Urban: 'Big-league Brandon' a no-brainer for Bochy


Urban: 'Big-league Brandon' a no-brainer for Bochy

June 8, 2011

Thanks to wave after wave of injuries, inconsistent play and epic slumps, Giants manager Bruce Bochy hasn't had the luxury of many "no-brainer" decisions this year.Starting Tim Lincecum on Opening Day was one. Brian Wilson getting the ball in the ninth inning of a close game is one of the skipper's few regular "duhs." Ditto penciling in Freddy Sanchez at second base -- as long as he's healthy.Pretty much everything else that's crossed Bochy's plate has required thoughtful consideration, consternation, concentration.Until now. Add to the list of locks: rookie Brandon Crawford as the starting shortstop.Bochy won't come right out and say it yet, but after Crawford on Wednesday turned in the defensive play of the game, singled, tripled in the go-ahead run in the seventh and scored a big insurance run moments later in San Francisco's 3-1 victory over the Nationals, he came close.
RECAP: Cain brilliant, Giants take series from Nationals
Bochy barely contained a smile when he was asked, point-blank, if Crawford still will be his guy when third baseman Pablo Sandoval returns from his minor-league rehab stint."I'll say he'll be there quite a bit," Bochy said, mindful as always not to ruffle any veteran feathers. "You have to be impressed with the job he's done out there."Even the veteran whose feathers figure to be most ruffled, Miguel Tejada, is impressed."Oh, man," Tejada said, eyes wide in genuine admirationamazement upon being asked about Crawford, who snapped out of a 3-for-16 homestand slide Wednesday. "He's going to be special, man. Real special."Thing is, Crawford's already looking like something special. That "it" people talk about? Crawford has it, and it comes through in body language that exudes supreme confidence without a whiff of arrogance. A member of Single-A San Jose's championship club last season, and again immediately before being called up May 11, Crawford is a prospect no longer.He's Big-League Brandon."He believes," Bochy said. "He's got that sense of belonging."URBAN: The Cain & Crawford show
His skills belong at this level, too. The diving play he made to stop a sure RBI single from shooting into center field in the top of the seventh was impressive on its own; that he quickly bounced to his feet and threw a rocket to first base for the out was next-level stuff."That play up the middle," Bochy said with a subtle shake of his head, "we haven't seen that in a while."Certainly not from Tejada, who was moved to third base when Sandoval, who is targeting next Tuesday, returns to the roster.And when that happens -- it's a no-brainer, right? -- Tejada will move to the bench.

Casspi thanks Kings after trade to Pelicans: 'Definitely isn't easy'


Casspi thanks Kings after trade to Pelicans: 'Definitely isn't easy'

The Kings traded Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, prompting the forward to post a heartfelt message on his Instagram account.

I want to thank the Sacramento Kings organization for the opportunity to play basketball in front of the great fans of Sacramento. My wife and I felt in Sacramento like being home and this is something we both will cherish for ever. This definitely isn't easy for me and my family to leave, and you all know how much I love our city, organization and fans but the time has come. I want to wish nothing but success to my Kings. I will definitely will follow and cheer from afar. 
Always a big part of my heart, 
Omri #18

Casspi, 28, averaged 5.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 18 minutes per game for the Kings this year.

A's spring training Day 7: Rosales readies himself everywhere

A's spring training Day 7: Rosales readies himself everywhere

MESA, Ariz. — Adam Rosales has a real simple plan for which infield position he chooses to try to get work at.

“Wherever there’s less guys, I go over there,” he explained with a smile.

The sun came out and the A’s finally got on the field for their first full-squad workout Monday after being rained out Sunday. That meant Rosales, back for his second go-round as an Athletic, got his first chance to prepare for what figures to be a super-utility role, which is how he’s carved out a nine-year major league career.

All indications are that he’ll be the primary backup infielder, capable of spelling Jed Lowrie at second base, Marcus Semien at shortstop, Trevor Plouffe at third and even fill in at first base or left field in a pinch.

Though Rosales, who spent 2010-12 with Oakland and re-signed in January on a one-year $1.25 million deal, is well-versed in preparing himself all over the diamond, one position in particular is one that he says is most difficult to master in limited time.

“Shortstop,” he offered without hesitation. “There’s a lot more going on there, a lot less room for error. At shortstop, especially with a guy like Mike Trout running, you’ve got to be in good rhythm, good timing, get rid of the ball and make an accurate throw.”

Depending on how the A’s prioritize their 25-man roster, Rosales could very well be the only backup infielder. That means fellow infielders Joey Wendle and Chad Pinder would start in the minors if the A’s were to keep a fifth outfielder or third catcher. But because the A’s have some players who can fill in at multiple spots, there’s numerous ways they can choose to configure the roster when it comes time to pare it down.

Rosales, 33, said walking back into the A’s clubhouse for the first time made him “feel like I’m back home.” So much of the support staff — equipment guys, clubhouse guys — are the same as when he was here before. He was also happy to see former infield mate Mark Ellis walk through the door Sunday. He says Ellis, a teammate from 2010-11, instilled in him the importance of being a great defender. Ellis is working as a part-time spring instructor.

“He told me, the No. 1 reason he was in the big leagues was because of this,” Rosales said, holding up his glove. “I was such a young player then. I’d always work with him, how to turn double plays. Just to have him around is awesome.”

NOTEWORTHY: Sonny Gray and Kendall Graveman were among the pitchers who faced hitters for the first time this season. Bruce Maxwell caught Gray, his first time behind the plate with Gray other than the one inning Gray threw in an abbreviated start at Anaheim toward the end of last season. Maxwell said Gray’s changeup in particular looked good.

Manager Bob Melvin has been very impressed early on with Graveman’s command. Graveman said he’s trying to improve his changeup, in an effort to induce weak contact from righties and get them on the their front foot, which could then make him more effective on the inside corner.

CAMP BATTLE: There could be a good fight for the seventh and final spot in the bullpen, and it would seem being left-handed could give someone an edge. Sean Doolittle is the only lefty currently projected among the A’s top six relievers. Melvin had good things to say about Daniel Coulombe, a lefty who made 35 appearances in relief last year and also saw a bit of time with Oakland in 2015. Coulombe posted a 4.53 ERA last season but struck out 54 in 47 2/3 innings.