Trout, Bryant win MVP Awards; four Giants receive votes


Trout, Bryant win MVP Awards; four Giants receive votes

CHICAGO -- While the Los Angeles Angels stumbled, Mike Trout soared again.

Just too good to ignore.

Trout won the AL MVP award Thursday for the second time in three years, and Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was voted NL MVP in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Four San Francisco Giants received votes in the NL MVP race. Brandon Crawford finished 12th with 15 points, receiving one 6th-place vote, one 7th-place vote, one 8th-place vote, one 9th-place vote and one 10th-place vote. Buster Posey placed 14th with 11 points -- one 6th-place vote, one 7th-place vote and one 9th-place vote. Madison Bumgarner finished 16th with seven points -- one 5th-place vote and one 10th-place vote. And Johnny Cueto finished 27th with one point -- one 10th-place vote.

While the Angels finished fourth in the AL West, Trout was his usual brilliant self. The center fielder batted .315 with 29 homers, 100 RBIs and 30 steals. He scored 17 percent of Los Angeles' runs, the highest percentage for an AL player since Rickey Henderson with the 1985 New York Yankees.

Trout, who was a unanimous winner in 2014, had finished second in three of the past four years. He becomes the first MVP from a losing team since Alex Rodriguez for Texas in 2003 and just the fifth player ever to accomplish the feat, joining Hall of Famers Ernie Banks (1958 and 1959), Andre Dawson (1987) and Cal Ripken (1991).

"It's an unbelievable feeling," Trout said. "Just trying to get better every year."

Bryant hit .292 with 39 homers and 102 RBIs in just his second year in the majors, helping the Cubs to their first World Series title since 1908. The No. 2 overall pick from the 2013 draft becomes just the sixth player to win rookie of the year and MVP in one or consecutive seasons.

"Kris is just an impressive young man in every aspect," Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said. "(He) is very mature, professional, light-hearted, but serious at the same time. He's just kind of a dream player for any organization."

The Las Vegas native is the first NL MVP from the Cubs since Sammy Sosa in 1998 and the seventh overall for the once-forlorn franchise enjoying its best run in decades. First baseman Anthony Rizzo and right fielder Jason Heyward each won a Gold Glove, and Rizzo finished fourth in the MVP balloting. Manager Joe Maddon and pitchers Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester also were finalists for major awards this offseason.

Voting by BBWAA members was completed by the start of the playoffs.

Bryant was a runaway winner, grabbing 29 of 30 first-place votes and 415 points. Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy, who batted .347 for the NL East champions, was the runner-up with the other first-place vote and 245 points. Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager was third after he was the unanimous winner of the NL Rookie of the Year award on Monday.

Seager will look to follow in Bryant's footsteps next year.

Bryant was the unanimous NL Rookie of the Year after he hit .275 with 26 homers and 99 RBIs last season. Bryant joins Dustin Pedroia (2007-08), Ryan Howard (2005-06) and Cal Ripken (1982-83) as the only players to go Rookie of the Year-MVP in consecutive seasons. Ichiro Suzuki (2001) and Fred Lynn (1975) are the only players to win the awards in the same year.

Trout received 19 first-place votes and 356 points. Mookie Betts, who batted .318 with 31 homers, 113 RBIs and 26 steals in 158 games for the Boston Red Sox, was second with 311 points, and AL batting champion Jose Altuve of Houston was third. Retiring Red Sox slugger David Ortiz got one first-place vote finished sixth in his final year in the majors.

Associated Press contributed to this report

Bumgarner fractures pitching hand in final tune-up before season


Bumgarner fractures pitching hand in final tune-up before season

A day after the Giants got good news about their No. 3 starter, they got bad news about their No. 1.

Madison Bumgarner left Friday's spring training game against the Kansas City Royals in the third inning after a Whit Merrifield line drive hit his pitching hand. That left hand is fractured, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Henry Schulman.

There is no prognosis yet on Bumgarner's return, according to Giants manager Bruce Bochy. 

"Horrible news for us," Bochy told reporters (via Schulman). "That's all you can say about it. There's nothing you can do but push on."

Bumgarner, who's scheduled to start Opening Day against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Mar. 29, was making his final start before the regular season. He was off to a strong start this spring. In five appearances, Bumgarner posted a 2.84 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 19.0 innings pitched. 

The 28-year-old missed nearly three months last season after injuring his left shoulder in a dirtbike accident.

This story is being updated. 

Jeff Samardzija to miss start of season after MRI reveals strained pectoral muscle


Jeff Samardzija to miss start of season after MRI reveals strained pectoral muscle

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants nearly left Scottsdale unscathed. Instead they'll leave with an injured No. 3 starter, but the news on Jeff Samardzija late Thursday night was good news. 

Manager Bruce Bochy told reporters that Samardzija has a strained pectoral muscle that will sideline him for the start of the season. But given that Samardzija, who has had a rough spring, went for an MRI on his shoulder a week before the season opener, team officials have to be breathing a sigh of relief. 

"He'll go a week without throwing the ball and then crank it back up," Bochy told reporters, including Kerry Crowley of the San Jose Mercury News. "It should't take long to get him back on the mound so it's good news."

Samardzija was supposed to take the ball next Saturday at Dodger Stadium. Instead, the Giants will rely on two young pitchers and a non-roster invitee at the back end of their rotation. The injury ends a three-way race for the final two spots between Chris Stratton, Ty Blach and Derek Holland. The Giants could use all three in the rotation until Samardzija is healthy, or they could skip their No. 5 starter and move one of the pitchers into the bullpen. 

Because the Giants have two off days before their seventh game, Madison Bumgarner can line up to pitch three of the first nine games. The Giants have been considering that all spring, although they have yet to publicly announce a decision one way or the other. Bumgarner said early in camp that he would be up to the challenge, and given how sharp he was all spring, that might be the best way to tread water until Samardzija is cleared to return to the rotation.