Urban: Torres' Pain Opens Door For Would-Be Heroes

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Urban: Torres' Pain Opens Door For Would-Be Heroes

Sept. 12,2010
GIANTS PAGE GIANTSVIDEO
Mychael UrbanCSNBayArea.com

SAN DIEGO --Before the first pitch was thrown Sunday, the Giants suffered a significantloss: Center fielderleadoff mansparkplug Andres Torres.Rushed to alocal hospital for an emergency appendectomy, Torres is expected to miss 10-14days. Its a potentially devastating blow for the Giants, because while muchhas been made of their outfield depth in general, deep in center field they arenot.Nor are theychock full of leadoff candidates. Hence, the return of Aaron Rowand to the roleSunday for the finale of the big four-game series against the host Padres atPETCO Park.The options incenter? Rowand and Cody Ross, with Darren Ford available in the event offurther emergencies.Rowand is aformer Gold Glover out there, but hes no longer an elite defender. Solid,though, as long as hes throwing to the right base and hitting cutoff men.Ross can playall over the outfield, but hes played more in center as a big leaguer thananywhere else. He runs better than Rowand and has a more consistent arm.Neither of them,however, is on Torres level -- and that much will be painfully apparent whenthe Giants get back to the wide-open spaces of AT&T Park. Torres, were hea bigger name with a longer resume, would be a very strong Gold Glovecandidate. Not only does he make a ton of spectacular plays, but he also makesthe right play, the right throw, and hemakes it far easier for manager Bruce Bochy to play range-challenged PatBurrell and Jose Guillen on the outfield corners.Offensively,Torres will be only slightly easier to replace. Hes been a great story allyear, riding white-hot streaks into conversations about who might be the teamsmost valuable player. But hes also prone to slumps, and hes been slumping oflate, batting .114 through the first nine games of the 10-game road trip thatended Sunday.If Rowand startsin center, hell probably lead off if only because hes the one guy on the teamwith significant recent experience at it, and itd be a heck of a story itselfif Rowand got hot and played a key role down the stretch.If Ross startsin center, perhaps Freddy Sanchez moves up from the No. 2 hole.Ford? Probablytoo much to ask of the kid to play a starting role during a pennant race.Better to keep him in a position to succeed, i.e., trying to impact games latewith his legs.No matter whatthe Giants do in Torres absence, the development is a bummer. But whats apennant race without a little adversity? Besides, adversity opens the door forunsung heroes, and whats a pennant race without one or two of those?

Did Kendrick Lamar take shot at Kevin Durant on latest single?

Did Kendrick Lamar take shot at Kevin Durant on latest single?

Hip hop artist Kendrick Lamar's new album "The Heart Part 4" drops on April 7, but his lyrics are already making waves.

Lamar, who hails from Compton, California, appears to take a shot at Kevin Durant for his decision to leave the Thunder and join the Warriors this past offseason in free agency.

From the single titled "IV":

     Tables turned, lessons learned, my best look
     You jumped sides on me, now you 'bout to meet Westbrook
     Go celebrate with your team and let victory vouch you
     Just know the next game played, I might slap the s--- out you
     Technical foul, I'm flagrant, I'm foul
     They throwin' me out, you throw in the towel

If the Warriors face the Thunder again this season, it will be in a playoff series. Golden State swept Oklahoma City 4-0 during the regular season, winning 122-96 on Nov. 3, 121-100 on Jan. 18, 130-114 on Feb. 11, and 111-95 on March 20

Their average margin of victory was just under 20.

Why the Raiders 2013 draft class was disbanded

Why the Raiders 2013 draft class was disbanded

Reggie McKenzie has owned three top 5 picks since becoming Raiders general manager. He used one on Khalil Mack in 2014, another on Amari Cooper a year later. McKenzie got a defensive player of the year and a two-time Pro Bowl receiver.

Pretty nice haul.

His first big draft pick came in 2013, when a 4-12 record the previous year earned the No. 3 overall selection. He turned that into the No. 12 and No. 42 overall selections – the Raiders didn’t have a second-round pick, and also gave up a fifth-rounder in the deal – that garnered cornerback DJ Hayden and Menelik Watson.

Both guys were beset by injury early on, setbacks that kept them from realizing potential identified during the pre-draft process. The Raiders got some quality players from the 2013 draft class – Latavius Murray was a two-year starter and Pro Bowl rusher -- but none of them remain Raiders after their rookie contracts.

Sixth-round tight end Mychal Rivera was the last leave, signing with Jacksonville on Wednesday. The Raiders wanted a few back – Watson and Stacy McGee, in particular – but all of them ended up elsewhere.

That’s not ideal. McKenzie prefers to draft, develop and reward. That didn’t happen for his 2013 draft class. While he didn’t have a first or second round pick, the 2012 draft class has been gone some time now.

He compensated well for that veteran talent void in free agency, bringing in Bruce Irvin, Kelechi Osemele and others of that age.

McKenzie’s draft record after 2013 has improved dramatically. A 2014 group that includes Mack, Derek Carr and Gabe Jackson was franchise altering. The 2015 bunch stands strong, and 2016 has talent but can’t be evaluated quite yet.

Let’s take a look at the 2013 draft class and why it didn’t work out:

CB DJ Hayden (No. 12 overall)
Current team:
Detroit (1 year deal, $3.75 million; $2.25 million guaranteed)
Comment: The Raiders didn’t pick up Hayden’s fifth-year option, proof their first-round pick didn’t work out as planned. Hayden was drafted despite a heart condition stemming from a practice injury in college, but a series of soft-tissue injuries slowed him down. He was ineffective at times, though he played better in his final season as a nickel back.

OL Menelik Watson (No. 42 overall)
Current team:
Denver (3 year deal, $18.3 million, $5.5 guaranteed)
Comment: Watson was an athletic, nasty offensive lineman the Raiders hoped to keep, someone who showed real potential when healthy. Those moments didn’t come often for a player who lost 2015 to injury and never made it through a full season.

LB Sio Moore (No. 66 overall)
Current team:
Free agent
Comment: Moore made an instant impact as a rookie working off the edge. He started on the weakside in 2014, but never seemed to recover from a late-season hip injury. He didn’t fit in well with new head coach Jack Del Rio, and he was traded to Indianapolis before the 2015 season began, he has bounced around ever since, playing as a reserve and special teams player. He remains on the open market.

QB Tyler Wilson (No. 112 overall)
Current team:
Out of football
Comment: Tyler Wilson never fit in at the NFL level and didn’t give the Raiders anything for a mid-round selection. Wilson lost his No. 3 job to undrafted rookie Matt McGloin, spent most of 2013 on the practice squad, and was signed by Tennessee late in the year. Wilson was the highest 2013 draft pick to not make the opening day roster.

TE Nick Kasa (No. 172 overall)
Current team:
Out of football
Comment: The converted defensive end struggled with injury, and suffered a season-ending knee injury during the 2014 preseason. He spent the year on injured reserve and didn’t return to the active roster.

RB Latavius Murray (No. 181 overall)
Current team:
Minnesota Vikings (Three year deal, $15 million, $3.4 million fully guaranteed)
Comment: Murray was the most productive player in the draft class. He missed his rookie year with an ankle injury, but assumed the starting spot by the end of his second season. Murray exceeded 1,000 yards and made the Pro Bowl in 2015, and had nearly 800 yards and 12 touchdowns the following year. He wasn’t a perfect scheme fit for the Raiders, who didn’t pursue him once he hit the open market. Murray signed with the Vikings, and should be a major contributor in that offense.

TE Mychal Rivera (No. 184 overall)
Current team:
Jacksonville Jaguars (Two year deal, worth up to $6.75 million)
Comment: Rivera was a vital receiving option on bad Raiders teams, but fell out of favor under Jack Del Rio. That cut his opportunities way down, giving way to 2015 third-round pick Clive Walford. Rivera has receiving skill but isn’t much of a blocker, and his exit was no a surprise after he was a healthy scratch several times in 2016.

DT Stacy McGee (No. 205 overall)
Current team:
Washington (Five year deal, $25 million, $9 million guaranteed
Comment: McGee flashed interior talent when healthy in 2016, and cashed in with Washington on the first day of unrestricted free agency. The Raiders hoped to bring him back, but he got far more than they were willing to pay. McGee developed well during his time in Oakland, which ultimately priced him out of town.

WR Brice Butler (No. 209 overall)
Current team:
Dallas Cowboys (One year deal, $1.1 million, $300,000 guaranteed)
Comment: Butler was an occasional contributor during two seasons with the Raiders, though the athletic pass catcher was a bit too inconsistent. He finished the 2015 as the fifth receiver, and McKenzie got something for him via trade. Butler remains a Cowboy, and signed a new contract with them this offseason.

DE David Bass No. 233 overall)
Current team:
Free agent
Comment: Bass was cut after the 2013 preseason, but he hung on during the next four seasons with Chicago and Tennessee as a reserve and special teams player.