Giants' Bumgarner Move is Right One

Giants' Bumgarner Move is Right One

March 23, 2010GIANTS PAGE
GIANTS VIDEO SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. They said it was his job to lose, and he lost it.Madison Bumgarner, who a month before camp opened was the clear favorite -- a virtual lock -- to claim the Giants fifth-starter job, will instead start the season as an ace. At Triple-A Fresno.Some might view it as a demotion; technically it is, of course. A better viewpoint is that the Giants are smarter than some fans want to give them credit for.Take a peek at the teams early season schedule. Awful lot of days off in there, including four consecutive Thursdays in April. Thats going to give manager Bruce Bochy and pitching coach Dave Righetti the luxuryflexibility to skip the No. 5 spot a few times, keeping the big boys at the front of the rotation on turn.Now, if Bumgarner had carved all spring and proved that even at 20 years old hes ready for regular run in The Show, maybe the Giants hang onto him and simply give the big boys at the front some extra early rest.That, I say, would have been a bad idea.Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Barry Zito and Jonathan Sanchez are working every five days down here. Their arms and bodies are acclimated to it. To change that in the seasons first month, when theyre still working to build arm strength and stamina, would be counter-productive.Also counter-productive would be having Bumgarner on the big league roster but not getting regular work. Dude needs to throw every fifth day, too. Hes no less a creature of habit and routine than the big boys, and sending him to minor league camp Tuesday showed that the Giants have the big and small pictures in mind.So now that race for the No. 5 spot is between Todd Wellemeyer, the very definition of journeyman but having a fantastic spring, and Kevin Pucetas, a 25-year-old prospect with a brilliant minor league record whos been every bit as effective as Wellemeyer.Pucetas is a stud. Wellemeyer is not. Wellemeyer should get the job.Confused? Dont blame you. But check it out:Pucetas, like Bumgarner, is going to be one of the rocks of the big-league rotation at some point, probably soon. Serious trade-bait at worst. And hes a starter -- no question about it -- and thats why he soon needs to be sent to minor league camp as well.Wellemeyer is never going to be a rock of any rotation, but there is value in having a true swingman who can easily and willingly slide from spot starter to long man in the bullpen, and thats exactly what the Giants No. 5 guy will be early on.The real race for the No. 5 spot should take place in Fresno, between Bumgarner and Pucetas. Let them pitch on turn for the first month-and-a-half, and if Wellemeyer is killing it in San Francisco, great. Delay the arb clocks of the kids.If Wellemeyer comes back to earth -- he will eventually, trust me -- then by mid-May well see one of the youngsters and Wellemeyer will become the full-time long man, take his 1 million and like it.You should like all of this, too, Giants fans. Your team is doing it right.-- Mychael UrbanWhat's on your mind? Email Mychael and let him know. He may use it in his weekly Mailbag.

Sharks exorcise MSG demons, take down Rangers


Sharks exorcise MSG demons, take down Rangers


NEW YORK — Logan Couture had a goal and an assist, Martin Jones stopped xx shots and the San Jose Sharks beat the struggling New York Rangers 4-1 on Monday night.

Tim Heed, Joonas Donskoi and Melker Karlsson also scored to help the Sharks win for the third time in four games. Jones got his fourth straight win after losing his first two starts.

Mika Zibanejad scored and Henrik Lundqvist finished with 20 saves for the Rangers, who fell to 2-6-2 on the season. New York finished 0 for 6 on the power play and is 3 for 25 over the last six games.

With the Sharks leading 3-0 after two periods, Couture took the puck away from Lundqvist behind the goal and sent it to Karlsson, who put it in for his second of the season at 2:51 of the third. Couture got his 200th career assist on the play.

San Jose turned the puck over in its defensive zone and Zibanejad snapped a shot into the top right corner to spoil Jones' shutout bid at 4:23 of the final period.

Donskoi increased the Sharks' lead to 3-0 with 38 seconds left in the second as he skated into the right circle and beat Lundqvist glove-side inside the right post.

The Rangers controlled the play for most of the first period while outshooting the Sharks 16-8, but trailed 2-0 after 20 minutes.

Couture, who had his second career hat trick in a loss at the New York Islanders on Saturday night, got San Jose on the scoreboard 1:56 into the game. With Jones pulled for an extra skater on a delayed penalty, Brent Burns sent pass from the right circle up top to Couture, who fired a slap shot from straightaway past Lundqvist.

Jones had two nice saves on back-to-back attempts in close by Pavel Buchnevich with a little more than nine minutes left in the first.

Heed doubled the Sharks' lead with 7:15 left as he brought the puck up the right side and sent a bad-angle shot from near the goal line along the boards. The puck trickled through Lundqvist's pads for the 26-year-old's first career goal in his seventh NHL game.

The Rangers had a two-man advantage for 25 seconds late in the opening period, but Jones stoppedZibanejad's shot from top of the left circle, and Rick Nash missed with an attempt in close.

NOTES: Couture has six goals and three assists in his last four games. ... The Sharks are 30 for 31 on the penalty kill in seven games since giving up three power-play goals in the season- opener against Philadelphia. ... The teams conclude the season series Jan. 25 at San Jose. ... Rangers D Kevin Shattenkirk played in his 500th career regular season game. ... New York F Rick Nash played in his 999th game. ... D Marc Staal played in his 699th game — all with the Rangers — and passed Mark Messier and Steve Vickers for sole possession of 12th place on the franchise list. ... New York has given up 15 goals in the first period this season.


Sharks: At Boston on Thursday night in the fifth of a six-game trip that concludes at Buffalo on Saturday.

Rangers: Host Arizona on Thursday night in the finale of a season-high six-game homestand.

Raiders expect Lynch ruling soon; 'it would be the fairest thing'


Raiders expect Lynch ruling soon; 'it would be the fairest thing'

Running back Marshawn Lynch formally appealed his one-game suspension on Monday afternoon.

The Raiders hope to hear a ruling by Tuesday.

“I think we expect to hear something early in the week, hopefully by tomorrow,” head coach Jack Del Rio said in a Monday press conference. “(It) would be the fairest thing so that the team can prepare.”

That’s the expectation, according to an ESPN report. The Raiders should know by Tuesday whether Lynch’s suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct will stand.

The suspension stems from a Thursday night incident where he left the sidelines to join an on-field fracas involving Raiders offensive linemen and Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters. The third-year pro was penalized for a late hit on Raiders quarterback Derek Carr his linemen didn’t take kindly.

Peters and Lynch are extremely close friends and Oakland natives, and Lynch instinctively went out to protect someone he views as family. He inadvertently grabbed an official by the jersey and let go shortly after. He was flagged and ejected by rule.

He missed most of Thursday’s 31-30 victory over the Chiefs, and the NFL suspended him one game without pay on Friday. That could cost Lynch a $79,411 game check and a $31,250 per-game roster bonus.

ESPN reports that Peters by phone spoke at Lynch’s appeal hearing, where the running back’s team also cited precedent of others contacting an official without getting suspended. Leaving the sideline, however, may not help his appeal.

Del Rio said he hadn’t spoken with Lynch since the ejection.

“I said the other night I was disappointed that we had a player leave the bench,” Del Rio said. “It’s something we talk about – don’t leave the bench area.”

The Raiders ran with Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington after Lynch’s ejection, and combined for 67 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. The pair with shoulder a rushing load Sunday at Buffalo if Lynch is unavailable.

“They don’t have the size and the power but they have a little more quickness, they catch the ball a little easier, better route-runners, things like so,” Del Rio said. “So, if you’re playing a little more wide open, in some respects they give you a little more juice. Marshawn give you the power back when you want to finish people and in tough situations. Those guys give you more than a change of pace.”