Giants

Lincecum to Giants fans: "I don't want them to start to hate me"

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Lincecum to Giants fans: "I don't want them to start to hate me"

MIAMI Tim Lincecum didnt receive a tongue lashing fromGiants management after another start went off the rails Friday night. He got apep talk.

More than anything, you let him know, hey, were all-inwith him, said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who took Lincecum aside for ameeting with GM Brian Sabean after a 7-6 loss the clubs eighth defeat in theright-handers 10 starts.

I had my own lengthy, informal and candid conversation withLincecum today. I didnt take notes, but Ill paraphrase his sentiments:

--He said he feels fine physically, aside from the blister issuethat crops up on the middle finger on his right hand. It happens because of theway the side of his nail rubs against his finger when he throws his slider. Heconfirmed to me that the blister issue, not elbow or arm fears, is the reasonhe planned to stay away from throwing the slider this spring a plan that hescrapped after one start. He said hes got to get tougher and pitch through anydiscomfort that the blister causes. Simple as that.

--He said he's as surprised as anyone to have a 6.41 ERA after 10starts. Even when he struggled in the spring, he expected the light to go onwhen the season began, just like it would every year after he had a rough timein Scottsdale.

--He said theres been no talk whatsoever of skipping a turn in therotation, nor would he encourage that.

--He said he's trying to take a lesson from Ryan Vogelsong, who hasfound a way to gut through innings even though he, like Lincecum, has pitchedwith 2 mph off his fastball from last season.

--He said he was happy that he controlled his body language better.He knows that when his shoulders slump, his opponents feed off that likesharks that smell blood. He thinks hitters are too comfortable in the boxagainst him, and maybe the fact hes not carrying himself with thatindestructible demeanor is part of that. (As an aside, I remember there weretimes in the past when Lincecum wasnt throwing well but winning, and catcherBengie Molina remarked to me that he was getting people out with his name.Thats not a luxury he has now.)

--He said he's really trying to purge negative thoughts, which iswhat he keeps saying in his postgame interviews. That isnt just pablum for themasses. He said he knows hes close and there are as many good signs as badones. He has to focus on the good ones.

--He said he honestly cares about what the fans think and he doesntwant to let them down. He doesnt want them to reach the point where they expecthim to fail or to boo him off the mound. Even after all hes accomplished inhis career, he isnt taking any fan support for granted. I dont want them tostart to hate me, he said.

With all those things going through Lincecums mind, it wasprobably a good thing that Sabean and Bochy interceded after Friday nightsloss.

You tell him, Hey, youre throwing the ball well, Bochysaid. Sure, you had a hiccup in the sixth inning. Thats gonna happen. Theonly thing youve got to do is keep working hard, which is what hes doing.

More than anything, you let him know, hey, were all inwith him.

All we ask is for our guys to give it all they have, andTimmys done that. Hes doing it every start. Hes taking it hard, believe me.We wanted to send a message that we know hes doing all we can."

Good news, bad news for Chris Shaw's first week in the Arizona Fall League

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MiLB/Sacramento River Cats

Good news, bad news for Chris Shaw's first week in the Arizona Fall League

Every time the Journey song “Lights” plays throughout AT&T Park, the lyrics When the lights go down in the City ring too true for the Giants’ offense. There’s a power outage in San Francisco. 

The savior to this issue can soon be prospect Chris Shaw, who turns 24 years old on Oct. 20. Shaw, along with five other Giants prospects, is continuing his 2017 season among a multitude of baseball’s best young up-and-comers in the Arizona Fall League. As he takes the field for the Scottsdale Scorpions, Shaw’s bat is far from the top focus for the Giants. 

After playing right and left field at Boston College, the Giants turned Shaw into a first baseman once they selected the 6-foot-4, 235-pound lefty in 2015. This year, the Giants’ front office decided to make a change. As the big league team continued to look for their own answers, Shaw saw himself in left field in 94 of the 125 games he played between Double-A and Triple-A this season. 

“I saw improvements through the course of the year,” Brian Sabean said about Shaw’s outfield defense on The Giants Insider Podcast. “The problem is playing left field in our left field isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do.” 

The AFL is all about reps in left field for Shaw as the Giants have already said he will get a long look in spring training. He earned that right after a breakout year at the plate.

One week into the AFL though, Shaw’s bat is way behind. Through four games, Shaw is batting a pedestrian .133 (2-for-15), both hits being singles. But even in such a slow start there are positives. 

Shaw has walked three times to only two strikeouts. His only downfall at the plate once he reached Triple-A Sacramento was his on-base percentage fell from .390 in Double-A to .328 at the higher level. With the River Cats, Shaw struck out 106 times, leading the team, while taking his base 20 times.

Early on in the desert, Shaw is showing more patience and putting the ball into play more often. The ball simply isn’t finding grass.

In the outfield, every ball Shaw sees -- practice or game -- during the AFL is a step in the right direction for he and the Giants. He is yet to make an error in his short time at the AFL. The big lefty will never be a guy to make the spectacular play, but if he improves his instincts with the glove and improves his eye at the plate, the Giants can finally have their left fielder of the future. 

Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster

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USATSI

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.