Giants

EXTRAS: Speed thrills, Romo's standing O, five-man rotation

696598.jpg

EXTRAS: Speed thrills, Romo's standing O, five-man rotation

PEORIA, Ariz. -- After a dismal offensive output last season, Bruce Bochy andBrian Sabean have expressed a desire for the Giants lineup to utilize morespeed this season.In a 5-2 win over the Padres Thursday in Peoria, the Giants didjust that, attempting eight stolen bases, four of which were successful.Two of the thefts belonged to Gregor Blanco, who isfollowing up his MVP performance in the Venezuelan winter league with a strongstart to spring training.The non-roster invitee added two hits and a walk with tworuns scored as Bochys designated hitter out of the sixth spot on Thursday andis now hitting .429 with four steals in Cactus League play.
While Aubrey Huff, Brandon Belt, Brett Pill and EmmanuelBurriss are all infielders capable of playing in the outfield, youd betterbelieve the Giants would consider leaving a roster spot open for Blanco, whowould offer Bochy a more prototypical fourth outfielder.

--
Another outfielder with wheels fighting for a job showcased his talents on Thursday.Tyler Graham is still looking for his first hit of the spring but demonstrated why speed never slumps.In the third inning, Graham hit a fairly routine ground ball to shortstop, but his hustle up the baseline forced Andy Parrino to hurry the throw, which was offline and resulted in an error.Graham then got himself into scoring position with a steal and came around to plate the Giants' second run on Angel Pagan's single up the middle.
--
Bochy called on reliever Clay Hensley to make his springdebut in the seventh inning, and the 32-year old righty delivered a scorelessinning with a strikeout.Hensley waited a long time to pitch in a San Francisco Giantsuniform. He was selected by the club in the eighth round of the 2002 draft andlast pitched for the franchise as a 23-year-old member of the San Jose Giantsin 2003, when he was traded for reliever Matt Herges.--Sergio Romo followed Hensley with a scoreless eighth inning,which included two strikeouts and a reminder of how deadly his Frisbee slideris when he keeps it low and away from right-handed hitters.Romo rode that slider to a career year in 2011, as he put upa 1.50 ERA with 70 strikeouts compared to just five walks. He also completed arelievers perfect game with 27 consecutive outs recorded. No wonder he got a standing ovation from the (no surprise,really) pro-Giants crowd at Peoria Sports Complex.--Eric Surkamp is scheduled to make his first start of thespring Sunday against Seattle. Tim Lincecum is scheduled to pitch the followingday as the Giants move to give their starters the standard four days of rest.Its unclear if Lincecum will start a minor league game ortake the mound against the Kansas City Royals in Surprise. The two-time CyYoung award winner allowed five runs in two innings in his last outing onWednesday.Surkamp, who may start the season with the big-league club ifRyan Vogelsong cant start due to back issues, has an 8.31 ERA so far. After a roughfirst outing on March 3, the 24-year-old lefty rebounded Wednesday with threeinnings of one-run ball.--The Giants used speed and small ball to put most of theirruns on the board Thursday against the Padres, but got a big fly from anunexpected source. Outfielder Juan Perez, who has all of 26 home runs in almost1,500 minor league at-bats since the Giants drafted him in the 13th roundin 2008, hit a tape-measure solo shot off Padres reliever Cory Burns. Burns threw changeups on three of the first five pitches of the at bat to getahead of Perez 1-2. But Perez sat on the changeup on the sixth pitch and sentit over the left-field fence for a home run in his only plate appearance of theday.While the power hasnt been there in his professionalcareer, Perez owns the NCAA Division II single-season home run record, whichhe earned by hitting 37 at Western Oklahoma State in 2008.--After the game, Bochy confirmed that Freddy Sanchez wouldserve as the Giants designated hitter Friday against the Reds.Like Buster Posey, Sanchez will get his first licks of thespring in against flame-throwing Cincinnati lefty Aroldis Chapman.
BAGGARLY: Posey will get 100-mph test in spring debut
The concern with Sanchez, who hasnt played since dislocatinghis shoulder diving for a ground ball in June, is his ability to make throws,not swing the bat, which is why Bochy plans to let him DH. Theres still notimetable for putting him in a game at second base.--An Angels scout who was kicked out of Scottsdale Stadium Wednesdayreceived an explanatory call from manager Bruce Bochy later that night.
REWIND: Bochy doesn't apologize after booting Angels scout
Jeff Schugel, who was shocked to be sent packing duringinfield drills, talked with Bochy about the incident. The Giants manager told Schugel that he was working on a specificdrill that he didnt want seen and didnt mean anything by it.

Dodgers crush Cubs in Game 5 to reach 2017 World Series

dodgerswin-ap.jpg
USATSI

Dodgers crush Cubs in Game 5 to reach 2017 World Series

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO -- Enrique Hernandez put a Hollywood ending on an LA story three decades in the making.

Fueled by Hernandez's home run trilogy, Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers are finally going to the World Series.

Hernandez homered three times and drove in seven runs, Kershaw breezed through six crisp innings and Los Angeles ended the Chicago Cubs' title defense with an 11-1 victory in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series on Thursday night.

"It feels good to hear World Series," Kershaw said. "It's been a long time coming for this team."

After years of playoff heartache, there was just no stopping this group of Dodgers. With Kershaw firing away at the top of a deep pitching staff and Justin Turner anchoring a tough lineup, one of baseball's most storied franchises captured its first pennant since Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda managed Los Angeles to its last championship in 1988.

The Dodgers will host the New York Yankees or Houston Astros in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night. The Yankees have a 3-2 lead in the ALCS heading into Game 6 at Houston on Friday night, so one more New York win would set up another chapter in an old October rivalry between the Yankees and Dodgers.

The Dodgers made the playoffs eight times in the previous 13 seasons and came up short each time, often with Kershaw shouldering much of the blame. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner took the loss when Los Angeles was eliminated by the Cubs in Game 6 of last year's NLCS at Wrigley Field.

He was just OK in his first two starts in this year's postseason, but Los Angeles' loaded lineup picked him up each time. Backed by Hernandez's powerful show in Chicago, Kershaw turned in an efficient three-hit performance with five strikeouts in his sixth career playoff win - matching Burt Hooton for the franchise record.

When Kenley Jansen retired Willson Contreras on a liner to shortstop for the final out, the party was on. The Dodgers poured out of the dugout and mobbed their dominant closer near the mound, and a small, but vocal group of Los Angeles fans gathered behind the visitor's dugout and chanted "Let's go Dodgers! Let's go Dodgers!"

Report: Giants interview Chili Davis about becoming new hitting coach

chili-us.jpg
USATSI

Report: Giants interview Chili Davis about becoming new hitting coach

Chili Davis spent the first seven years of his big league career with the Giants where he made two All-Star teams and hit 101 home runs. 

Fast forward 37 years from his debut in 1981, and Davis may now be the one teaching Giants how to hit balls over the wall in 2018. The Giants met with Davis Thursday about becoming the team's new hitting coach, according to The Mercury News

The only problem is, there is no open vacancy on the Giants' coaching staff. 

Current hitting coach Hensley Meulens is a candidate for the Tigers' head coaching vacancy, but reports surfaced Thursday that former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire will take that role. Meulens could become a candidate to manage another team or take a different spot on the Giants' staff. 

The Giants' offense sputtered in 2017. Overall, the offense ranked 23rd in batting average (.249), 29th in runs scored (639) and last in home runs (128). By comparison, the Pirates were the next worst team at hitting home runs in 2017 and still launched 23 more long balls than the Giants. 

Over his 19-year career, Davis hit 350 home runs. He has spent the last three years as the Red Sox's hitting instructor.