Posted on: October 2, 2010 5:15 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2010 5:44 pm

Zito puts Giants in jam

Barry Zito
With the Giants needing just one over the Padres to clinch the National League West, Barry Zito put them in a tough spot with a bad start.

The veteran lefty gave up consecutive singles to open the game, and after a sacrifice moved the runners up, he intentionally walked Adrian Gonzalez to load the bases.

After getting the second out on an infield pop fly, Zito needed an out to escape the jam and had a force at every base. And he did the unthinkable, walking the next two batters, Yorvit Torrealba and Scott Hairston, to force in two runs.

After giving up a third run in the third, it looked like Zito was done, as Aaron Roward headed to the on-deck circle to bat in his place. But Bruce Bochy called Rowand back into the dugout and let Zito bat.

Apparently Bochy decided that if he's going to lose this game, he's not going to also come out of it with a burned-up bullpen when there's a Sunday showdown, and a possible one-game Monday tiebreaker, looming. Zito has put San Francisco in a tough spot.

UPDATE: After Zito walked Padres pitcher Tim Stauffer on five pitches to open the fourth, Bochy pulled the plug. Stauffer ended up scoring, putting the Giants in a 4-0 hole, and San Francisco has to get six innings from the bullpen.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: September 30, 2010 1:29 am
Edited on: September 30, 2010 12:22 pm

Ross calls Latos' comments 'asinine'

Cody Ross Thanks for reading CBSSports.com, Cody Ross.

Tuesday, Padres starter Mat Latos, speaking to CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller , criticized the Giants as a group of mercenaries and not a real team. "We haven't just gone and grabbed guys from other teams."

Guys like Ross, claimed by the Giants on Aug. 23. The former Marlin had harsh words for Latos when speaking to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle .

"It's asinine to say, 'We're a close-knit group and this is our team,'" Ross said. "Every team goes out at the trading deadline and tries to make a deal. It's very rare for an organization to say, 'We don't need any improvements. We're as good as we're going to be.' Every team looks to improve, whether it's one, three or five guys."

On July 31, the Giants made trades for relievers Javier Lopez and Ramon Ramirez. Then during August, the Giants made trades for Mike Fontenot and Jose Guillen, before selecting Ross and Matt Downs off waivers.

At the non-waiver trading deadline, the Giants were 60-45, a game-and-a-half behind the Padres. When they added Ross, the team was 5 1/2 games behind the Padres -- 15 days later they were tied for the NL West lead. As both teams won on Wednesday, the Giants are still two games ahead.

Latos will have a chance to back up his talk on Sunday, when he faces Jonathan Sanchez on Sunday in the last game of the regular season.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 29, 2010 9:30 pm

Gonzalez says Padres fan overreact to article

Adrian Gonzalez San Diego is already getting a little testy about Adrian Gonzalez's impending free agency.

Gonzalez isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2011 season, but he was asked by the Chicago Sun-Times ' Gordon Wittenmeyer if he would be interested in comng to Chicago if the Cubs made an offer.

"There's definitely a lot of positives about Chicago that if they made an offer, I would be interested in it," Gonzalez said. "Chicago's a great town, and they have great fans, and I like the fact that it's a small ballpark. I know the wind can play against you, but it can play for you, too. There's definitely some positives. And my wife loves Chicago for the shopping."

With the Padres falling out of the playoff race in the final two weeks of the season, many questioned Gonzalez's comments. On Wednesday, Gonzalez said it was the timing that got people upset, more than the actual comments.

"The fans' reaction was totally off," Gonzalez told the San Diego Union-Tribune 's Don Norcross . "I think they took this and because we're losing, wanted to turn it into something else. If we would have won those two games [against the Cubs], I don't think they would have made anything out of it."

Padres general manager Jed Hoyer and manager Bud Black backed their player.

"I don't see this as a story," Hoyer said in an e-mail to Norcross.

Gonzalez grew up on both sides of the border in the San Diego area and is due $5.5 million next season before hitting free agency. Many expected the Padres to look to deal Gonzalez this season, but their surprising run -- which included a long stint in first place -- kept him in San Diego.

Gonzalez said he'd like to stay in San Diego -- but did qualify that statement.

"If everyone offers me the same contract, I'll definitely stay here," Gonzalez said.

It's unlikely that will happen. Gonzalez will be one of the premier free agents on the market and the Padres are hardly one of the big spenders in the game.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 29, 2010 9:53 am

Padres' Gonzalez has played hurt since May

Adrian Gonzalez Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said he's been playing hurt since May.

Gonzalez said his right shoulder "flared up" and taken some of his power. He initially hurt the shoulder diving for a ball and has dived for fewer ball since.

"I had to change the way I hit," Gonzalez told the San Diego Union-Tribune 's Don Norcross . "I'm thinking [of hitting] more on top of the ball and hitting more line drives up the middle, [hit] the other way [rather] than trying to look for situations where I can try to hit home runs."

Still, he's put up MVP-worthy numbers, hitting .299/.390/.510 this season with 30 home runs and 98 RBI. He hit 40 homers in 2009 and 36 in 2008.

Gonzalez said he's not dealing with much pain, but is using a more compact swing and lighter bat. His .299 batting average is his best since hitting .304 in his first season in San Diego, 2006.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 28, 2010 8:34 pm

Giants shuffle rotation

Tim Lincecum With an eye toward a possible one-game playoff, the Giants have swapped Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner's spots in the team's rotation.

Lincecum will now pitch tomorrow against the Diamondbacks and Bumgarner will pitch on Thursday. Lincecum, who will be on full rest because of Monday's off day, would then be able to pitch on a full rest in a possible one-game playoff.

San Francisco heads into Tuesday's game with the Diamondbacks one game ahead of the Padres in the National League Central, while the Braves lead the wild card by a half-game over the Padres.

San Diego heads to San Francisco for a three-game series starting Friday. The Giants will have Barry Zito starting the series against the Padres, followed by Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 25, 2010 12:40 pm

Chapman hits 105 -- for real

Aroldis Chapman
This is not a matter of a "hot" radar gun, or an overzealous scouting report, or an urban legend. Reds reliever Aroldis Chapman hit 105.1 mph Friday night, the fastest major-league pitch ever legitimately recorded.

Baseball doesn't keep pitch speed as an official statistic, but it does employ a consistent, high-tech system in ballparks that uses trangulation to capture pitch velocity and movement. You can see the Pitch F/X report for Chapman's outing here.

The young Cuban threw 25 pitches, all but two of them over 100 mph (you have to occasionally mix in that 99.6-mph changeup just to keep hitters off balance, right?). He entered the game against the Padres with two out in the seventh inning to face Adrian Gonzalez, who swung and missed at three pitches: 101, 102 and 103.

The 105-mph pitch (shown in this photo) was a ball, thrown with a 1-2 count on Tony Gwynn, who would strike out. He pitched a scoreless 1 1/3 innings, and in his first 11 career appearances has a 1.86 ERA and has struck out batters at a rate of 12.1 per nine innings.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: September 24, 2010 2:08 pm

Report: Padres claim Felipe Lopez

Felipe Lopez The San Diego Padres have placed a waiver claim on Felipe Lopez, reports MLB.com .

Lopez was released by the Cardinals earlier this week, so the claiming was done on outright release waivers. If the Padres win the claim, which is likely, Lopez will serve as infield depth for the final games as the Pads make a push for the playoffs.

Lopez can play second, short or third base and has been known to get hot with the bat before. Even though Lopez has a .231/.310/.340 line for the Cardinals in 425 at-bats, his prior tenure in St. Louis was also as a late-season postseason acquisition. Lopez delivered in spades back in 2008, checking in with 169 PA and a scorching .385/.426/.538 mark. However, his immaturity and disregard for the game has contributed to Lopez joining his seventh team in 10 seasons.

The Padres currently have David Eckstein at second, Miguel Tejada at short and Chase Headley at third. Backups include Everth Cabrera and Jerry Hairston, Jr. although Hairston was just diagnosed with an injury that ended his season and Cabrera can't hit to save his life. In fact, it's surprising the Giants or Rockies didn't put in a claim to block the Padres.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 23, 2010 10:39 am
Edited on: September 23, 2010 11:26 am

Stairs hoping to play past 2010

Matt Stairs Matt Stairs is looking to extend his career just a bit longer after considering retirement prior to the 2010 season.

Stairs, at the tender age of 42, is currently coming off the bench for the Padres after preparing to retire before San Diego called with an offer. While Stairs has been one of the better power hitters of his generation (and if he had received consistent starting playing time, Bill James contends he could have been a Hall of Famer), 2010 hasn't been kind to the slugger's production.

Hitting just .227, Stairs has been able to couple that with five home runs and 10 walks in 99 plate appearances for a .227.303/.455 mark.

That line could be good enough for teams to go after a veteran pinch hitter, especially one as Stairs whose home run off Jonathan Broxton in the 2008 NLCS still lives on in Philadelphia fame and currently has the most pinch-hit home runs in the history of the game, notching No. 21 on August 21.

Stairs wants to play one or two more years. If he truly wanted to, he would likely find a job battling for a spot in spring training, but it's unlikely he gets anything guaranteed. As long as the DH doesn't exist in the AL, however, Stairs should have no trouble finding NL teams open to giving him a shot.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
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