Giants

Giants spring training Day 26: Alguacil visits clubhouse, says he feels great

Giants spring training Day 26: Alguacil visits clubhouse, says he feels great

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Jose Alguacil survived a scare and he's feeling strong, which means enough time has passed that his facial fractures are fair game in the clubhouse.

"You look better than you did before," a Giant said Friday as he hugged Alguacil. 

The first base coach laughed and smiled, and then continued greeting a line of players and coaches.

"I'm feeling great," he said. "There's no pain."

Alguacil has a shiner where the ball broke his nose and bandage over the minor facial fractures that are still healing. He is dealing with some blurred vision, and he won't know an exact return date until his next visit with an eye doctor, but he said he should be back at the job in a week to 10 days. That's the absolute best-case scenario after Alguacil was hit by a foul ball that went screaming into the folding chairs set out for coaches at Surprise Stadium. 

Alguacil had surgery and spent several nights in the hospital, but he said it won't be long before he's back throwing BP. He won't even need a new pair of glasses. The original pair was knocked off by the blow and left a deep gash across his forehead. 

"They didn't break," he said, smiling. "They're back there in my locker."

GAME RECAP: Madison Bumgarner pitched four innings, allowing just a pair of unearned runs, but the Giants lost to the Indians ... Brandon Belt hit his 25th career spring training home run ... Jimmy Rollins pulled a Trevor Bauer pitch into the bullpen area for his first homer as a Giant ... Chris Marrero had two more hits, including a hard triple to right, but he wasn't able to pull out another walk-off when he came up with two outs in the ninth. He struck out looking ... Kelby Tomlinson had a pair of hits ... Derek Law had a rough one, allowing two runs on two hits and three walks. 

CUETO WATCH: Johnny Cueto will start Saturday's game at Scottsdale Stadium but he'll only pitch an inning or two in his debut. Matt Cain will back him up, with Ty Blach starting the other half of the split-squad up the road. 

RED, WHITE AND BLUE: Mark Melancon and Jeff Samardzija have been added to the United States roster for the World Baseball Classic, and it sounds like Melancon will be part of that bullpen as early as the second round. Here's a full story.

ICYMI: The latest podcast featured interviews with Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker. You can stream it here or download it on iTunes here.

FAMILIAR FACE: If you were watching really random WBC action the other day, you might have seen former Giant Travis Blackley pitching for Australia. 

QUOTABLE: "Why not, right?" -- Melancon on dropping a two-strike curveball for an inning-ending strikeout with the bases loaded.

With new posting system reportedly agreed to, Giants can soon chase Ohtani

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AP

With new posting system reportedly agreed to, Giants can soon chase Ohtani

SAN FRANCISCO -- As the Giants continue to wait for a resolution to the Giancarlo Stanton chase, they may soon find themselves bidding on another superstar talent they have long coveted. 

According to multiple reports, Major League Baseball, the Players Association, and the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization agreed to a new posting system that should allow Shohei Ohtani to be made available in about 10 days. Joel Sherman of the NY Post reported that MLB owners must ratify the agreement next Friday and Ohtani would then be posted that day or the following day. 

The Giants have made no secret of their desire to jump feet-first into that process, and general manager Bobby Evans and assistant GM Jeremy Shelley visited Japan in September to scout Ohtani, a potential two-way star. Ohtani wants to be a starter and a hitter in the big leagues, as he was in Japan, and after watching tape of the 23-year-old, Bruce Bochy said he would be on board. 

"He's good," Bochy said after a game at Dodger Stadium late in the season. "I absolutely would play him every day."

There has been little clarity over the past two months as MLB teams have waited for the negotiations to play out. Per Sherman, there will be new posting rules in future years but Ohtani will operate under the old system. That limits the Giants to a $300,000 bonus because they went over their spending limit in 2015, but club officials don't believe that will disqualify them. Very little is known about Ohtani's preferences, but by coming to the United States in 2017, he is potentially forfeiting a $200 million deal as a free agent. That alone is enough to validate the fact that the Giants can safely chase Ohtani, knowing that the signing bonus won't be a deal breaker.

MLB crushes Braves with sanctions for international signing infractions

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AP

MLB crushes Braves with sanctions for international signing infractions

ATLANTA -- The Braves lost 13 prospects and former general manager John Coppolella was banned for life by Major League Baseball on Tuesday for circumventing international signing rules from 2015-17.

Former Atlanta special assistant Gordon Blakeley, who was the team's international scouting chief, was suspended from baseball for one year by Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Sanctions imposed by Manfred will leave the Braves unable to bargain at full strength for a top Latin American prospect until 2021.

Manfred said MLB's investigation determined the Braves moved international signing bonus pool money from one player to boost another player's contract.

Most notable among the players the Braves will lose is Kevin Maitan, an infielder from Venezuela who signed for $4.25 million in 2016.

Other "high-value" players the Braves will lose include Juan Contreras, Yefri del Rosario, Abrahan Gutierrez, Juan Carlos Negret, Yenci Pena, Yunior Severino, Livan Soto and Guillermo Zuniga.

Three more international signees - Brandol Mezquita, Angel Rojas and Antonio Sucre - were declared free agents. The team's contract with prospect Ji-Hwan Bae, which was not yet final, was disapproved. Finally, the Braves were banned from signing prospect Robert Puason in the 2019-20 signing period.

The 13 players will be free to negotiate as free agents with other teams.

Also, the Braves will forfeit their third-round selection in the 2018 draft as punishment for offering "impermissible benefits" to an unnamed draft pick in an effort to convince him to sign for a lower bonus.

The investigation showed the players signed by the Braves in 2016-17 would have been unavailable if the team had not circumvented the rules by moving bonus pool money.

Manfred said stripping the Braves of the 13 players was not sufficient punishment. He said "additional sanctions are warranted to penalize the club for the violations committed by its employees."

Therefore, the Braves will be prohibited from signing any international player for more than $10,000 during the 2019-20 signing period. Also, the team's international signing bonus pool for the 2020-21 signing period will be reduced by 50 percent.

The Braves already cannot give an international signing bonus of more than $300,000 for 2017-18 and 2018-19 as penalties for exceeding their signing bonus pools under baseball's previous labor contract.

And there is still more discipline to be handed down.

Manfred said he intends "to discipline other Braves international baseball operations employees who participated in the misconduct."

Coppolella was forced to resign after the season. Former team president John Hart was moved to a senior adviser role when a new general manager, Alex Anthopoulos, was hired on Nov. 13. Hart left the team on Friday.

"The senior baseball operations officials responsible for the misconduct are no longer employed by the Braves," Manfred said. He also said the Braves "cooperated throughout the investigation."

Coppolella did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

The Braves braced fans for the sanctions when team chairman Terry McGuirk apologized to fans "on behalf of the entire Braves family" for the rules violations at the news conference to introduce Anthopoulos.

The Braves said in a statement released Tuesday they "understand and accept the decision regarding the penalties that have been handed down.

"As we expressed last week, our organization has not lived up to the standard our fans expect from us and that we expect from ourselves. For that, we apologize. We are instituting the changes necessary to prevent this from ever happening again and remain excited about the future of Braves baseball."

Manfred said he is confident the Braves management team led by McGuirk, Anthopoulos and vice chairman John Schuerholz "have and will put in place procedures to ensure that this type of conduct never occurs again and which will allow the club to emerge from this difficult period as the strong and respected franchise that it has always been."

The Braves are not the first team to be found guilty of violating rules in signing international players.

In 2016, the Boston Red Sox lost five players and were banned from signing international amateur free agents for one year as punishment for rules violations on signing bonuses.