Urban: New Feature -- Urbs' Daily 5


Urban: New Feature -- Urbs' Daily 5

Sept. 1, 2011


Follow @MUrbanCSNMychael Urban

To celebrate the start of the final month of Major League Baseball's regular season, today we introduce "Urbs' Daily 5," a list of five MLB-related questions presented by CSNBayArea.com Insider Mychael Urban to initiate debate, discourse and discussion among the game's most passionate fans. Look for it every Monday through Friday, and be sure to post your answers to the questions in the "Comments" section below.1) When the Giants parted ways with Aaron Rowand and Miguel Tejada on Wednesday, eating more than 15 million in the process, was it more about performance or attitude?
Obviously, neither player lived up to the contract he was given; performance played a huge role here. But Tejada's recent response to being asked to bunt in a pinch-hitting appearance was a horrible look, and while Rowand was careful not to air any grievances over playing time in public, it's no secret that he was unhappy with his role.

2) If Ozzie Guillen's relationship with White Sox general manager Kenny Williams is beyond repair and he's available this offseason, would A's GM Billy Beane roll the dice, break form and hire the controversial South Side skipper for 2012?
Fair or not, the common perception is that Beane, as strong a personality as you'll find among men in his role, would prefer to have a manager he can control. Guillen, clearly, would not be that. But he'd certainly represent a dramatic departure from the status quo, and the status quo has been as vanilla as Guillen is Ben & Jerry's "Phish Food."3) If the Phillies don't win it all this year, will their season be considered a flop? In short, is it World Series or bust?
Widely considered the best team in the game, Philadelphia is running away with the National League East behind the most imposing starting staff in recent memory. If they don't at least win the National League pennant, the city will be devastated.4) Which is the most dangerous Wild Card contender in the game this season?
Let's be honest: The Braves are going to be the NL's WC rep, and it'll be the Yankees or Red Sox in the American League. All three have obvious strengths and flaws.5) If you had one game to win, who'd be your starting pitcher?
Roy Halladay, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, Tim Lincecum, CC Sabathia and Felix Hernandez are among the obvious choices. Got another? They're all rested and ready to rock; you're in a do-or-die situation. Make the call.Don't forget to leave your thoughts, folks. Registering takes less than a minute and the brain power of a squirrel. Let us know how you'd handle today's Daily 5.

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.