EXTRA BAGGS: Bochy says Sandoval must focus on baseball, etc.


EXTRA BAGGS: Bochy says Sandoval must focus on baseball, etc.


SAN FRANCISCO It should have been a day of progress for PabloSandoval, who batted third as the designated hitter for Single-A San Jose whilebeginning his minor league rehab assignment on Saturday.

Instead, as CSN Bay Area first reported, Sandoval and theGiants face the serious matter of a sexual assault investigation.

Giants officials and coaches already were not pleased withSandovals weight, which has become an issue again. Now their All-Star thirdbaseman faces another major impediment. And while there are plenty of missingfacts, club officials are not happy that Sandoval would even put himself inthis kind of position to have his actions questioned.

Manager Bruce Bochy said Sandoval has to focus on baseball.

Well, he needs to, said Bochy, asked about the Santa CruzSheriffs Department investigation after the Giants 2-1 victory over the Cubson Saturday. Hes down there (at Stockton) tonight. Hell DH and he needs toget ready to help us out. Thats what he has to do. We need him here.

As far as that other stuff, you heard our statement. For us, he needs to get ready. Thatswhy hes down there right now.

Were focused on baseball. Those questions will go to hisattorney. We wont have any distractions, I dont care what it may be.

Bochy made it as clear as he could: Ryan Theriot has becomehis everyday second baseman and No. 2 hitter.

Theriot has solidified the No. 2 hole, Bochy said. Youhave to like all the little things hes done since hes been back. Hes got alot of experience and at-bats there, and he will remain there.

Theriot said he used the time on the DL (with an inflamedright elbow) to study his swing and make adjustments.

Its paid off tremendously, he said.

Theriot is definitely beginning to feel more comfortable inevery aspect. He was pretty reserved in the spring and not too outgoing. Now hesletting his personality show, and hes definitely someone who wouldve fit inon the World Series roster of goofballs.

He wears white calf-length muckboots as shower shoes. Whatmore do you need to know?

Its hard to believe Matt Cain is 75-75 for his career, aswell as hes pitched. In a recent player poll published in Sports Illustrated,he was voted the most underrated pitcher in baseball.

The players know you shouldnt judge Cain by his record.

You know what youre going to get, Theriot said. Comingin here as an opponent, you know youre going to get his best every time.

Theriot is a .150 hitter (3-for-20, one walk, threestrikeouts) against Cain in his career. So he knows of what he speaks.

Ill tell you this, Theriot said. Theres going to be alot more wins than losses when its all said and done.

Buster Posey will start at first base on Sunday, Bochy said.Thats something the Giants had gotten away from in recent weeks while playing20 games in 20 days. It became more valuable for Bochy to give Posey full daysoff to keep from wearing out his cleanup hitter.

Now the Giants will have some breaks in the schedule,though. And they are still just as flummoxed to find production at first base especially against left-handers like Travis Wood, who will take the mound forthe Cubs. Brett Pill is batting .189 against lefties. Neither Aubrey Huff norBrandon Belt has emerged, either.

So expect Posey to pick up a first basemans glove moreoften.

Its hard to imagine the Giants improving defensively atthird base when Sandoval returns. Thats how good Joaquin Arias has become,despite very little career experience at the position.

The play he made in the ninth inning to start a twinkilling, when he was in on the grass to defend against a possible bunt and thenfielded a slap-shot grounder, was a game saver.

Id say hes gotten better, Bochy said. Hes gottencomfortable right away, and thats whats impressive about him. Now, hes alsobeen playing a lot. Hes probably a little tired. But hes done a nice job overthere.

Arias is taking grounders at shortstop and hell probablytake some starts for Brandon Crawford against lefties after Sandoval returns.Hell also mix in at second base, and perhaps hell start hitting a little morewhen the Giants can afford to pace him better.

At least Arias was able to put the ball in play to drive inthe tiebreaking run on a ground out. That goes right along with Bochys theoryto put the ball in play and make something happen.

For a time, the Giants were striking out way too much. Bochysees a better approach and better at-bats now.

Oh, our at-bats have improved over the last three weeks,Bochy said. Its competing out there. Its finding ways to put the ball inplay. Guys are definitely doing a better job seeing pitches.

Giants first round pick makes top 100 prospects list


Giants first round pick makes top 100 prospects list

SAN FRANCISCO -- The annual Baseball America top 100 prospects list backed up two widely held beliefs about the Giants farm system: The organization still does not have a lot of high-end prospects and a newcomer is viewed as the best of the bunch.

Heliot Ramos, last year's first-round pick, was ranked as the 79th best prospect in the game, but he's the only Giant on the list. 

Ramos, 18, is the name just about every opposing front office asked for in trade talks this offseason, but the Giants view him as a potential five-tool center fielder. He already appears to be one of the steals of the 2017 draft. After being selected 19th overall, Ramos hit .348 in rookie ball with a .404 on-base percentage and .645 slugging percentage. He hit six homers in 35 games and stole 10 bases.

Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna is the top prospect on the list, followed by Shohei Ohtani and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 

The Dodgers have four players listed before Ramos and the Padres have four of the top 32 prospects as they try to rebuild and get back into NL West contention. The A's have four players in the top 100: lefty A.J. Puk (30), shortstop Franklin Barreto (43), shortstop Jorge Mateo (64) and outfielder Dustin Fowler (88). 

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

SAN FRANCISCO — The field at AT&T Park is covered with patches and small piles of dirt right now, showing the signs of a winter hosting holiday parties and concerts, and a week with plenty of rain. 

For Evan Longoria, though, that grass was a beautiful sight.

A month after a trade that had him switching coasts, Longoria was introduced at a press conference at AT&T Park and ran the usual gauntlet with team employees and season-ticket holders. He spent some time this week looking for housing in the Bay Area, but soon he’ll be back in Scottsdale, getting to know new teammates and preparing his body for the 2018 season. 

Longoria said his workouts have been a bit different with a new staff, but the goal remains the same. He is a player who prides himself on taking the field every day, and that’s one of the traits that drew the Giants to Longoria. He has played at least 156 games in five consecutive seasons, and 160 in four of those seasons. 

It’s no accident that Bruce Bochy has mentioned durability during every media session this season. Andrew McCutchen has a similar track record, and the Giants lineup certainly could use some stability, especially at third base, where seven different players made double-digit starts last season. Longoria will change that. 

“I have a desire to play every day, and I think that that is infectious,” he said. “Players that may feel the grind of a long season or might be in a little bit of a funk offensively or defensively or with pitching, something like that can give you a boost when you have guys around that you know come to play and compete on a daily basis, no matter what the circumstance is.”

[RELATED: Just a number? Longoria says slow down with concerns of Giants' aging roster]

For Longoria, who turned 32 early in the offseason, the circumstance has changed for the better. After years on the unforgiving turf at The Trop, he comes to a park and division featuring nothing but natural grass. 

“I hope it helps,” he said. “Going on the road (with the Rays), my body definitely felt better when I played on grass. I’m sure that it will help. It’s definitely not going to be a negative. Not playing on the turf anymore is something that crossed my mind as soon as the trade happened.”

Longoria expects to benefit from another aspect of AT&T Park, too. The Rays finished dead last in the majors last year with an average of 15,670 fans per game. Even though their sellout streak ended, the Giants still had an average of more than 40,000 per night. Asked about playing outdoors, Longoria smiled and added, “in front of fans.”

“The environment here is obviously much different, so it’s going to be nice to step into that on a daily basis and play in front of a fan base that’s obviously very storied,” he said. “It helps with energy. It helps with motivation.”