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Commissioner Rob Manfred on A’s Howard Terminal option: ‘a big positive’

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 15:39:49 UT

Commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t exactly say he favors the Howard Terminal site for an A’s ballpark, but he did come up with a ballpark name. “Jack London Stadium.” Actually, it was a slip. Manfred meant to say building a park near Jack London Square would be a positive and quickly corrected himself at a Tuesday news conference in Glendale, Ariz. Either way, he seemed to approve of the site in the wake of the A’s getting rejected in December in their pursuit to build near Laney College. The other option is the Coliseum parking lot. “Jack London Square is a positive,” Manfred said. “The proximity to downtown generally is a positive.

Giants review new pace-of-play rules in ‘this new game of baseball’

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 15:36:17 UT

Leave it to Madison Bumgarner to put the new pace-of-play rules in perspective. “We’ll find a way to combat these rules,” the Giants’ pitcher said Tuesday, “and figure out this new game of baseball we’re playing.” A day after Major League Baseball announced mound visits will be limited to six in a nine-inning game and inning breaks and pitching changes will be quicker, the players’ reaction continued to be wide-ranging. Commissioner Rob Manfred, at a news conference in Glendale, Ariz., proclaimed that “pace of game is a fan issue,” based on research conducted by MLB and its broadcast partners.

A’s, Giants reactions to new pace-of-play rules not all favorable

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 03:28:52 UT

Kendall Graveman had a simple response to baseball’s new pace-of-play rules that were announced Monday. “I think what it boils down to is, we need to throw more strikes,” the A’s pitcher said from the team’s training camp in Mesa, Ariz. “You look at the Mark Buehrles and Greg Madduxes of the world, they threw some of the quickest games you’d ever imagine, and the reason is they threw a lot of strikes.” As part of the changes, mound visits will be limited to six over nine innings, and the time allotted for pitching changes and inning breaks will be reduced.

MLB adds rules to quicken pace of games

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 01:36:07 UT

Baseball games presumably will be played at a faster pace this season, thanks to changes announced by Commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday. Fans who detest the thought of a pitch clock can rejoice. There won’t be one in 2018, but other changes will be added to hurry the pace, which dragged last season as games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes and 11 seconds — 4½ minutes longer than in 2016. Mound visits will be limited, and the time allotted for pitching changes and inning breaks will be reduced. “I am pleased that we were able to reach an understanding with the Players Association to take concrete steps to address pace of play with the cooperation of players,” Manfred said.

Giants’ players discuss free agency, game’s direction: ‘It’s definitely troubling’

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 03:51:32 UT

Giants first baseman Brandon Belt could have been a free agent for the first time this winter. Shortstop Brandon Crawford, too. They’ve each compiled six full seasons of service time, earning the right to test their value on the open market. Good thing for both that they signed extensions. “I’m very thankful I am where I am right now and don’t have to deal with all that,” Belt said. Had Belt and Crawford been free agents, they might be among the players gathering Tuesday in Bradenton, Fla., for a union-sponsored training camp for free agents.

Giants’ McCutchen helps stir excitement as season beckons

Sun, 11 Feb 2018 15:17:56 UT

Andrew McCutchen didn’t take long to win over Giants fans. At Saturday’s FanFest at AT&T Park, a fan asked a panel of Giants where they get most fired up to play on the road, and McCutchen didn’t think twice. “Somebody I want to stick it to every time I get fired up … is the Dodgers,” said McCutchen, prompting a roar from several hundred fans who broke into a “beat L.A.” chant. It was the first sign that McCutchen will wear his 22 jersey well, a number that was worn by celebrated Giants Will Clark and Jack Clark, both of whom have tales to tell about Giants-Dodgers lore. Manager Bruce Bochy was on the panel, too, along with new center fielder Austin Jackson.

Warriors’ Patrick McCaw to play in G League

Thu, 8 Feb 2018 05:32:08 UT

It’s rare for a player to ask for a demotion, but Patrick McCaw did so in an effort to turn around his season. McCaw asked head coach Steve Kerr if he could spend time with the Santa Cruz Warriors in the G League, and Kerr gave him a thumbs up. “He was happy for me. He was excited I brought it up,” McCaw said. The backup guard will suit up for Golden State’s games Thursday, Saturday and Monday and play for Santa Cruz on Friday and Sunday. “It’s like AAU,” Kerr said. “Five days in a row.” In his second NBA season, McCaw is averaging 3.7 points and hitting on just 25 percent of his threes.

What’s wrong with the Warriors?

Thu, 8 Feb 2018 05:31:35 UT

As head coach Steve Kerr took a seat amid a sea of media about to ask what’s wrong with his Warriors, he joked that Ted Koppel should be covering the story. “Day 4, Warriors in peril,” Kerr said. The standings suggest the Warriors (41-13) are still the grandest team in the land, but the reality is they’ve played far below par lately — and not just over the past four games, three of which they lost, including their first losing streak of the season. Egad, two in a row. The Warriors will try again Thursday night to energize themselves in a home game against the Mavericks, and Kerr is hoping it’ll start on the defensive end, collectively.

Baseball owners, players feud as spring training approaches

Wed, 7 Feb 2018 13:35:04 UT

One week before the Giants and A’s open spring training, baseball is engaging in its nastiest labor strife since the aftermath of the 1994-95 strike, which lasted 232 days and led to the cancellation of the World Series. There appears no end in sight. On Tuesday, Tony Clark, the union’s executive director, cited in a statement a “record number of talented free agents” are without teams despite an industry boasting of record highs in revenues and franchise values. “Spring training has always been associated with hope for a new season,” Clark said. “This year, a significant number of teams are engaged in a race to the bottom.

Giants retiring Barry Bonds’ jersey number: 25

Tue, 6 Feb 2018 19:27:31 UT

While Hall of Fame voters continue to deny Barry Bonds, the Giants continue to honor him. The team announced Tuesday that Bonds’ number (25) will be retired in an Aug. 11 ceremony at AT&T Park. Up until now, the Giants didn’t retire numbers of players not in the Hall of Fame, but they made an exception for Bonds, the home run king who has been on the ballot six years without gaining the 75 percent required for enshrinement. “I’m both honored and humbled that the Giants are going to retire my number this season,” Bonds said in a statement. “As I’ve always said, the Giants and Giants fans are a part of my family.

Giants, agent Scott Boras see different sides of baseball’s stalled market

Wed, 31 Jan 2018 03:36:53 UT

The Giants are trying to trim payroll to avoid paying luxury taxes, and they aren’t alone. Several other traditionally large payroll teams, notably the Yankees and Dodgers, are cutting back for the same reason. While fans root for major upgrades from last year’s 98-loss team, the Giants continue to conduct business with the $197 million luxury tax threshold in mind, citing the long-term benefits to keep the payroll below the threshold for the first time in four years. A renowned player agent suggested in a Chronicle interview that fans who have packed AT&T Park deserve more from a team with immense resources.

Giants invite Duggar, Shaw, 14 other non-roster players to camp

Fri, 26 Jan 2018 04:09:05 UT

Steven Duggar, who’ll get a shot to make the Opening Day roster, is among 16 non-roster players the Giants invited to their spring-training camp. A left-handed swinger, Duggar could make a push to platoon in center field with Austin Jackson, who signed a two-year, $6 million contract this week. Chris Shaw, the club’s best power-hitting prospect, is the other outfielder in the non-roster group, which includes six pitchers, three catchers and five infielders. Lefty Andrew Suarez, who’s on the depth chart of rotation candidates, heads the list of pitchers including Tyler Cyr, Jose Flores, Dereck Rodriguez, Jose Valdez and Madison Younginer.

Four picked for Hall of Fame — Barry Bonds not one of them

Thu, 25 Jan 2018 07:09:41 UT

Barry Bonds still is not a Hall of Famer. Neither is Roger Clemens. In fact, they’re far from it. Four members of the 2018 Hall of Fame class were announced Wednesday: third baseman Chipper Jones, outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, first baseman Jim Thome and closer Trevor Hoffman. Bonds and Clemens hardly got a bump in the voting in their sixth year on the ballot. Bonds received 56.4 percent, barely up from last year’s 53.8 percent. Clemens got 57.3 percent, up from 54.1 percent.

Giants’ Bruce Bochy on 3 newcomers: ‘I really like where we’re at’

Wed, 24 Jan 2018 03:37:45 UT

Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. Mark Twain said that. Or was it Satchel Paige? In this case, the source isn’t important as much as the theme. In the minds of the getting-up-there-in-age Giants, who have augmented their lineup with three experienced hitters, it’s not that they’re getting older as much as they’re getting better. That was Tuesday’s message from executive vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean a day after the Giants signed free-agent outfielder Austin Jackson, who turns 31 on Feb. 1, to join fellow newcomers Evan Longoria, 32, and Andrew McCutchen, 31.

Giants acquire Austin Jackson for outfield depth

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 05:16:52 UT

The Giants found a center fielder at a relatively low price Monday, agreeing to a two-year, $6 million contract with free agent Austin Jackson. Jackson, who turns 31 on Feb. 1, is the third experienced hitter the Giants have added to a lineup that struggled mightily last season. They also traded for third baseman Evan Longoria, 32, and outfielder Andrew McCutchen, 31. A priority after the 98-loss season was improving the outfield defense, and Jackson made one of the most memorable catches of 2017, flipping over the wall of the bullpen in right-center at Fenway Park to rob Hanley Ramirez. Jackson figures to be an upgrade over Denard Span, who was sent to Tampa Bay in the Longoria deal.