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  • Thursday, October 23, 2014
    Change of Hart: Braves name team president
    By The Sports Xchange

    Veteran baseball executive John Hart reversed course and opted to accept a three-year deal to become president of baseball operations with the Atlanta Braves.

    • The 66-year-old Hart, who has been acting as interim general manager, said earlier this month he preferred to remain with the team as its top adviser rather than committing to a job with such significant time demands.

      Hart was the first choice of Atlanta president John Schuerholz and Bobby Cox, the Braves' former manager now serving in a top adviser role, who first tried to persuade Hart to take the job after the firing of Frank Wren Sept. 22.

      "I'm delighted that John Hart has agreed to accept the position of President, Baseball Operations," Schuerholz said in a statement Thursday. "Our organization is now poised to move forward in the best possible manner to do the important work that lies ahead. John's credentials speak for themselves. He has had great success as a baseball executive and demonstrated remarkable ability to construct championship teams. We are excited by John's dynamic and positive leadership style and look forward to him leading our baseball operations."

      Hart previously worked for the Texas Rangers as a senior advisor and general manager, spanning 12 years, and was general manager of the Cleveland Indians for 10 seasons.

      Precise roles with the Braves will be worked out, but Hart will likely expand the hierarchy beneath him in the front-office flow chart. Similar setups are used with the Chicago Cubs, and president Theo Epstein, and in-progress with the Los Angeles Dodgers, headed by Andrew Friedman. Assistant GM John Coppolella is likely to serve a general manager role and could get the job title to match.

      Coppolella, 36, is considered by many a rising front-office star. Another potential candidate discussed was Dan O'Dowd, who resigned earlier this month after 15 seasons as general manager of the Colorado Rockies.

      Hart joined the Braves in November 2013. A two-time Major League Executive of the Year, Hart spent 2002-05 as GM and 2006-13 as senior advisor for the Texas Rangers. He spent 13 seasons with the Cleveland Indians, the last 10 as executive vice president and general manager.

  • Thursday, October 23, 2014
    Giants RHP Lincecum day-to-day
    By The Sports Xchange

    Right-handed reliever Tim Lincecum is happy to be heading out of Kansas City after vomiting in the bullpen in Game 1 and leaving the second game for the San Francisco Giants back stiffness.

    • Lincecum, a former Cy Young winner as a starting pitcher, was a bright spot out of the bullpen with 1 2/3 scoreless innings before he left the game with tightness in his lower back.

      He entered the game in the seventh inning and sat down five in a row, but winced on his second-to-last pitch when he appeared to overextend and lose his balance on his plant leg. The next pitch skipped in front of home plate, and Lincecum called for the Giants' trainer.

      "The pitch before the last one, I felt something tighten up in my lower back," Lincecum said. "I just decided not to go any further."

      Lincecum, who was moved to the bullpen with a 4.64 ERA, had not pitched since the final day of the regular season. He said there were plenty of chances to pitch off the mound in the bullpen and in side sessions.

      "You get out there in the game-time atmosphere and you don't worry about how long it's been," he said. "You just go out there and compete. Your body taps into what it's comfortable with, and today that's what it was."

      Manager Bruce Bochy said Lincecum threw the ball "great" and did not know what impact the long layoff might've had. While the Royals showed in taking Game 2 to tie the World Series at 1-1 that their bullpen is a strength, there are suddenly significant questions about where Bochy could turn if he needs help in the middle innings of games 3, 4 and 5 at AT&T Park this weekend.

      He's hopeful Lincecum is available, with rookie right-hander Hunter Strickland looking fragile after a sixth-inning implosion that included a bench-clearing staredown sparked by Strickland jawing.

      "We're going to need help in the sixth, seventh inning," Bochy said. "I like the way he threw the ball today. It's been a while since he pitched. But I thought overall he looked good for the long layoff. So he can be in the mix."

  • Thursday, October 23, 2014
    Five things we know heading into World Series Game 3
    By The Sports Xchange

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A five-run, sixth-inning rally led the Kansas City Royals to a 7-2 victory over the Giants on Wednesday in Game 2 of the World Series, offsetting San Francisco's 7-1 win in the opener.

    • Here are five things we know about the World Series as it switches to San Francisco for Game 3 on Friday:

      --5. Billy Butler has the most seniority among the Kansas City players, and he is stepping up in the clutch. The designated hitter went 2-for-3 Wednesday, driving in two runs, including the go-ahead score in the sixth. He likely will be out of the starting lineup in San Francisco because of the National League rules that do not include the designated hitter. However, manager Ned Yost said Butler could still play a key role.

      "Having a guy like Billy on the bench is extremely valuable late in the game," he said. You don't have to start the game to win the game."

      --4. The Giants' bullpen, especially the middle relief, suddenly looks vulnerable. San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy ran through five pitchers in the decisive sixth inning. Right-hander Tim Lincecum later left the game due to lower-back tightness, though Bochy said the long reliever should recover quickly.

      "I think we're great," said reliever Jeremy Affeldt, who stopped the damage by inducing a double play to end the sixth. "I think you can have situations like that (inning) that happen. Good teams can do that to a bullpen. But I think it got out of hand, and that does happen. I think our bullpen throws a lot of strikes, and we are going up against a team that's aggressive. We just didn't make good pitches.

      --3. Giants right-hander Tim Hudson is scheduled to start Game 3, and Bochy is confident he is over his late-season struggles. Hudson went 0-5 in September with an 8.72 ERA.

      "I don't know if it was fatigue as much as he was dealing with a nagging hip," Bochy said. "It's hard enough to play this game when you're healthy, but when you're pitching and your hip's bothering you...

      "He's a warrior. He was never complaining. He was never making excuses, but it was a fact."

      Hudson pitched well in a National League Division Series start against the Washington Nationals, then had a mediocre outing in an NL Championship Series start against the St. Louis Cardinals. He will be facing a Kansas City lineup that won eight consecutive games entering the World Series, then got back on track Wednesday with seven runs on 10 hits.

      --2. Kansas City's bullpen is in good shape, especially the back end. Yost didn't have to use right-handers Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland in Game 1. The trio combined for 3 2/3 innings of scoreless, one-hit relief in Game 2. Herrera threw 1 2/3 innings Wednesday, with a long gap between the sixth and seventh while the Royals were breaking the game open. Yost then got Davis and Holland into the game for an inning each.

      "(The layoff) didn't affect them," Yost said of his dynamic trio. "It helped them. It gave them some extra days. Kel came in in the sixth inning throwing fastballs up to 101 miles an hour."

      --1. The Royals have life. Forty-two of 53 teams to take a 2-0 World Series lead won the Series. Only the 1985 Royals and the 1986 New York Mets won the World Series after losing the first two games at home. However, a 1-1 tie means it is anybody's Series to win. The Royals, who finished five games better on the road (47-34) than at home (42-39), are feeling good going to San Francisco.

      "I felt like (Game 2) was definitely a must-win for us," Butler said. "Granted, going down 0-2, we see what happened with us in the Baltimore series. The home team carries a lot of momentum back to their home park. We stepped up big there as a team, and that gave us some confidence in that clubhouse."

  • Thursday, October 23, 2014
    Royals ride five-run inning to Game 2 rout
    By The Sports Xchange

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Thanks to one big rally, the World Series is now a best-of-five.

    • Salvador Perez hit a two-run double and Omar Infante belted a two-run homer in a five-run sixth inning, and the Kansas City Royals defeated the San Francisco Giants 7-2 Wednesday night to even the World Series at one game apiece.

      It was almost a must-win game for the Royals, who lost the opener 7-1 while mustering only four hits. They could ill afford to go to San Francisco for the next three games down 0-2 after hosting the opening two games at Kauffman Stadium.

      "It's a huge win for us to give us that fresh start ... in San Francisco," Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "It's a new series. We play good on the road as a team."

      Kansas City center fielder Lorenzo Cain added, "We definitely felt like we needed to leave here 1-1. We found a way to get it done. We needed this win. We always talk about a happy flight when we travel. It's definitely going to be a happy flight tonight."

      The trek will seem long for the Giants and manager Bruce Bochy, who used five pitchers in the sixth inning as his bullpen imploded.

      San Francisco starter Jake Peavy, who retired 10 consecutive batters entering the sixth, was pulled after Cain singled and Hosmer walked to start the inning with the score 2-2.

      With designated hitter Billy Butler, 15-for-35 career off Peavy including a RBI single in the first, coming to the plate, Bochy summoned right-hander Jean Machi. Butler laced a single to left-center, scoring Cain to put the Royals on top.

      "That was a monster hit for us," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "I felt really strongly that whoever scored that third run was going to win the game."

      After left-hander Javier Lopez retired left fielder Alex Gordon, right-hander Hunter Strickland was called on to face Perez, and the Kansas City catcher ripped a two-run double. Next, Infante blasted a 1-0 pitch over the Royals' left field bullpen fence, the second baseman's first postseason home run in 145 at-bats.

      Strickland and Perez had words around the plate, but Infante quickly got Perez headed to the dugout and the umpires stepped in as the dugouts briefly cleared.

      "After I hit the double, he started looking at me, so I asked him like, 'Hey, why you look at me?'" Perez said. "So he was telling me, 'Get out of here, whatever.' So I don't know. (I said), 'You don't have to treat me like that. Look at Omar. Omar hit a bomb. I didn't hit a bomb. I hit a double.'

      "I don't know what happened with that guy. But the last thing, we don't want to fight on the field. I'm not that kind of person."

      Strickland allowed two inherited runners to score and two of his own in six pitches without retiring a batter.

      "My emotions got the best of me," Strickland said. "It was just miscommunication between the two of us. I was more frustrated with myself. There are no hard feelings with anybody."

      Giants left-hander Jeremy Affeldt recorded the last two outs of the inning.

      "We feel good coming out of here 1-1," Affeldt said. "We knew this was going to be a tough series. I don't think I would have predicted the scores, but we knew it was going to be a dogfight, so we were prepared. We could have lost 3-2 tonight and been in the same situation."

      Right-hander Yordano Ventura, who became the first Kansas City rookie to start a World Series game at any position, left after 5 1/3 innings and 87 pitches. He permitted two runs on eight hits with two strikeouts and no walks. Ventura was pitching the first time since Oct. 11, when he left Game 2 of the American League Championship Series after 5 2/3 innings due to shoulder tightness.

      Manager Ned Yost went to his bullpen, bringing in right-hander Kelvin Herrera after catcher Buster Posey and right fielder Hunter Pence singled in the sixth. Herrera's first three pitches hit 100-101 mph on the radar gun. Herrera retired first baseman Brandon Belt on a fly to left and designated hitter Michael Morse on a grounder to keep the score tied at 2.

      "I think I was hitting the spots good with that velocity today," Herrera said.

      Herrera, who picked up the victory, went 1 2/3 hitless innings, striking out one and walking two.

      Peavy, who was charged with four runs on six hits in five-plus innings, took the loss. He walked two and struck out one.

      "Going into the sixth, it was a 2-2 game," Peavy said. "Unfortunately, they got us in a jam there.

      "It's disappointing anytime you lose. There's nothing to hang our heads about. We had an inning that got away from us and we lost a ballgame. We're going home, in front of our home crowd."

      Royals right-handers Wade Davis and Greg Holland combined to strike out five in the final two innings, sending the teams to San Francisco with the series even.

      Game 3, 4 and 5 will be played in San Francisco on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

      Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum, who had not pitched in 23 days, retired the first five batters he faced, but he motioned the trainer out after bouncing a pitch to Perez in the eighth. After a brief conversation, Lincecum was led off the field and replaced by Santiago Casilla.

      "His lower back tightened up pretty good on him," Bochy said. "We think he'll be fine."

      Leading off the game, San Francisco center fielder Gregor Blanco turned on a 98 mph, full-count Ventura fastball and deposited it in the Giants' right field bullpen. Blanco became the 17th player to lead off a World Series game with a home run. The previous was two were Boston Red Sox: second baseman Dustin Pedroia in 2007 and outfielder Johnny Damon in 2004.

      The Royals tied it in the bottom of the inning when Butler's two-out single scored Cain. Butler's hit snapped Kansas City's 0-for-17 streak with runners in scoring position.

      The Royals forged ahead in the second when shortstop Alcides Escobar's two-out double down the right field line scored Infante, who drilled a one-hop double to the left field line.

      Third baseman Pablo Sandoval and Belt doubled in the Giants' fourth to tie the score.

      NOTES: Before the game, Royals RHP Greg Holland was honored with the Mariano Rivera Award for the best relief pitcher in the AL and Braves RHP Craig Kimbrel was given the Trevor Hoffman Award for best relief pitcher in the NL. Holland saved 46 games during the regular season. ... During the Giants' seven-game World Series winning streak through Game 1, the pitching staff posted a 1.13 ERA, allowing eight earned runs in 64 innings. ... Two veteran right-handers, Jeremy Guthrie of the Royals and Tim Hudson of the Giants, are the pitching probables for Game 3 on Friday in San Francisco. LHP Jason Vargas will start Saturday for the Royals, while the Giants will counter with RHP Ryan Vogelsong. The Giants went 30-30 against left-handed starters during the season and 58-44 against right-handers. ... Royals Hall of Famer George Brett threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Phillip Phillips, a platinum recording artist, performed the national anthem.

  • Thursday, October 23, 2014
    Giants' Morse bounces back in playoffs
    By The Sports Xchange

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Playing for his fourth team in three years, Michael Morse is still trying to get back to the levels he established in 2011.

    • The San Francisco Giants' designated hitter during the first two games of the World Series, Morse is hitting .333 (4-for-12) with one home run and two RBIs through six playoff games. He went 1-for-3 Wednesday during San Francisco's 7-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals that left the series tied at one game apiece.

      Morse established career bests in 2011 with the Washington Nationals, hitting .303 with 36 doubles, 31 home runs and 95 RBIs.

      He missed two months in 2012 with a right lateral strain but hit .291 with 18 home runs in 102 games and added a home run in the playoffs against the St. Louis Cardinals.

      Morse's career took a detour in 2013. He was traded in January to the Seattle Mariners, then was shipped to the Baltimore Orioles on Aug. 20. He combined to hit .215 with 13 home runs in 312 at-bats. Not a good resume for a player entering the free agent market.

      He signed a one-year contract with the Giants on Dec. 17, 2013. His RBI single in the fourth inning Tuesday chased Royals starter James Shields as the Giants breezed to a 7-1 victory in Game 1 of the World Series.

      "Last year I had a really down year," Morse said before Game 2. "For (the Giants) to take a flier out on me this year and give me an opportunity to come here and just believe in me in general was huge. It was such an honor to be a part of this team.

      "When my agents told me that the Giants were interested in me, I pretty much said, that's the team I want to be with."

      Morse was a mainstay for the Giants until an oblique injury kept him out of all but one September game. He was left off the roster for the National League wild-card and NL Division Series because of the injury before he was activated to serve as a pinch hitter in the NL Championship Series. Morse started 82 games in left field and 39 at first base during the regular season.

      "There was a point that I didn't know if I'd be able to get back in time," Morse said. "It was always, 'When we get to the NLCS.' ...

      "In 2012 after we lost in the division when I was with the Nationals, if you would have told me, 'Don't worry, in two years you'll be in the World Series,' I wouldn't have believed you," he said. "But I got an opportunity to meet (Giants manager) Bruce Bochy, and the little time we had together we kind of clicked."

  • Thursday, October 23, 2014
    Royals DH Butler set for move to pinch-hit role
    By The Sports Xchange

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Manager Ned Yost used an identical Kansas City Royals lineup for the team's first 10 postseason games, but that will change Friday for Game 3 of the World Series.

    • Designated hitter Billy Butler batted fifth between two left-handed hitters, first baseman Eric Hosmer and left fielder Alex Gordon, in the 10 postseason games played at American League parks. When the World Series schedule switches Friday to San Francisco, Yost will not write Butler's name in the lineup. Pitchers will hit with the designated hitter excluded in a National League park.

      Butler will be relegated to pinch-hit duty for weekend games at AT&T Park.

      "I've had pretty good success in my career as a pinch hitter," said Butler, who went 2-for-3 with two RBIs in the Royals' 7-2 win over the San Francisco Giants in Game 2 on Wednesday. "I basically go up there and my job every day is basically like four pinch hits. Basically, treat it as that.

      "Granted, if you have one pinch hit that day, you have to wait a little bit longer for the next one. But usually it's in a big situation, where it can decide the outcome of the game. And if it doesn't work out, which pinch-hitting odds aren't in your favor, you've just got to go up there and try to put a good at-bat together.

      "That being said, it doesn't always have a good outcome. You just have to have a short memory and look for your next opportunity."

      Butler went 4-for-6 with a home run and three RBIs as a pinch hitter this season. In 44 career plate appearances as a pinch hitter, Butler is hitting .306 with a .987 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. He has seven walks, three doubles, two home runs and four RBIs.

  • Wednesday, October 22, 2014
    World Series notebook: Lincecum overcomes illness
    By The Sports Xchange

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Tim Lincecum was throwing up instead of throwing in the bullpen Tuesday ahead of Game 1 of the World Series.

    • "I didn't know he was sick," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Wednesday. "My trainer Dave Groeschner said he got sick about a half-hour before the game and he was throwing up. He had told (pitching coach) Dave Righetti, and he was looking for me.

      "He rebounded very well. He was OK to pitch, so he didn't feel like he had to tell me at this point."

      The brief illness prevented Lincecum from coming out for the introductions before the series opener at Kauffman Stadium.

      "There was no intent on missing going out there for the lineup," Bochy said. "I don't look at each player. I've got 40 to 50 guys out there, it seems like, so I didn't notice (Lincecum's absence). He was good to go for the game, and he's fine now."

      Lincecum, a two-time National League Cy Young Award winner, lost his spot in the rotation in the second half of the season. He had yet to appear in a postseason game this year through Tuesday, though he was available as a reliever.

      --After starting the postseason with eight consecutive victories, the Kansas City Royals fell 7-1 at home to the Giants in the World Series opener Tuesday night.

      Catcher Salvador Perez, who homered in the seventh for the Royals' only run, was talking to his teammates even before the game ended to lift their spirits.

      "I've never seen Salvy walk through this clubhouse door with anything but a big smile on his face," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said Wednesday. "He loves playing baseball. He loves being around his teammates. He loves rallying the guys. He loves keeping the guys loose, and he just loves playing baseball.

      "Last year and the year before when we'd play a 162-game season ... he'd want to go straight to Venezuela and play baseball there. It was like, 'You need to take a break.'"

      --Giants right-hander Tim Hudson, who will start Game 3 Friday at San Francisco, struggled in September, going 0-4 with an 8.72 ERA in five starts. Opponents hit .357 off him with a .531 slugging percentage.

      Hudson threw 189 1/3 innings during the regular season, his highest total since 2011.

      "I don't know if it was fatigue as much as he was dealing with a nagging hip," Bochy said of Hudson's poor finish. "It's hard enough to play this game when you're healthy, but you're pitching and your hip's bothering you a little bit, and he's a warrior, he was never complaining. He was never making excuses, but it was a fact. I think it was affecting him a little bit. We've gotten that cleared up and behind him."

      In two postseason starts, Hudson has no decisions and a 3.29 ERA. He allowed five runs and 14 hits in 13 2/3 innings.

      "Since he's gotten healthy, he's throwing the ball the way he was early in the season," Bochy said.

      --Royals left-hander Danny Duffy threw 59 pitches, 37 for strikes, in three-plus innings in the World Series opener. It was his first appearance since Oct. 2, when he threw one inning.

      When would he be available again?

      "We could bring him back Friday for an inning and multiple innings on Saturday, if we needed him again," Yost said. "He should be in pretty good shape by then."

  • Wednesday, October 22, 2014
    Twins decline Burton's contract option
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Minnesota Twins paid right-hander Jared Burton a $200,000 buyout and declined the option on his 2015 contract.

    • Burton, who was scheduled to make $3.6 million next year, pitched in 68 games this past year for the Twins and posted a 3-5 record with three saves and a 4.36 ERA in 64 innings.

      The 33-year-old pitcher spent the first five seasons of his major league career with the Cincinnati Reds before going to the Twins in 2012.

  • Wednesday, October 22, 2014
    Same stage, new uniform for Giants' Peavy
    By The Sports Xchange

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jake Peavy earned a World Series ring with the Boston Red Sox last year.

    • The right-hander will try to move closer to another championship when he starts Wednesday in Game 2 of the World Series for the San Francisco Giants against the Kansas City Royals.

      Peavy was 1-9 with a 4.72 ERA in 20 starts for the Red Sox this year before the Giants acquired him in a July 26 trade. He turned his season around with San Francisco, going 6-4 with a 2.17 ERA in 12 starts.

      "Getting back here is the world," Peavy said of pitching in the World Series. "When you win one, as I was so fortunate to be able to last year, you would think that would quench you. It actually made it worse. We talked about that a lot in Boston this year. You really can't settle for anything less, and nothing else is acceptable.

      "You want something so bad, you achieve it, and you can't put into words how bad your want more. So it's a fun time for me. I'm going to exhaust every option (Wednesday) night to try to find a way to beat Kansas City. It's going to be really tough.

      "They're certainly on a great run. They're playing good baseball and playing with a lot of confidence. We all know when a team's playing with confidence, they're a dangerous team."

      While the Red Sox finished last in the American League East this year, Peavy went on to reach the postseason again. He threw 5 2/3 shutout innings in a win over the Washington National in the National League Division Series, and he gave up two runs in four innings in a no-decision against the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Championship Series.

      "It's been a blessing, first off, to be thrust into these situations when you have wanted nothing but this, and I can truly say that," Peavy said before the Giants won Game 1 of the World Series 7-1 over the Royals.

  • Wednesday, October 22, 2014
    Royals' Ventura ready to bring the heat for Game 2
    By The Sports Xchange

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Rookie right-hander Yordano Ventura, who starts Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday for the Kansas City Royals against the San Francisco Giants, did not always hit 100 mph with his fastball.

    • "When I was signed at 17, I looked around and I weighed 120 pounds more or less," the 23-year-old Dominican Republic native said Tuesday. "I saw other kids that were bigger than me, and some were throwing harder, some weren't. But I always believed if I could get bigger that I could continue to build arm strength.

      "So it was just a short year later that I went from maybe 87 to what I remember being 93 miles an hour. And then to begin the (Dominican) Summer League with the Royals team I was with, began to build. A year later, it felt like it was 95.

      "It was just kind of a year-by-year thing where I continued to increase. In 2010, I was in Arizona in the Fall League and I hit 100 for the first time in a start. So I think that's obviously a moment where I felt I had a special ability to be able to pitch and throw with that kind of velocity."

      Kansas City right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, who will start Game 3 on Friday, remembers when Ventura made his big league debut last September.

      "Yordano came in last year guns a blazing," Guthrie said. "His talent was evident from the very first start he made with us. I think the most impressive thing to those who were watching, teammate or opposing teams, was the level of command he had with above-average pitches.

      "When you watch him, you realize it's not just 100 miles an hour that gets people out, but he has a very, very sharp curveball and one that anybody would hope to have in the repertoire. He has an excellent changeup. That's a weapon for him, that when he unleashes it will only make him better."

      After a three-start trial in September 2013, Ventura became a fixture in the Royals' rotation this year, going 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA.

      In the postseason, Ventura threw seven innings of one-run ball in a no-decision against the Los Angeles Angels in the American League Division Series, and he gave up four runs in 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Baltimore Orioles in the AL Championship Series. He also was touched for two runs in one-third of an inning in a relief appearance during Kansas City's AL wild-card win over the Oakland A's.

  • Wednesday, October 22, 2014
    Bumgarner, Giants cruise in World Series opener
    By The Sports Xchange

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- This is October ball, not an August game.

    • In the World Series opener, San Francisco left-hander Madison Bumgarner did not pitch the way he did in August against Kansas City, and Royals right-hander James Shields certainly did not match his performance from Aug. 9, when he shut out the Giants on four hits.

      Bumgarner allowed three hits over seven innings, and Hunter Pence hit a two-run homer in the first as the Giants toppled the Royals 7-1 Tuesday night in Game 1 of the World Series.

      Bumgarner's major-league-record postseason road scoreless streak was snapped at 32 1/3 innings in the seventh when catcher Salvador Perez homered into the Royals' bullpen. Bumgarner, who lost to the Royals on Aug. 8, when he yielded four runs on seven hits, retired 12 batters in a row before Perez's two-out blast.

      "It's tough not to pay attention to a streak when you've got it going," Bumgarner said. "I don't care. I'm not here trying to set records and keep streaks going, but you do know about it. But tonight, that was the last thing on my mind. We're up 7-0, so I'm just trying to compete and go after guys and be aggressive.

      "Perez is a big, strong kid. It was a pretty good pitch."

      Bumgarner had not allowed a playoff run on the road since Brian McCann's solo home run on Oct. 11, 2010, at Atlanta. Bumgarner gave up one run, walked one and struck out five Tuesday.

      "He was on top of his game, hitting sports, a good fastball going, but his secondary pitches were good, too," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

      The Royals won their first eight playoff games this year and 11 straight dating to 1985, but they were overwhelmed by the Giants, who are trying to win their third World Series in five years. The winner of Game 1 has won 69 of the 109 World Series (63.3 percent), including 15 of the past 17.

      "We didn't expect to come in here and sweep the San Francisco Giants," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "They swung the bats really well. Bumgarner, he was dynamite. Man, was he good tonight."

      Pence began the night 0-for-11 against Shields, but the right fielder homered in the first with third baseman Pablo Sandoval aboard, then doubled off Shields to lead off the fourth.

      Shields was shaky from the beginning, and the Giants took advantage to score three runs on five hits in the first, highlighted by Pence's two-out, two-run homer.

      "It wasn't my night," Shields said. "My fastball was up in the zone in the first inning."

      Center fielder Gregor Blanco, a former Royal, began the San Francisco first with a single to shallow center. Catcher Buster Posey's one-out single put runners on the corners. Sandoval doubled down the right field line, scoring Blanco, but Posey was out at the plate trying to score from first. Sandoval's 11 postseason doubles are a club record, and he extended his streak of reaching base to 24 consecutive postseason games.

      Pence, a 2014 All-Star who played in all 162 games, homered to center on a full-count pitch, providing the Giants with a 3-0 advantage. Pence, who hit a puny .074 with two RBIs in the final 14 regular-season games, has reached base safely in 14 straight postseason games.

      "It's a definitely a good feeling to come out and play the way we did here," Pence said. "It was a lot of days before both teams played. I think Blanco's leadoff at-bat really was amazing. Not only that first inning, but also the way Madison came out and pitched the way he did, getting us in pretty quick innings. It settles you into the ballgame and makes it feel pretty good."

      The Royals loaded the bases in the third but came away empty against Bumgarner, who struck out shortstop Alcides Escobar and right fielder Nori Aoki for the first two outs.

      "Those strikeouts situations, we were going for them and trying to keep them off the board," Bumgarner said. "That's nice. That is one of my favorite things to be able to do in baseball is to work through a situation like that one."

      Third baseman Mike Moustakas, who doubled in the inning, said, "When you've got a guy like that with runners in scoring position and nobody out, those are important runs that you've got to find ways to push across. We just didn't get it done."

      First baseman Eric Hosmer grounded out to end the inning.

      "We can't leave runners in scoring position on base especially against a guy like that," Hosmer said. "We've got to cash in."

      Shields did not record an out in the fourth inning.

      Pence led off with a double down the left field line and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Belt walked, and Morse's RBI single finished Shields, who was replaced by left-hander Danny Duffy.

      Pinch hitter Juan Perez's sacrifice bunt moved Belt and Morse up 90 feet. Duffy, who had not pitched in 19 days, then walked shortstop Brandon Crawford and Blanco to bring Belt home, putting the Royals in a 5-0 hole.

      Shields, who can become a free agent after the World Series and is known as "Big Game James," retired only nine of the 16 batters he faced and was charged with five runs on seven hits, a walk and a wild pitch in three-plus innings. In four 2014 playoff starts, Shields has allowed 15 runs and 28 hits in 18 innings for a 7.50 ERA.

      The Giants added two superfluous runs in the seventh, which included second baseman Joe Panik's run-producing triple and an RBI single from Sandoval. The San Francisco third baseman collected multiple hits for the fifth time in 11 playoff games this year.

      "We saw the way other teams faced their pitching staff," Blanco said. "They were rushing and swinging at pretty much everything. We just needed to make (Shields) throw strikes. I told myself if I got on base I was going to be aggressive."

      NOTES: INF Jayson Nix was added to the Royals' World Series roster in place of rookie INF Christian Colon, who was on the AL Championship Series roster. Nix was last on the roster for the wild-card victory over the Oakland A's. ... Royals manager Ned Yost said RHP Jeremy Guthrie would start Friday and LHP Jason Vargas on Saturday. ... Giants veteran RHP Jake Peavy and Royals rookie RHP Yordano Ventura will start Wednesday.

  • Wednesday, October 22, 2014
    Five things we know heading into World Series Game 2
    By The Sports Xchange

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Behind Hunter Pence's bat and Madison Bumgarner's left arm, the San Francisco Giants cruised to a 7-1 win over the Kansas City Royals in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday.

    • Here are five things we know about the World Series heading into Game 2:

      --Pence finally figured out James Shields. The San Francisco right fielder came into the World Series 0-for-11 all-time against Shields. He hit a two-run home run in the first, then led off the third with a double and came around to score the fourth run off Shields. The three runs the Giants scored in the first inning gave Bumgarner a comfortable cushion, and the lefty coasted through seven innings.

      "When you've got Madison on the mound, even when it's 0-0, you still feel very confident," Pence said. "We have all the confidence in the world with Bumgarner on the mound, no matter what the score is."

      --Bumgarner knows how to pitch in the postseason, especially on the road. He extended his playoff road scoreless streak to a major-league-record 32 2/3 innings before giving up a solo home run to catcher Salvador Perez in the seventh..

      "You know what, I felt pretty good," Bumgarner said. "It was just about going out and making pitches and executing. I know that's a boring answer, but for me, that's all it is."

      Manager Bruce Bochy said of Bumgarner's postseason success away from AT&T Park, "Some things are hard to explain in this game. I can't tell you anything that would make sense of it, but he's been pitching well at home, too."

      --The Giants are seeking to become the 11th team in the past 12 years to win the World Series after winning the opener. The only team since 2003 that lost the first game and went on to win the World Series was the 2009 New York Yankees, who dropped the first game against the Philadelphia Phillies but came back to win the series 4-2.

      San Francisco won the first game of each series on the road this postseason, including a wild-card game victory over the Pirates in Pittsburgh.

      "It's huge to be able to win that first game in the series," Giants center fielder Gregor Blanco said. "That puts pressure on the other team. We've got to go out tomorrow and keep playing baseball and try to win the second game. If we can do it, we can add more pressure."

      --The Royals must respond to a loss for the first time since Sept. 27, when they fell to the Chicago White Sox in the penultimate game of the regular season. A day earlier, Kansas City clinched a spot in the postseason.

      "I can speak for everybody in this clubhouse: We're not worried about it," third baseman Mike Moustakas said. "We're going to go out tomorrow and play the same game for whatever got us here. We're not concerned about it. We're not happy about it. We've got another game tomorrow.

      "(Kansas City's Game 2 starter Yordano Ventura) throws 100 (mph). The guy has an electric arm with a plus curveball, plus everything. He can go out and dominate a lineup. He's a confident kid, going out there having that swagger. We feed off of him."

      --The Kansas City bullpen endured its longest stint in the postseason, amassing six innings in relief of James Shields. With regular starter Danny Duffy pitching three-plus innings and reliever Tim Collins pitching two, the Royals' bullpen is still in good shape.

      Duffy, who was pitching for the first time since Oct. 2, walked two of the first three batters he faced, forcing in a run, but then he retired eight in a row.

      "I was really happy with his outing," manager Ned Yost said. "First inning in the World Series, you're a little amped up and you've got to come out and get settled in. Once he got settled down, (he) did a nice job."

      Duffy wound charged with two runs on one hit and three walks.

  • Tuesday, October 21, 2014
    World Series notebook: Royals comfortable with Nix
    By The Sports Xchange

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jayson Nix is with his fourth organization -- the Philadelphia Phillies, Tampa Bay Rays, Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals -- this season after he was given the pink slip by the first three.

    • He hit .154 in 18 games with the Phillies to begin the season, .272 in 55 games with the Rays' Triple-A Durham club and .111 in 14 games with the Pirates. The Royals claimed him off waivers Aug. 28, and he went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in seven games with Kansas City. His Kansas City highlight was a sacrifice fly off Detroit Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander on Sept. 19.

      Nix, however, will end the year on the Royals' World Series 25-man roster. In the only change of the Royals' roster from the American League Championship Series, Nix was added, while rookie Christian Colon was dropped in a swap of infielders.

      "Because of the National League (rules in effect in San Francisco), we're more apt to probably double-switch in some spots, and you quite frankly like Nix's defense a little better at third," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Nix and Colon are very solid second basemen. They both play a solid short, but we just felt a little more comfortable with Nix at third.

      "You look at it, Christian's more of an offensive option and Nix is more of a defensive option. Breaking it down and looking at all of our scenarios, especially in the National League, we decided to go with the defensive option."

      --Right-hander Jake Peavy has done more than just solidify the San Francisco Giants' rotation since being acquired from the Boston Red Sox.

      "He really has impacted our clubhouse," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "His experiences and his knowledge really has, I think, just ramped up the intensity and the focus on these guys.

      "Jake, as you know, when he plays, when he pitches, he's all on. I think leadership can come by example, which he does in the way he plays, but also in that clubhouse. He's vocal, too. Not just in a meeting or whatever, but he'll do a lot of one-on-one stuff. He's a guy I appreciate because he'll step in the breach and he'll say something."

      --Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura, a Dominican Republic native who will start Wednesday, is a Pedro Martinez disciple.

      "Pedro has always been that player for me from the Dominican that I learn from and grow from," Ventura said with teammate Jeremy Guthrie acting as his interpreter. "I speak with him more or less every other day at this point. Pedro always encourages me to be myself and to treat every game just like I always have. No game is more important, but to go out there relaxed and do my pitches and be myself. So that's the most impactful player from my native country."

      NOTES: Royals manager Ned Yost said RHP Jeremy Guthrie would start Game 3 Friday at San Francisco, while LHP Jason Vargas would be the Game 4 starter. LHP Danny Duffy, who made 25 starts, will be used out of the bullpen. ... San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy won four pennants as a manager, three with the Giants and one with the San Diego Padres. Every other manager to have at least that many pennants is in the Hall of Fame. Bochy's teams have won nine consecutive postseason rounds since 2010. ... Royals relievers Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland combined for a 1.05 ERA, allowing three runs in 25 2/3 innings, in the playoffs entering the World Series. ... RHP Bret Saberhagen, who was the MVP of the 1985 World Series and shut out the Cardinals in Game 7, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

  • Tuesday, October 21, 2014
    MLB roundup: Royals complete Series rotation
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Kansas City Royals are going with the same starting rotation in the World Series that was effective in their American League Championship Series four-game sweep.

    • Royals manager Ned Yost announced Tuesday before Game 1 in Kansas City against the San Francisco Giants that right-hander Jeremy Guthrie will start Game 3 and left-hander Jason Vargas will pitch Game 4 on Saturday and Sunday in San Francisco. Guthrie will face San Francisco's Tim Hudson in Game 3 and Vargas will oppose the Giants' Ryan Vogelsong in Game 4.

      In Guthrie's only postseason appearance, he gave up one run in five innings in a no-decision during the Royals' Game 3 win over the Baltimore Orioles in the ALCS. In 32 regular-season starts, he was 13-11 with a 4.13 ERA. Vargas has started twice in the playoffs and posted a 1-0 record with a 2.38 ERA. In 30 regular-season starts, he went 11-10 with a 3.71 ERA.

      ---The Royals made a minor last-minute change to their World Series roster before Game 1 on Tuesday, adding Jayson Nix in place of Christian Colon.

      The swap of utility players is the only alteration to the Royals' roster from the American League Championship Series.

      The 32-year-old Nix was claimed off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates in August. He played in seven games for the Royals in the final month of the regular season. In 41 games overall this season, the well-traveled veteran batted .120 with one home run and four RBIs. Colon, 24, is a rookie called up by the Royals in July. He was on the ALDS and ALCS roster and logged two plate appearances in the postseason.

      ---The Philadelphia Phillies signed right-hander Jerome Williams on Tuesday to a one-year, $2.15 million contract for 2015 that could be worth up to $4 million with incentives.

      The Phillies claimed Williams off waivers in August after he struggled with the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers. In nine starts for the Phillies, Williams proved effective, posting a 2.83 ERA and finishing the season with a 6-7 record and a 4.77 ERA in 37 appearances as a starter and reliever with the three teams.

      In nine major league seasons with seven different teams, the 32-year-old Williams has a 48-54 record with one save and a 4.40 ERA in 192 games, including 128 starts.

  • Tuesday, October 21, 2014
    Phillies re-sign Williams
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Philadelphia Phillies signed right-hander Jerome Williams on Tuesday to a one-year, $2.15 million contract for 2015 that could be worth up to $4 million with incentives.

    • The Phillies claimed Williams off waivers in August after he struggled with the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers.

      In nine starts for the Phillies, Williams proved effective, posting a 2.83 ERA and finishing the season with a 6-7 record and a 4.77 ERA in 37 appearances as a starter and reliever with the three teams.

      In nine major league seasons with seven different teams, the 32-year-old Williams has a 48-54 record with one save and a 4.40 ERA in 192 games, including 128 starts.

  • Tuesday, October 21, 2014
    Royals finalize rotation for World Series
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Kansas City Royals are going with the same starting rotation in the World Series that was effective in their American League Championship Series four-game sweep.

    • Royals manager Ned Yost announced Tuesday before Game 1 in Kansas City against the San Francisco Giants that right-hander Jeremy Guthrie will start Game 3 and left-hander Jason Vargas will pitch Game 4 on Saturday and Sunday in San Francisco.

      Guthrie will face San Francisco's Tim Hudson in Game 3 and Vargas will oppose the Giants' Ryan Vogelsong in Game 4.

      In Guthrie's only postseason appearance so far, he gave up one run in five innings in a no-decision during the Royals' Game 3 win over the Baltimore Orioles in the ALCS. In 32 regular-season starts, Guthrie was 13-11 with a 4.13 ERA.

      Vargas has started twice in the playoffs and has a 1-0 record with a 2.38 ERA. In 30 starts during the regular season, he went 11-10 with a 3.71 ERA.

      Kansas City's starters have logged a 3.80 ERA in the postseason.

  • Tuesday, October 21, 2014
    Royals sub Nix for Colon on Series roster
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Kansas City Royals made a minor last-minute change to their World Series roster before Game 1 on Tuesday, adding Jayson Nix in place of Christian Colon.

    • The swap of utility players is the only alteration to the Royals' roster from the American League Championship Series.

      The 32-year-old Nix was claimed off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates in August. He played in seven games for the Royals in the final month of the regular season. In 41 games overall this season, the well-traveled veteran batted .120 with one home run and four RBIs.

      Colon, 24, is a rookie called up by the Royals in July. He was on the ALDS and ALCS roster and logged two plate appearances in the postseason.

  • Monday, October 20, 2014
    World Series notebook: Giants hold experience edge
    By The Sports Xchange

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The San Francisco Giants have been here before, winning the 2010 and 2012 World Series.

    • The Kansas City Royals have not been to this biggest baseball stage since 1985, when they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. That also was the last time the Royals were in the playoffs, so most of their players are postseason neophytes.

      Advantage Giants.

      "I can imagine any time you've done something more than your opponent, it's going to make it easier to understand the weight of the situation," Royals eighth-inning setup reliever Wade Davis said. "I think we're all pretty comfortable where we are right now. We've played in some pretty big games and beat some really good teams."

      The Royals are 8-0 in postseason play, sweeping the Los Angeles Angels and the Baltimore Orioles after rallying to top the Oakland Athletics in extra innings in the wild-card game.

      Both teams worked out Monday afternoon with the World Series set to begin Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium. Right-hander James Shields will start for the Royals against Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner.

      While the Royals have the home-field advantage, that does not faze the Giants, who are 16-5 on the road in postseason play since 2010.

      "That's tough to explain," Bumgarner said. "It definitely has worked that way for us. I don't know the numbers, but it does seem like we're not really affected much by being on the road. Obviously, you would like to be at home. Home-field advantage is a little bit of an advantage. But we're here, and we're playing the cards we were dealt."

      While Bumgarner will be working on his normal four days of rest, Shields has not pitched in 11 days.

      "Resting and some bullpen action, just trying to repeat my delivery in my bullpen sessions," Shields said. "I think this late in the year almost too much throwing is too much, so I've just kind of rested by body up for (Tuesday)."

      --Jarrod Dyson is the Royals' fourth outfielder and deluxe pinch runner, but he has become a go-to guy for the media.

      After the Royals won the first two American League Championship Series games in Baltimore, he predicted the series would not return to Camden Yards, and it did not.

      "It's not a time for a prediction," Dyson said Monday. "I can't give you guys no headlines, man. I'm sorry. That's my new name now, 'Headline.' (My teammates) gave me a new name because I give you guys a headline, talking crazy."

      Dyson stole third base on his own in the ninth inning of the wild-card game against Oakland and scored the tying run on right fielder Nori Aoki's sacrifice fly. If he had been thrown out, the Royals probably would have been eliminated.

      "That was a gutsy move by me. If I get thrown out right there, the whole city is ready to kill me," Dyson said with a laugh.

      --Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum, a two-time National League Cy Young Award winner, has not pitched since Sept. 28 and has not started since Aug. 23.

      Bochy said Lincecum had a good bullpen session Sunday.

      "We need to have him ready because you don't know what's going to happen in the game," Bochy said. "He's ready to go and he's healthy. It's an old adage, all hands on deck, and he's one of them. If it's the right spot, he'll be out there."

      Bochy said Lincecum, who went 12-9 this season with a 4.47 ERA in 33 games, including 26 starts, is mentally handling his situation "great."

      "Really been upbeat about it, he understands," Bochy said. "He's done so much, including this year. You go back to '12 and he was a weapon in the bullpen, and he could be that this series. I feel bad for him that he didn't get to pitch against Washington or St. Louis because I think a lot of Timmy.

      "There was never any thought of not having him on this roster. Not just having him on the roster, but the fact that he could help us at some point."

      NOTES: Bochy said Michael Morse would be the Giants' designated hitter for the series opener, with Travis Ishikawa, who hit the game-winning home run in the series clincher against St. Louis, playing left field. Bochy also said the Giants' World Series roster will remain unchanged from the group that won the National League Championship Series. The 25-man rosters must be set Tuesday. ... The Royals' Ned Yost said he is a completely different manager than when he managed the Milwaukee Brewers from 2003-08. "I think I've learned to let my players be themselves," Yost said. "Because I have great coaches, I think I listen a lot more than I did back then. I'm pretty hard-headed, a little more flexible, and use the tremendous experience we have in our coaching staff to my benefit and our benefit." ... This is the second time in the wild-card era (since 1995) two wild-card teams advanced to the Fall Classic. The previous time was 2002, when the Anaheim Angels beat the Giants in seven games. ... This is the second time two teams reached the World Series after recording fewer than 90 victories during the regular season (excluding the strike-shortened 1981 season). The Giants went 88-74, while the Royals finished 89-73. In 1918, the Red Sox (75-51) beat the Cubs (84-45) in the World Series.

  • Monday, October 20, 2014
    Cardinals' Jay to have wrist surgery
    By The Sports Xchange

    St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay will have arthroscopic surgery this week to repair a damaged left wrist, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported Monday.

    • Recovery time is expected to be 6-8 weeks, so he should be ready for Spring Training.

      Jay has been dealing with the problem since July, and cut his workouts short because of the pain. But it did not affect his production. He hit .325 in August and September and finished with a .303 average with three home runs.

      Jay was the only Cardinals player to hit better than .300 during the regular season, and he led the team in hitting during the playoffs, batting .483 (14-for-29). He had a .500 average during the National League Championship Series.

  • Sunday, October 19, 2014
    Report: Red Sox may trade Cespedes
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Boston Red Sox may look to trade outfielder Yoenis Cespedes this offseason, according to the Boston Globe.

    • The Red Sox reportedly expressed reluctance to re-sign Cespedes to a long-term deal after acquiring him from the Oakland A's in the late July trade involving left-hander Jon Lester.

      Cespedes, 29, has one year left on his four-year, $36-million deal he signed with the A's before the 2012 season. He is due $10.5 million next season.

      This year, Cespedes batted .260 with 22 home runs and 100 RBIs. In 51 games with the Red Sox, he batted .269 with five homers and 33 RBIs.

      Cespedes has a career batting average of .263 with 71 home runs and 262 RBIs in 416 major-league games over three seasons.

  • Sunday, October 19, 2014
    Giants fan swaps home run ball for Series tickets
    By The Sports Xchange

    A man who gave back the home run ball hit by Travis Ishikawa that sent the San Francisco Giants to the World Series received something special in return:

    • Tickets to Game 3 of the World Series in San Francisco against the Kansas City Royals.

      Frank Burke, the owner of a transmission repair business and a lifelong Giants fan, said he wanted Ishikawa, who hit the home run, to have the ball.

      "I believe in karma," he said, according to the Associated Press. "I didn't hit that ball ... if anybody's going to have that ball in their game room or trophy case, it's going to be the guy who hit it."

      Burke handed the ball over to Ishakawa in the clubhouse area after the game and received a signed bat. Asked by the team whether he wanted anything else, Burke requested World Series tickets. The Giants didn't think that was possible.

      The next day, though, the Giants called and said they had four tickets for Game 3. Burke wants to take a friend, Greg Leutza, who is battling cancer.

      The tickets and memorabilia are nice, Burke said, but that's not what's most important.

      "Just the memory for me and my buddy, that's priceless," he said. "That meant more to me than anything else will."

  • Saturday, October 18, 2014
    Royals to start Shields, Ventura in Series
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Kansas City Royals announced Saturday that James Shields and Yordano Ventura will start the first two games of the World Series against the San Francisco Giants.

    • Shields is expected to face Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner in Game 1 on Tuesday. Ventura will likely face San Francisco's Jake Peavy in Game 2 on Wednesday.

      The first two games of the series are in Kansas City.

      Shields is 1-0 with a 5.63 ERA in three postseason starts. Bumgarner is 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA in four playoff starts.

      Ventura has no decisions with a 4.85 postseason ERA in three games -- two starts. Peavy is 1-0 with a 1.86 ERA in two postseason starts.

  • Saturday, October 18, 2014
    Longtime Orioles infielder Roberts retires
    By The Sports Xchange

    Injury-plagued infielder Brian Roberts is retiring after 14 seasons in the major leagues.

    • The 37-year-old Roberts played for the New York Yankees this past season before he was released in August. He spent the first 13 years with the Baltimore Orioles but struggled with injuries during the latter stages of his career.

      With the Yankees in 2014, Roberts batted .237 with five home runs, 21 RBIs and seven stolen bases in 91 games and 317 at-bats.

      "It was just kind of my time," Roberts told the Baltimore Sun. "There were numerous reasons that I felt like I couldn't play at a level that I was accustomed to and wanted to play at if I continued to play. I always said that I wasn't going to be the guy that tried to hang on as long as I could."

      A two-time All-Star with the Orioles, Roberts finished his career with a .276 batting average, 97 home runs, 542 RBIs and 285 stolen bases in 5,531 at-bats and 1,418 games. He led the American League in doubles twice (50 in 2004, 56 in 2009) and in stolen bases once (50 in 2007).

      A herniated disc and strained abdominal muscle limited Roberts to 91 games in 2010. The following year, he suffered a concussion on a headfirst slide into second base in May that kept him out the rest of the season and until June 2012. A torn labrum on July 1 ended the 2012 season.

      In 2013, offseason sports hernia surgery and then another surgery for a torn hamstring forced him to miss 79 games.

  • Friday, October 17, 2014
    Astros' new coaches include Hillman, Pettis
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Houston Astros named former Kansas City Royals manager Trey Hillman as their bench coach and added former Texas Rangers third-base coach Gary Pettis to manager A.J. Hinch's staff on Friday.

    • Pettis will serve as the third base coach and handle baserunning and outfield play for the Astros.

      The Astros also announced that Dave Hudgens will be the team's new batting coach and Rich Dauer will become the first-base coach and infield instructor. Hudgens held the same job with the New York Mets.

      Hinch is keeping pitching coach Brent Strom and bullpen coach Craig Bjornson from last year's staff.

      Pettis replaced Pat Listach, who was informed this week that he was not being retained. Listach spent one year with Houston.

      "I'm very disappointed," Listach told MLB.com. "I understand it's a business, but I'm disappointed."

      Listach managed in the Chicago Cubs' minor league system before joining the Washington Nationals as their third-base coach. He returned to the Cubs as a bench coach and a third-base coach and then spent one season as the Los Angeles Dodgers' minor-league infield coordinator before going to Houston.

      Listach's playing career spanned from 1992 to 1997. He was named National League Rookie of the Year with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1992.

  • Friday, October 17, 2014
    MLB roundup: Shields expected to get Game 1 start
    By The Sports Xchange

    Manager Ned Yost remained evasive on who the Kansas City Royals starting pitcher would be for Tuesday's opening game of the World Series against the San Francisco Giants.

    • Then Yost tipped his hand Friday before a Royals' workout.

      "Shields threw a great game against them here, shut them out," Yost said.

      If anybody but "Big Game" James Shields starts the first game it would be shocking.

      Shields was acquired in a Dec. 9, 2012, trade with Tampa Bay for moments like this. He has been the Royals' Opening Day starter the past two years. He started the wild-card game against Oakland. He was the winning pitcher in Game 3 of the American League Division Series against the Los Angeles Angels and started the American League Championship Series opener against Baltimore.

      Shields threw his only complete-game shutout this season against the Giants on Aug. 9. He limited San Francisco to three singles and a double, while striking out five and walking one. Of the 111 pitches he threw, 73 were strikes.

      --Don Mattingly will manage the Dodgers next season -- "definitely."

      Los Angeles' new president of baseball operations, Andrew Friedman, addressed a number of issues at his introductory news conference at Dodger Stadium. Mattingly's future topped the list.

      “We’re very aligned on a lot of things philosophically and have thoroughly enjoyed those conversations,” he said. “We’re going to get together next week and I’ll look forward to building that relationship.”

      --Pat Listach will not be back next year as the Houston Astros' third-base coach.

      The Astros let Listach know this week that he will not be joining new manager A.J. Hinch's staff. Listach spent one year with Houston.

      "I'm very disappointed," Listach told MLB.com. "I understand it's a business, but I'm disappointed."