Giants

Shaw makes offseason changes to clear final hurdle to big leagues

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USATSI

Shaw makes offseason changes to clear final hurdle to big leagues

SCOTTSDALE — Like every player at Triple-A, Chris Shaw hoped to be greeted by the general manager when his minor league season was over. But he was hoping that meeting would take place in San Francisco, not Sacramento. 

Shaw led the organization in home runs last season with 24 across two levels, but he wasn’t on the list for a September call-up, even though the big league team was finishing off a disappointing season that lacked any semblance of buzz down the stretch. The front office was hesitant to promote Shaw, one of the system’s top prospects, because he doesn’t have to be placed on the 40-man roster until after this season and team officials knew roster spots would be valuable as they tried to reshape the big league team. 

But there was an on-field reason, too, and Bobby Evans always pointed to Shaw’s lack of experience in left field when asked about roster moves. It was a message that Evans gave Shaw in person when they met after a season in which the lefty slugger had a .871 OPS, with 35 doubles to go with those homers. 

“He told me, ‘I think you could help the lineup this year, but we don’t want to rush you defensively.’ I understand that,” Shaw said. “Obviously it’s a little tough to hear when you put yourself in a spot to be up there, but I don’t want to be a guy who goes up and comes right down because my defense is not up to snuff.”

To quiet any doubts the big league staff might have, Shaw has done more than just work on the fundamentals of left field. He lost 15 pounds in the offseason to try and become lighter on his feet in left field. The transformation was not something that the front office or training staff told Shaw to do. It was something he felt was necessary, though. 

“In my mind, it was how can I stay lighter on my feet and be quicker. I talked to the Giants (coaches and front office people) and they said I get good reads out there, but it’s just that first step that’s lacking a little quickness,” he said. “I thought that if I get leaner that the first step quickness would come on its own. 

To drop the weight, Shaw — who was listed at 6-foot-4, 235 pounds last season — tried a modified paleo diet. It wasn’t as strict as the one Hunter Pence famously embraced in past years, but Shaw still stuck to healthier food for most of an offseason spent training in Boston.

“But obviously there were days I would go crush a pizza,” he said, laughing. 

Shaw’s physique has never been an issue for the Giants. He was physically imposing the day he visited AT&T Park after being drafted 31st overall in 2015. He likes what he’s seen from the offseason changes, though.

“My swing feels the same and the power is the same, but the outfield stuff is where I feel different this spring,” he said. “I feel lighter on my feet and I have more energy in games.”

In his second big league camp, Shaw has been working with the big league outfielders in the morning and soaking in advice from a group of veterans. He already has implemented one tip from Hunter Pence about pre-pitch preparation, and the work — both on the field and in the offseason — has been noticed. Bench coach Hensley Meulens now works with the outfielders, and he said Triple-A manager Dave Brundage and hitting coach Damon Minor have already mentioned that they’ve seen a difference in Shaw’s defensive ability. 

“They said he’s definitely improved the way he’s moving in the outfield,” Meulens said. “He sees the writing on the wall."

Brandon Crawford starts first All-Star Game with family in the stands

Brandon Crawford starts first All-Star Game with family in the stands

Brandon Crawford notched an important first in his second-ever All-Star Game appearance on Tuesday. 

The three-time defending Gold Glove winner started in the game for the first time in his eight-year career in the majors. Crawford finished with just over 3 million votes, and the fourth-most among the NL players that fans picked to start. 

Crawford struck out in both of his plate appearances. He struck out swinging on the first, and looking on the second. Crawford's wife, Jalynne Crawford, was none too pleased with the strike zone on the evening.

He didn't see much action in the field, either. Crawford told NBC Sports Bay Area's Amy Gutierrez in a postgame interview he wasn't too upset he had a quiet night.

“I’m excited to be a part of it either way," Crawford said. "Even if I didn't even get in, it would be cool to be here."

However...

"But I would like to get a ground ball. I would like to be involved somehow,” he added with a smile.

The Crawfords surely had a much better time with their four children, all of whom made the trip to the nation's capital. 

Our loves ❤️Repeat of 2015 @amyc23 ❤️Our All-Stars ⭐️💫✨

A post shared by Jalynne Crawford (@jalynnecrawford) on

All-Star (Fam) ⭐️ #SFGiants

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“It's fun. They have no idea what's going on really," Crawford said of his children enjoying the All-Star festivities. "They see that everybody's excited so they get excited about it. That's kind of what makes it so fun.”

Crawford's NL may have lost 8-6 in extra innings to the AL, but Crawford left D.C. with bragging rights. In a trivia contest about his sister, Amy, Crawford bested her husband (and All-Star pitcher) Gerrit Cole.

MLB rumors: Dodgers appear to be leaders for Manny Machado; trade framework in place

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AP

MLB rumors: Dodgers appear to be leaders for Manny Machado; trade framework in place

The Dodgers might be on the verge of making a big splash.

Los Angeles appears to be the leader in the Manny Machado sweepstakes, according to Jon Heyman of FanCred Sports.

The Orioles have the structure of a deal in place, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.

Machado, who will play in his fourth All-Star Game on Tuesday night, is hitting .315 with 24 home runs and 65 RBI this season.

The soon-to-be unrestricted free agent won the AL Gold Glove in 2013 and 2015.

The Dodgers (53-43) lead the NL West by 0.5 games and are four ahead of the Giants (50-48).