in his first eight at-bats with two more strikeouts. On Tuesday, Williamson broke out of his slump and in grand fashion. 

Williamson powered the River Cats to an 11-1 win over the Las Vegas 51s by going 3-for-4 with five RBI and a run scored. In the seventh inning, Williamson showed his knack for the long ball that has always intrigued the Giants. 

With the scored all tied up at one run apiece in the bottom of the seventh inning, Las Vegas took a roll of the dice and intentionally walked Jae-Gyun Hawang to load the bases for Williamson. On the first pitch he saw from Erik Goeddel, Williamson launced a grand slam over the left-center field wall, giving the River Cats a 5-1 lead. 

He collected his fifth and final RBI on a line-drive single to center field the next inning. 

Williamson made his mark during the spring training competition. Over 11 games, he hit .324 and belted two home runs. He also hit six home runs in only 54 games last season in the majors. 

The Giants currently rank dead last in the National League -- second in all of baseball behind just the Red Sox -- with only 13 home runs this season. Their 72 runs in 22 games puts them second to last in the NL, tied with the Padres. Williamson's fit on the team is not as clear as it was headed into the spring, but whenever he does arrive, he is sure to add some extra pop that this lineup can always use. 

Around The Horn

—Giants minor leaguer and Walnut Creek native, Domenic Mazza, pitched a perfect game for the Augusta GreenJackets Tuesday night. It took him only 85 pitches. Check out the final out, right here

—Jae-Gyun Hwang is swinging a hot bat right now for the River Cats. Hwang is hitting exactly .300 on the year after three straight two-hit games before going 1-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI in Tuesday's win. 

—Bryan Reynolds, the Giants' top pick in the 2016 draft is also swinging a hot stick. He now has six three-hit games this season and the switch hitter is slashing .309/.365/.441 in 16 games for the San Jose Giants.