Ray Ratto

Urban: Giants' Sandoval to catch upon return?

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Urban: Giants' Sandoval to catch upon return?

June 10, 2011

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Mychael Urban
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A few quick nuggets mined from Giants manager Bruce Bochy's session with the media Friday before the second game of a four-game series against the visiting Reds at AT&T Park:Pablo behind the plate: After noting that Pablo Sandoval (wrist), expected to come off the disabled list Tuesday for the start of a three-game set in Arizona, will see some time at first base to spell struggling Aubrey Huff, Bochy mentioned that there have been internal discussions about getting the Panda back up to speed as a catcher, the position at which he started his professional -- and big-league -- career.

Sandoval wouldn't be asked to get ready for mere emergency duty, either. He could be asked to play as frequently as a "couple times a week," said the skipper, who didn't think it would take much time at all for Pablo to get ready to again don the tools of ignorance."It's not something we've ruled out," said Bochy, who added that far more in-depth conversations would have to take place before the notion became a reality.Interesting development, to say the least, because the last time Sandoval was asked if he had any interest in catching again, he responded as if asked if he'd like to jump into a bathtub full of piranhas and a plugged-in microwave oven.Zito ready: Giants lefty Barry Zito will make his second rehab start for the Single-A Dan Jose Giants on Saturday in Modesto and told CSNBayArea.com that he expects to throw up to 95 pitches.Were Zito needed in the event of an emergency at the big-league level, it's clear he'd be ready in terms of stamina, but he noted that only such a development is likely to cut his rehab assignment any shorter. Well aware of how well the Giants rotation has performed in his absence, he sounds willing to accept any role he's asked to fill, but the Giants currently have no plans to get him any relief work out of the bullpen in preparation for taking on a long-relief role if need be upon his return. Bullet behind schedule: Outfielder Darren Ford (ankle) was eligible to come off the disabled list on June 7, but he's probably more than a week away from returning to the roster or heading out for a rehab stint. Bochy said Ford received a cortisone shot Wednesday or Thursday and will remain shut down for "a couple more days" before possibly being cleared for any sort of activity.Fontenot fine: Infielder Mike Fontenot (groin) is rehabbing with Sandoval at Triple-A Fresno and was lifted from the Grizzlies' game Thursday night after four innings, but Bochy assured the press there had been no setback. "That was the plan, four innings, all along." Fontenot could return for the start of the Arizona series, too.Stretching out: Lefty Dan Runzler, who has worked exclusively out of the bullpen for the Giants, is being "stretched out" in the minors, but no decision has been made as to whether he'll be converted into a starter. It's definitely an option being strongly considered, though, in large part because the team lacks organizational rotation depth in the high minors.

MLS respects timing more than dominance, Quakes have a counterpuncher's chance

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MLS respects timing more than dominance, Quakes have a counterpuncher's chance

The San Jose Earthquakes cheated the reaper Sunday, which is news in and of itself. I mean, they’re a playoff team so rarely that getting to a 35th game is quite the achievement, and they should not begin the arduous process of sobering up until Tuesday morning.

I mean, their playoff game with Vancouver is Wednesday night, so slapping themselves back into form is probably a priority.

They got an improbable stoppage time goal from Marco Urena Sunday against Minnesota to sneak through the back door into the final Western Conference playoff spot Sunday, their first appearance in the postseason in five years. It was as electrifying a moment as Avaya Stadium has seen since it opened, and one of the best goals in franchise history if only for its importance.

That said, the Quakes also enter the postseason with a losing record (13-14-7) and the worst goal difference (minus-21) for any playoff team in league history. They are the most cinder-based of the league’s Cinderella stories, and are dismissed with prejudice by most observers as being as one-and-done as one-and-done can be without being none-and-done.

This is a league, though, that has respected timing more than dominance. In 2016, the Montreal Impact finished last in the East and got to the conference final; in 2012, Houston (which was a relocated Quakes team) just snuck in to the postseason and reached the final; in 2005 and 2009, the worst (Los Angeles and Real Salt Lake) ended up first.

In other words, the Quakes’ pedigree, modest though it is, still allows it a counterpuncher’s chance. Its attack, which is third-worst in the league, playoffs or no, is matched by its defense, which is fourth-worst in the league. Their years as a de facto vehicle for Chris Wondolowski are coming to a close, sooner rather than later. They are in no way an elegant team. They are working on their second coach of the year (Chris Leitch).

But therein lies their mutating charm. Their postseason pedigree stinks, but there is a no compelling reason why they cannot cheat a result or two. After all, the lower scoring a sport is, the greater chance for an upset, and the Quakes’ history screams that no franchise could use one more.

So they head for Vancouver, a raucous crowd and a difficult side, carrying with them only their humble resume and the indomitable cheek demanded of the upstart. I mean, anybody in their right mind would much prefer the Whitecaps’ chances, but you gotta be who you gotta be.

Plus, the Quakes are getting a 35th game, which is more than they had a right to expect, all things considered.

NBA fines Curry and Iguodala for incident in Memphis

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NBA fines Curry and Iguodala for incident in Memphis

Programming note: Warriors-Mavs coverage starts today at 4:30pm with Warriors Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area.

Steph Curry owes the NBA some money.

The two-time MVP was fined $50,000 for throwing his mouthpiece near the end of Saturday night's game in Memphis, the league announced.

He won't be suspended.

Andre Iguodala was fined $15,000 for verbally abusing a game official.

"I want to play tonight. Don't think a suspension is necessary," Curry said following shootaround on Monday. "I'm pretty sure based on the precedent that was set last time I threw my mouthpiece, there'll be a fine.

"The timing is getting a little tight thinking about preparing for tonight, but just gotta wait and see."

Curry was fined $25,000 for throwing his mouthpiece during Game 6 of the 2016 Finals.

He did not need to rewatch the incident from Saturday to know he was in the wrong.

"In the grand scheme of things, it's Game 3, we were playing terrible," Curry explained on Monday. "I was frustrated because I was fouling, I thought I got fouled on the last play and the reaction was definitely a little over the top.

"Stuff happens. Try to continue to be myself, show some fire, but do it in a way that doesn't take away from the team and misrepresent who I am."

Kevin Durant -- who was also ejected from the game -- apparently won't receive any additional punishment.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller