Giants top catching prospect Garcia describes focus of offseason work

Giants top catching prospect Garcia describes focus of offseason work

Aramis Garcia knew what he needed to work on this offseason.

The Giants top catching prospect, labeled a bat-first player in scouting reports, focused primarily on his defense.

"Ever since I've signed, that's one they've emphasized on me, just to improve on my defense. I know this offseason in particular, I went home and I really focused on my defense a lot, receiving in particular. Just every day, catching balls off the machine, just getting all that repetition in and receiving balls the right way, working on pitch presentation," Garcia said on KNBR 680 on Saturday. "I feel like this offseason has been really beneficial for me from that aspect to improve on my defense."

Garcia, picked by the Giants in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft, had a breakout season in 2015 and entered the 2016 season as San Francisco's No. 7 ranked prospect according to Baseball America.

But facial fractures sustained in May while sliding into second base to try to break up a double play during a High-A California League game cost him two and a half months.

Now healthy, Garcia wants to improve his hands and his pitch framing.

"Gotta have nice soft hands. More than anything, I feel like today, with the framing metrics, it's a lot about pitch presentation too. Presenting the pitch well to the umpire and getting as many calls as possible," Garcia, the Giants' No. 9 prospect, said.

The 24-year-old Florida International product finished the 2016 season with High-A San Jose, but he doesn't want to repeat the level. His goal was to go to spring training and show he's ready for the next level.

"I just want to come in and show these guys all the work I've done this offseasn and show them why I deserve to start out in [Double-A] Richmond," Garcia said.


Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster


Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster

LOS ANGELES — Shortstop Corey Seager has been left off the Los Angeles Dodgers' roster for the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs.

The Dodgers announced Seager's surprise omission due to a back injury on Saturday, several hours before Game 1 at Dodger Stadium.

Los Angeles also dropped reliever Pedro Baez from its roster. Infielder Charlie Culberson and outfielder Joc Pederson were added.

Chicago made only one change from the last playoff round, adding reliever Hector Rondon and removing reliever Justin Wilson.

Seager complained of back soreness during the Dodgers' NL Division Series clincher in Arizona on Monday, and 2016 NL Rookie of the Year didn't participate in team workouts this week. Still, manager Dave Roberts said Friday that he was very optimistic that Seager would play in the NLCS.

Seager was an All-Star selection this season while batting .295 with 22 homers and 77 RBIs as a key part of the top of the Dodgers' lineup.

Kike Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Culberson all worked out at shortstop Friday for the Dodgers. The versatile Taylor was the Dodgers' center fielder during the NLDS, but he made 96 appearances in the outfield this season and 44 in the infield, including 14 games at shortstop.

Pederson is batting .071 with no homers since July, but the Dodgers could need him in center field if Taylor plays shortstop.

Culberson famously homered to clinch the Dodgers' NL West title in announcer Vin Scully's final home game last season, but the infielder spent most of this season at Triple-A, appearing in only 14 games for the Dodgers.

Rondon was the Cubs' closer in 2014 and 2015, but moved to a setup role last season after Aroldis Chapman's arrival. He appeared in 61 regular-season games this year, going 4-1 with a 4.24 ERA in an up-and-down campaign.

Chicago acquired Wilson in a trade with Detroit on July 31, adding a veteran left-handed reliever who had 13 saves for the Tigers this season. The Southern California native wasn't great in his two months with the Cubs, posting a 5.09 ERA with 19 walks in 23 appearances.

Manager Joe Maddon chose Wilson for the NLDS over Rondon, only to switch it up against the Dodgers.

Bochy, Giants issue statement following manager's heart procedure


Bochy, Giants issue statement following manager's heart procedure

Bruce Bochy's minor offseason heart procedure went as planned, the team announced Friday afternoon. 

In a message passed along to beat reporters, Bochy said "the procedure went extremely well and I'm feeling better. I'm grateful for the doctors and want to thank everyone who has reached out with well wishes."

Bochy, 62, had an ablation procedure to help him deal with heart issues that have plagued him in recent years. The operation was his second of the year, but it was considered minor enough that it could be pushed back to the end of the season.

Cleveland's Terry Francona had a similar procedure this year and returned to manage, and Bochy has left no doubt about his future. 

“I don’t want anyone to think this has an effect on my work, or ability to work,” Bochy said last week. “This is something that is not uncommon.”