Tuesday morning’s breaking news via @cwnevius: Mike Krukow battling a degenerative muscle disease

San Francisco Giants fans will certainly take great interest in this morning’s article from C.W. Nevius that is no doubt spreading like wildfire throughout the baseball and Giants community. The article goes into detail talking about inclusion-body myosotis, IBM, the generative muscle disease that Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow was diagnosed with eight years ago. Nevius relays that “IBM causes progressive weakness in the muscles of the wrist and fingers, the front of the thigh, and the muscles that lift the front of the foot. There’s no cure and no solid theory for what causes it.” Krukow said he noticed something might be going on when his drives while golfing weren’t what they used to be. His doctor told him that he would have to use a cane, then a walker, then would need a cart to get around, and currently will use a golf cart to get around the stadium as even a nudge could send Krukow for a spill. In April, as the article notes, Krukow stumbled off the team bus in Colorado that resulted in a torn rotator cuff. Broadcast partner Duane Kuiper says Kruk’s the same guy, and partner Dave Flemming shares similar sentiments:

Another question Giants fans would probably have is if this will affect the desire of Krukow to continue his broadcasting career.

“Kuip says he wants to do this until he is 80,” Krukow said. “So do I.”

Wife of Mike, Jennifer, says the best thing for Giants fans to do to support Mike is to “treat him like you normally would.”

We are all shocked and surprised to hear about this, and we hope this disease does no more to Krukow and that soon a cure is found for IBM.

Monday’s lineups and scribbles: Dan Uggla in, Tony Abreu out of Fresno; Cain’s timetable (or lack thereof) to return

Less than thirty minutes to game time at Citizens Bank Park, so let’s make this quick. Check out any of the beat writer’s timelines for the information that I’m relaying to you that isn’t the lineups:

  • Dan Uggla‘s deal with the Giants starts with him reporting to Fresno. Uggla, of course, was a former teammate of Tim Hudson and manager Bruce Bochy suggests that perhaps a change of scenery will do the trick for Uggla.
  • Tony Abreu has opted out of his contract with the Giants and is now a free agent
  • There is no timetable for Matt Cain to be back, so it doesn’t sound like he’ll be back for the home series against the Dodgers. Yusmeiro Petit will get the spot starts as Cain rests. We’ll see how bad Cain’s absence hurts the Giants as George Kontos gets plugged into the bullpen.
  • Adam Duvall is in the lineup today after Brandon Belt went on the seven-day disabled list. Belt will be resting at the team hotel tonight.

The lineups for the Giants, tied for the NL West division lead, have Marco Scutaro in for the second game in a row:

The lineups for the Philadelphia Phillies, last place in the NL East and 6-4 in their last ten games, have Grady Sizemore at the very top of their lineup:

First pitch is scheduled for 4:05PM PST with Ryan Vogelsong opposing Cliff Lee and the Phillies. This is Lee’s first start back from being on the 60-day disabled list.

Monday roster moves: Cain and Belt to the DL, welcome back Kontos and Duvall

We knew yesterday that Brandon Belt was going to go on the DL with a concussion, but we didn’t know for how long. We had also heard Matt Cain was feeling some discomfort in his elbow from the elbow chips floating around. The Giants account decided to give us all a hearty good morning with some injury announcements. First, answering the question of how long Belt’s DL stay could be:

The important question with Matt Cain is “when will he be back,” and the answer appears to be, “when the Giants finish their series against the Dodgers.”   

There have been no indications that Cain will look to remove the bone chips in-season, so this will probably be a lingering problem for the rest of the season for him.

George Kontos was incorrectly included on the lineup card yesterday, but now he can walk out the door with those bags and head on over to Philly.

Yusmeiro Petit will go against Roberto Hernandez in what is scheduled to be the most underwhelming matchup of pitchers in the four-game series between the Giants and Phillies. Therefore, both pitchers will probably go eight innings before both bullpens implode.    

Petit’s last outing was July 18th when he threw one inning, second to last outing on July 10th. Hopefully by the beginning of August everybody will be back.

The first three games of this series are scheduled to begin at 4:05PM PST, while Thursday’s game is set for a 10:05 AM PST first pitch.

 

Roster move to be made: Brandon Belt has a concussion, Adam Duvall going to Philly

I watched a Giants game today and it was the only game they have lost since the All Star Break. Tim Lincecum threw one wild pitch too many, and the bottom of the Giants lineup was the embodiment of June. Tests confirmed Brandon Belt has a concussion and will be out for at least a week.

Belt had a .167/.262/.278 with ten strikeouts and five walks in forty-two plate appearances since coming off the DL on July 4th. In eighteen plate appearances with the Giants, Adam Duvall had a .167/.167/.389 with four strikeouts in eighteen plate appearances. Since he returned to Fresno, Duvall was throwing up a .340/.367/.660 with a .435 wOBA including three home runs and six doubles in forty-eight plate appearances. Triple-A appears to be a little easy for him, so hopefully playing against Philadelphia and the Dodgers will be good times for him. Then again, he might have to go against Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke, Hyun-jin Ryu, and Clayton Kershaw, so, good luck with that.

Sunday lineups: Miscommunication could land Belt on DL, Scutaro starts as Giants go for sweep

The San Francisco Giants have first place in the NL West all by themselves, a full game over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Life should be good, we should be getting ahead of ourselves, but instead, the Giants are forced to continue worrying about the depth of their roster. Brandon Belt told the media that during batting practice before Saturday’s game he was looking at shortstop for a throw when a ball was thrown from second base and hit him in the face. Belt said he was fine at the time of his RBI double, but ultimately Belt’s reports of headaches, nausea, and dizziness caused manager Bruce Bochy to pull the plug on Belt for Saturday. There was a lineup card posted earlier on Sunday that had George Kontos‘ name on it, but that was taken down, reported to be another miscommunication that Kontos was getting called up when no official decision has been made. As I write this, the results from Belt’s concussion test have not been in yet, and the Belt and Giants are waiting for the results on it. All the arm-chair doctors probably won’t be surprised if Belt lands on the 7-day DL given his current condition and the fact that a baseball hit him in the face. Hope he feels better soon.

Sunday’s lineup features a Marco Scutaro, and Hector Sanchez is behind the plate today as Tim Lincecum toes the rubber. Brandon Crawford gets a day off and Buster Posey takes Belt’s spot at first for the day.

Giancarlo Stanton is starting so the Marlins will score at least one run today.        

Two straight games of scoring five or more runs for the Giants, and that should be enough for Lincecum as he looks to continue his recent dominance on the mound. The Dodgers have Clayton Kershaw on the mound tonight in St. Louis as the Dodgers try to avoid being swept to start the second half against the Cardinals. Can’t say I’d be mad with a two game lead going into Philadelphia.

First pitch is scheduled for 10:10AM PST.

Saturday’s Lineups: O Scutaro, Where Art Thou (plus today’s trade rumors for the NL West)

Marco Scutaro has started one game in the five games he has been eligible to be in the lineup, and since you remember the one game he was in, you have figured out he’s not in Saturday’s lineup. It was reported yesterday that Scutaro is dealing with a stiff neck, this probably in addition to his imperfect back is making it too difficult for Scutaro to play. While the Giants try to figure out if they need to deal for a second baseman, Scutaro in this very small sample size of games is making the case that he is an upgraded Freddy Sanchez. He has the chance to use another small sample size of games upcoming to prove he’s better that.

Tim Hudson‘s on the mound today as he goes up against another pitcher named to the All Star team in Henderson Alvarez. The lineups:

The trade deadline is approaching, so there will be plenty to think about as the 31st comes around. Cleveland is one game over-.500 and only two-and-a-half games back of the second Wild Card spot, so this may be a bit unlikely for July. Certainly “a big if.”

Asdrubal Cabrera and Mike Aviles would come with much different price tags, Cabrera being the more valuable.

I wrote about the Huston Street trade very quickly. Street isn’t the only Padre that was being looked at, as Chase Headley, Ian Kennedy, Chris Denorfia, and Joaquin Benoit‘s names been floated around from the media regards to other teams being interested in the last twenty-four hours.

Meanwhile, from Arizona, the Diamondbacks reportedly think holding on to a reliever with another year and at least $6.5 million owed to him is a fantastic idea instead of getting back some help for the farm.

Perhaps when the D-Backs heard what the Tigers would be offering they felt the return wouldn’t match what Ziegler has produced.

First pitch in Miami is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST.

Draft deadline passes as Giants get twenty-three picks, but biggest news is about the Astros

Friday at 2:00 PM PST, the deadline to sign players in the Rule IV player draft passed, and the Giants ended up signing twenty-three of their forty draft picks, including their first fourteen picks. The Giants also reportedly signed four additional undrafted players. The haul in quantity is not as good as in 2013, when the Giants signed thirty-three of their picks, but we will see what the quality of this crop ends up being, some of them have already been getting going in the lower levels of the Giants system. The Giants went over their budget, but will not be penalized in the form of draft picks being taken away from them.

The biggest news for me came out of Houston, as the Astros were unable to sign first overall pick of the draft, LHP high schooler Brady Aiken. As Jim Callis’ notes, the Astros were poised to give Aiken $6.5 million until his physical revealed some trouble in his elbow and the Astros then changed their offer to Aiken of the minimum of just above $3.1 million. Aiken and his team did not accept, and now the Astros are guaranteed to have the second overall pick in the 2015 Draft. Callis reminds the public that their fifth round pick Jacob Nix was waiting for Aiken to sign so Nix could get a seven-figure deal, but that number they agreed on would only work if Aiken signed, otherwise the Astros would lose future draft picks if Nix signed that large deal without Aiken putting the pen to the paper. Both Nix and Aiken are UCLA commits, so the Bruins figure to be big winners, loading up their rotation with two pretty good arms. I have no idea how the Astros wind up in all this, but the MLBPA is looking into making them pay.

We’ve known that Tony Clark and the MLBPA have had their eye on the Houston Astros, and in Callis’ piece Clark goes on to talk about “exploring all legal options” as it relates to the Astros not signing Aiken and possibly try to cheat the system so they can sign other picks. This wouldn’t be a problem if there were not spending caps, but I find it hard to see we’ll ever go back to those days, since it benefits both the owners and the current members of the MLBPA. The Astros say they kept MLB abreast of the situation with Aiken as they were going through the negotiation process, and I’m wondering if the MLBPA won a suit against the Astros, what would the penalty be? Money? A draft pick? It’s too bad this situation has come about, and I know the MLBPA won’t look itself in the mirror on this one, although this should spur conversations as to how these matters can be prevented in the future. Suggestions include an MLB Combine, which I’m sure would be great viewing for scouting fans and teams would get another free look at players.

Callis also mentions that as long as prep players like Aiken and Nix go to UCLA, they will not be eligible for the next two Drafts. Should they play in independent ball or community college, they could enter the next draft. So until then, UCLA is stacked, and we wait to hear if the MLBPA will do anything against the Houston Astros.

NL West trade news: Padres make another trade with Angels, this time trading Huston Street

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have added another Padres reliever to their roster, once trading for Ernesto Frieri, now getting Huston Street and another pitcher for four minor league players in the Angels system. Jim Bowden was first to report, and gave these details:

Reliever Trevor Gott is now rated by MLB.com as the #15 prospect of the Angels with an above-average fastball. High-A SS Jose Rondon and Triple-A 2B Taylor Lindsey are now rated #9 and #10 respectively in the Padres’ system. RHP R.J. Alvarez is a reliever at Double-A and Elliot Morris has been a reliever at the High-A level. You can read more reports about them in MLB.com’s article.

Street was present at last night’s Padres game, so though it looked like there was an agreement in place before the game started, fans were probably on hug watch. Street has thirty-four strikeouts in thirty-three innings pitched with only seven walks. Those numbers are similar to what Street has been able to do career-wise against the Giants, but has allowed two home runs in four innings against them this year. Street will reportedly be the closer for the Angels while Joaquin Benoit, whom has also been the subject of trade rumors, steps into the closer role for the Padres.

The second-half arrives: 67 games left for the Giants and 65 left for the Dodgers

One game in the standings separates the two, but the Dodgers have two more wins than the Giants and the same amount of losses at forty-three. I broke down the Giants schedule in 2014 in a post before the season started to remind all of us what they have upcoming. Sixty-seven games left with thirty-nine of them away from the friendly confines at AT&T Park. Below is what the Giants have left this season, including twenty-nine games with the NL West. Nine of those come against the Dodgers.

July 18th-September 4th: All over the place and a sixteen-game stretch

3 @ Miami

4 @ Philadelphia

3 vs. LA Dodgers

3 vs. Pittsburgh

Day Off (comes on the same day as the trade deadline)

4 @ NY Mets

3 @ Milwaukee

3 @ Kansas City

Day Off

2 vs. White Sox

Day Off

3 vs. Philadelphia

Day Off

3 @ Cubs

3 @ Washington

4 vs. Colorado

3 vs. Milwaukee

3 @ Colorado

Day Off

I didn’t know how to break this one up (I’m sure you could tell), but this is another part of the schedule where the Giants will have a chance to play over-.500 ball against teams like the Marlins, Brewers, ChiSox, Rockies, Mets, Phillies, and the Cubs. Teams like the Dodgers, Royals, Nationals, and Pirates could make things tense and for make for possible Sunday Night Baseball material.

September 5th-September 28th: The Tigers and the NL West

3 @ Detroit

Day Off

3 vs. Arizona

3 vs. LA Dodgers

3 @ Arizona

Day Off

3 @ San Diego

3 @ LA Dodgers

4 vs. San Diego

So, if the road seems relatively easy for the Giants, it’s because by win-percentage, it is:

The Giants have a birth to the playoffs put on a silver platter for them, and the question is are they going to trip all over themselves, not stay healthy, or get close to the team that was putting on a 107-win pace? As Angel Pagan was winding down his first-half, the Giants were starting to trip all over themselves, then not be healthy, and then at the end of the first-half (arbitrary endpoints warning) they were able to put together a 5-4 ending — a winning stretch they hadn’t gone through since the home series against the Nationals had finished in early June. The Giants are reminding themselves they can win games, now can they keep those ways consistent and even become more dominant in the process as the season winds down? It doesn’t matter how the Giants get in to the playoffs if they get there, it’s a matter of if they get hot in October, and if they get some breaks to go their way as they work towards their third parade in five years. Here are some questions I have about the Giants as the season continues:

When will Angel Pagan return and how will his return help the Giants? 

Odd, but probably telling, that last season the Giants season crumbled when he left (hello, outfield depth), and now again things were not the same after he left for an extended time only to be put on the DL anyway. The Giants are not blessed with having four starting MLB players on their roster and one in the MiLB like the rival Dodgers are, so they’ve dealt with Gregor Blanco, Tyler Colvin, and Juan Perez all getting time. Gregor Blanco when hot can be a decent replacement for Pagan, but that’s not who he is. Pagan at the top will extend the lineup, which the Giants apparently really need.

Do the Giants trade for someone or someones?

I have no doubt that GM Brian Sabean can get a reliever or some bench help by the deadline if he needs a guy, finding a second baseman or a starter will be predictably more difficult. Trying to pull Daniel Murphy or even get Ben Zobrist will not be easy, and the Giants probably won’t be taking on too much money after this 2014 season from a trade.

Does Sergio Romo find his form and what if he doesn’t?

Manager Bruce Bochy has proclaimed his faith in Romo that he’ll be back to work, but if Romo can’t adjust at the pace the league has adjusted to him, the Giants higher-leverage bullpen depth takes a hit, and all of a sudden the holes in the ship get larger. Does Heath Hembree or Derek Law find their way on to the big club to save the day? May not be reliable to have Jean Machi continue his high leverage spots, that wave of hot Machi may have calmed.

How does Marco Scutaro hold up?

Can he do four days a week? Three? Five? What are we talking? As the beat writers have pointed out, the front office wants to see how Marco does through the next week so they have an idea of whom to target at the deadline, if anybody at second base.

Those are my biggest questions as we head into the second half. I think the Giants can and will make the Postseason. Perhaps that’s optimistic, but I don’t think it’s unrealistic. The Giants are almost back to full-strength and about to embark on a schedule that is not the most threatening, but will still have its challenges. I’m not expecting an insane finish like that insane beginning, but I believe the Giants will pull be able to make the playoffs, even if it’s as a Wild Card team, that’s still something.

Giants notes: All Star Game appearances, Hicks to Fresno, another draft pick signs

Less than a couple hours until game time in Minnesota, and we know who the Giants will be having in the dugout: Madison Bumgarner, Tim Hudson, and Hunter Pence. Bumgarner pitched Sunday, so he will not be throwing today, which leaves room for Hudson to be in the game. However, with guys like Adam Wainwright and Clayton Kershaw due up first, that probably takes out the first three to four innings. Then you throw in Zack Greinke, and Julio Teheran, those guys could eat up another two to three innings, you figure Greinke more if things get bad for Wainwright or Kershaw. With seven innings hopefully logged by those four studs, you likely will see the bullpen come into play in the form of Francisco Rodriguez, Aroldis Chapman, and Craig Kimbrel, probably leaving guys like Tim Hudson, Tony Watson, and Tyler Clippard on the outside looking in for some action (among others). Maybe Alfredo Simon and Huston Street get some time if the score is lopsided and/or the NL starts getting situational. With all that in mind, John Shea confirming things like that makes sense:

Wouldn’t bother me at all to have Bumgarner and Hudson just soak in another All Star Game. Not one bit. In not-so-All Star news, Brandon Hicks was out-righted to Triple-A Fresno this morning, per multiple sources. No other team thought Hicks could help their squad, so with the Giants he remains.

In Draft news, Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game broke that the Giants and their second round pick have an agreement.

You can find a gathering of notes on Aramis Garcia in this post I did the day of the Draft.

Tonight’s All Star Game’s coverage will begin at 4:30PM PST on FOX, with the first pitch probably beginning closer to 5:00PM PST.

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