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Janikowski issues thank you statement, 'honor and a privilege' being a Raider


Janikowski issues thank you statement, 'honor and a privilege' being a Raider

Sebastian Janikowski will reach unrestricted free agency for the first time in almost two decades. He spent 18 years with the Raiders, working on a rookie deal and three straight contract extensions.

The Silver and Black said last week they’ll let Janikowski walk after his deal expires next month.

Janikowski has remained quiet since expected news broke that he would be moving on, but broke that silence with a statement issued through the Raiders on Wednesday afternoon.

“It hardly seems like 18 years ago that my name was called as a first round draft pick by Al Davis to play for the Oakland Raiders. This was my dream come true. I was thrilled to know that I was chosen to be a Raider.

“At the age of 16, my father, mother and I had come to America from Poland in hopes of a better life. This was my big opportunity. I was given a chance to achieve the great American dream.

"From my first day in training camp, I knew I was where I belonged. I loved every minute of it. I will always remember how Al Davis made me feel that he truly believed and had confidence in me. The Davis family, the coaching staff, my teammates, and the Raider Nation have always stood with me, supported me, and believed in me. For this, I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart.

“I feel as if I have grown up as an Oakland Raider. Through this great journey I met and married my wife, and we have been blessed with three beautiful little girls.

“I always knew that one day my time with the Oakland Raiders would come to an end, but I have to say, that never would have been too soon. It has been an honor and a privilege to wear the Silver and Black for these past 18 years. Words cannot express my gratitude to Mark Davis and the Raider Nation. No one could have said it better than Mr. Davis, but it is with pride and enthusiasm that I would tell my teammates to "Just win, baby!"

Janikowsi's healthy again after missing the 2017 season with a disc issue in his back. He wants to keep playing, a real prospect considering the power left in his leg.

The Raiders were happy with Giorgio Tavecchio’s performance last year. The 27-year old converted 16-of-21 field goals, though he cooled off some after a hot start. He’ll likely face competition this offseason. A free agent should join the roster, with the victor assuming kicking duties in 2018.

Squatting Panda: Pablo Sandoval to catch bullpen sessions this spring


Squatting Panda: Pablo Sandoval to catch bullpen sessions this spring

SCOTTSDALE — On his first day in camp, Pablo Sandoval showed reporters that in addition to his third base and first base gloves, he was breaking in a catcher’s glove. That was enough to get Sandoval, the emergency catcher this season, signed up to squat for a few bullpen sessions this spring. 

“He showed me the glove,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “That’s all I need.”

Sandoval is also carrying an outfield glove this spring ...

“He doesn’t need to show me that glove,” Bochy said quickly.

It turns out Bochy actually has seen Sandoval play the outfield. The two went to Taiwan with other big leaguers a few years ago to play exhibition games and Sandoval wanted to try the outfield. A line drive was hit into the gap and Sandoval didn’t move, simply looking at center fielder Curtis Granderson, who went and chased it down.

Sandoval caught 176 games in the minors but admitted it has been a while since he has even caught a bullpen session. Bochy said that history does not make Sandoval any more likely to actually catch in a game, but he certainly is more qualified than Bochy’s past emergency catchers. When Buster Posey got dinged up early last year at Coors Field, Bochy said his emergency guy would be Aaron Hill.

"He just found out today that he's our third catcher," Bochy joked that day. 

--- Sandoval and Kelby Tomlinson came to camp with a leg up on others for bench spots, and Bochy said Tomlinson will get a lot of work at shortstop this spring. That's key for his job security, as the Giants don't really have a solid backup option there since Eduardo Nuñez remains in Boston. Chase d'Arnaud, Josh Rutledge and Alen Hanson are among the veterans in camp fighting for that job. Hanson has been an early standout because of his speed. 

--- Ty Blach will start the Cactus League opener on Friday and Madison Bumgarner will start Sunday, but the rest of the schedule hasn't been revealed yet. Some members of the rotation are on different schedules. Jeff Samardzija will throw a live BP session on Friday and Johnny Cueto will throw his second bullpen session Thursday. He was slowed by the flu a couple weeks ago. 

--- If you're coming out to Scottsdale this weekend, don't expect to see Posey or Evan Longoria. Posey will sit at least the first three games and it sounds like Longoria will, too. Because there is less than a week between reporting day and the first game, MLB isn't being strict on the rule that says you have to have four starters in the lineup. Bochy intends to take advantage and give his older players plenty of rest. 

--- Julian Fernandez is all ready to go after cutting his finger a few days back. Fernandez is a Rule 5 pick, so the Giants will need to see him early and often. 

--- Hard-throwing right-hander Chase Johnson said his recovery from Tommy John surgery is going so well that he'll take the mound at the 11-month mark. Johnson expects to throw a couple of innings on the minor league side this spring. He made six appearances in Triple-A last season before having surgery. 

--- In case you missed it, Steven Duggar was the latest podcast guest. You can stream it here or download it on iTunes here. 

--- It was a slow day at camp, so I followed Posey around (sorry, Buster). Check out my Instagram story (pavlovicnbcs) for a bunch of photos and videos from his day at Scottsdale Stadium.

JaVale McGee: Warriors want playoffs to arrive, 'we're definitely anxious'


JaVale McGee: Warriors want playoffs to arrive, 'we're definitely anxious'

Did you know that the Warriors aren't taking the regular season as seriously this year?

Of course you knew that already.

During the All-Star break, JaVale McGee told Vice Sports about the state of the team right now.

"I feel like we’re definitely anxious," McGee explained. "I feel like everybody’s going through the season like 'Playoffs. Hurry. Up.' Because it’s a whole different atmosphere. People think that because we went 16-1 last year, like it was easy. It wasn’t easy.

"Those teams were playing hard. We were just, everybody was just so in sync and we were all in playoff mode. It was just amazing like, everybody was like 'Yo, we’re in the playoffs, like, it’s time.'

"The regular season wasn’t anything. When the playoffs come around it doesn’t matter what your record is, and that’s the thing that I admire about the guys. They don’t care what the record is. They don’t care if we went undefeated."

The Warriors find themselves trailing the Rockets by a half game for the top seed in the Western Conference.

They have struggled in the first quarter of games all season and the defense has slipped.

But Steve Kerr is optimistic that Golden State is "primed to really take off."

It just may not happen as soon as Warriors fans are hoping.

"We just know that in the playoffs you definitely have to step it up," McGee added.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller