Players react to Cain retirement announcement: 'He’s just a complete Giant'


Players react to Cain retirement announcement: 'He’s just a complete Giant'

Programming note: Watch the encore presentation of Matt Cain's perfect game from 2012 -- This Saturday, Sept. 30 immediately following Warriors basketball  at 8 p.m. and Sunday morning Oct. 1, at 8 a.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area. 

PHOENIX — Madison Bumgarner didn’t hesitate when asked if he remembers the first time he met Matt Cain. Bumgarner said it was his first spring with the Giants, and he was going down the clubhouse stairs. Cain was coming up them, and he introduced himself. A friendship built from there. 

That’s been the case for so many Giants. Cain, drafted in 2002 and in the big leagues since 2005, has been a welcoming presence for rookies, journeymen, big free agent signings and even members of the coaching staff. He is revered, and that made Wednesday a special day for the Giants despite the final result. 

Sam Dyson blew a two-run lead in the ninth and the Giants lost their final road game 4-3, but about an hour before the first pitch, they had a special moment in the clubhouse. Cain stood up in front of his peers and announced his retirement in a ceremony that he said got emotional at times. 

Cain will make his final appearance in the big leagues when he starts Saturday against the Padres. Buster Posey, who has played first base most of the last month, will be behind the plate. He said he wouldn’t have it any other way. He wants to be there when Cain finishes a 13-year-run in orange and black. 

“That’s something he’s proud of and he should be proud of,” Posey said. “You don’t see that happen very often. For him to be up as young as he was and to stay here for 13 years is a great accomplishment.”

The Saturday assignment was one of the factors that played into Bruce Bochy ending Bumgarner’s season a week early. Bumgarner, for his part, called Cain one of his best friends, and said he’s looking forward to Matt Cain Day. 

“He’s a special person and one of the better Giants to ever put on this uniform,” Bumgarner said. “He gave us the best he had every time … he’s had an unbelievable career, and I’m just happy to have been a part of it.”

The Giants have not announced or hinted at any post-career discussions with Cain, but they hope to do what they always do. Bochy said he would like Cain around, and the right-hander — who has taken several young pitchers under his wing this season — will forever be a welcome guest in the clubhouse or at spring training. Bochy said he was struck by Cain’s success, but also the way he has handled his final years, when injuries and age have limited his effectiveness. 

“I can’t thank him enough for all he has done — he’s been great this year,” Bochy said. “He was moved around (in the rotation) and pitched in the bullpen and he never came into this office one time to complain. That’s something I’ll never forget. He’s just a complete Giant with the way he carried himself and how he played.”

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

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.

One week 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


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.