Issue: Buster’s backup
Analysis: Manager Bruce Bochy has said that he probably won’t name a backup to Buster Posey until the end of camp, and that deciding between Eli Whiteside and Chris Stewart will be one of his toughest decisions.
It shouldn’t be. It’s an easy call. It should be Hector Sanchez. Read More
Issue: Closing time
Analysis: With All-Star closer Andrew Bailey gone, the most compelling competition at camp — and, with apologies to both infield corners, most likely Oakland’s most difficult decision — revolves around the ninth inning.
Granted, there might not be all that many ninth innings of great consequence for the A’s if a few worst-case scenarios come to fruition. For instance, if the unproven starting pitchers, Yoenis Cespedes and Manny Ramirez don’t come up big, ninth-inning leads could be very few and far between. Read More
The Giants are getting worried about the pace of second baseman Freddy Sanchez’s progress this spring; his surgically repaired throwing shoulder has his availability for Opening Day further and further in doubt every day. Read More
Issue: Running wild?
Analysis: The Giants, buoyed by the arrival of outfielders Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera, are placing an emphasis on aggressive baserunning this spring.
The thinking apparently goes like this: Pagan and Cabrera, along with the relative youth and speed of projected starting shortstop Brandon Crawford, third baseman Pablo Sandoval, right fielder Nate Schierholtz, first base candidate Brandon Belt, catcher Buster Posey and second baseman Freddy Sanchez, will at the very least allow the Giants to put more pressure on opposing defenses. Read More
Position players have filtered into spring training camps everywhere, and in Scottsdale, Ariz., two players garnering much of the early attention are connected in a bizarro-world way.
While Aubrey Huff was among the heroes during the Giants’ 2010 title run, Pablo Sandoval was an afterthought, having eaten his way out of the regular lineup. Huff was rewarded with a two-year, $22 million deal. Sandoval got a public ultimatum from manager Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean, who told the Panda to shape up or prepare to get shipped out (to the minors). Read More
Issue: Manny Ramirez’s arrival
Analysis: Still looking for the downside to signing the disgraced slugger? Might want to pack a lunch. Outside of taking at-bats from some youngsters this spring while Oakland’s brass determines whether Manny can still mash and merits a roster spot when his 50-game suspension is up, there really isn’t one. Read More
Issue: Brian Wilson’s status
Analysis: The All-Star closer’s health, though a concern given his 2011 elbow problems and his recent revelation that he’s suffered hip problems throughout his career, factors into a potential scenario that’s gone largely ignored by fans and the media.
Wilson, who turns 30 in less than a month, isn’t under contract for 2013. Read More
The most remarkable aspect of the Jeremy Lin story isn’t in the numbers he’s putting up on the court, in merchandise stores and in television ratings.
It’s not that he’s captured the hearts of underdog-loving fans on a global scale.
It’s not that he’s turning an NBA stereotype on its head single-handedly.
It’s not even that he’s encroaching on Tim Tebow as a candidate for Sports Story of the Decade.
No, it’s in the refusal of far too many people to simply sit back, take it all in and enjoy the ride. Read More
The Giants managed to stay remarkably healthy in 2010 on their way to winning San Francisco’s first World Series title, particularly during the thrilling stretch drive and dominant playoff run.
That extra month of baseball eventually took its toll, though, and in combination with 2010’s good fortune giving way to buzzard’s luck in the form of freak injuries, the 2011 title defense represented a stark contrast — in the trainer’s room and on the field. Read More
Heading into spring training 2011, the A’s were the boutique pick of many experts as the favorite to win the American League West.
They had finished at an even .500 the previous season, and the offseason additions of Josh Willingham, Hideki Matsui and David DeJesus were thought to be, should everything break right, enough to bolster a previously anemic offense and give Oakland’s fine young starting rotation (and deep, versatile bullpen) a legitimate shot at unseating the defending division champs from Texas. Read More
Got any football games on DVR? If not, you haven’t a single pigskin-viewing option on this, the emptiest of Sundays.
The chicken-wing bones from that Super Bowl party, your attendance at which was regrettable the moment you realized there was more interest in the commercials and Madonna than the game itself, have long since been hauled away. What’s left of the seven-layer dip now has an eighth layer — mold. Read More