Posts Tagged ‘Hunter Pence’

I don’t sleep a whole bunch. I don’t know if it’s my work schedule that I’ve been on for 20 plus years or if I’m just wired like that, but if I get 3 or 4 hours of sleep in a row I’m lucky. When that 5 hour night of sleep comes through it’s amazing. When I wake up in the middle of the night I fire up the computer and catch up ion what’s going on in the sporting world. Sometimes it’s as easy as checking a box score or going through my fantasy line up to see how my night went. Other nights it’s looking up an injury to see ow long a player might be out or looking for blog material. The times I hate it the most is when I turn on the computer and I see a headline like I saw early this morning; Muhammad Ali passes away at 74.

No questions asked Muhammad Ali was “The Greatest”. He referred to himself as that all the time in his interviews and the bottom line is he’s the best boxer of all time. There will always be people out there with arguments for other boxers, but as great as those guys where they don’t compare to Ali. Not only was Ali great in the ring, but the promos he did for his fights where incredible and some of the things he’d do with Howard Cosell where legendary.  Ali was also a social activist. Don’t forget that in 1967 Ali was stripped of the heavyweight title for refusing to serve in the U.S. Army and was looking at a possible prison sentence. Due to that legal trouble it was 3 1/2 years before Ali would fight again. Ali had some of the most talked about fights in the heavyweight division and boxing as a whole. He had the Rumble in the Jungle against George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire as well as the Thrilla in Manila against Joe Frazier. Ali won both of these high profile fights by the way. It seemed as though the bigger the stage the better Ali performed. Ali was a 3-time heavyweight champion and don’t forget that he also won an Olympic gold medal as a light heavyweight when he beat Zbigniew Pietrzlowski of Poland in September of 1960.  Ali had many nicknames for himself or the things he’d do in the ring and if he didn’t live up to them he got closer than anybody else could. Sadly I wasn’t even 10 years old when Ali had some of the biggest fights of his career, but looking back at what he did in the ring and what he stood for outside of the ring he was far and away “The Greatest” and he lost his final fight early this morning at 74 years old.

The San Francisco Giants are 35-22 and have a 5 1/2 game lead in the National League West. On Wednesday Hunter Pence was running down the 1st base line when he suddenly stopped and grabbed the back of his right leg. Pence came out of the game immediately and was diagnosed with a torn hamstring that will require surgery. Pence is scheduled to be out about 8 weeks. Pence was hitting .298 with 7 home runs and had driven in a team leading 36 runs. While it appears that Pence will return in August the question is; do the Giants need to look into the trade market for an outfielder? San Francisco has veteran Gregor Blanco on the roster and 25 year old Mac Williamson was called up from Triple-A Sacramento to fill Pence’s roster spot. Don’t forget that outfielder Angel Pagan has also had some injuries this season. Pagan has what I believe is his second strained left hamstring of the season and the Giants are hoping he can recover without having to go on the disabled list. Pagan was unable to stay off the disabled list as the Giants put him on it May 24th and called up Jarrett Parker to take his roster spot. Also 2nd baseman Joe Panik was dealing with a sore groin earlier in the week, but has returned to the starting line up. San Francisco is currently carrying 4 outfielders on their roster. They have Williamson, Parker, Blanco and Denard Span. They do have some flexibility as Brandon Belt has spent time in the outfield. If Belt is needed in the outfield that would allow San Francisco to give Buster Posey a break from behind the plate as he would most likely fill in for Belt at 1st base. So looking at what the Giants have here we go back to the question of; do they need to deal for an outfielder? Of course with the season only being about 1/3rd of the way over which teams are ready to start making deals and would San Francisco look for a high profile outfielder or just a guy who could be used in a rotation when Pence returns. There are always the rebuilding teams like the Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves. I’m not sure if the Braves have an outfielder that would fit the Giants needs and would they want to pay the price for a high salaried player like Jay Bruce or even Ryan Braun. Could the New York Yankees Carlos Beltran be an answer. While Beltran is making $15 million this season it is the last year of his deal. Of course Beltran does have a history of injuries himself and you have to wonder if he could play everyday. I think if the Giants decide to make a trade it will be for a player along the lines of Oswaldo Arcia of the Minnesota Twins. Arcia has struggled to start the season; hitting just .217, but did hit .276 in limited time last season. He hits left handed and is just 25 years old. Now I’m not saying that Arcia will be the player that San Francisco acquires, but I think if they do deal for an outfielder it will be a player like Arcia.

What do you think? Do the Giants need to go out and get the top outfielder on the market or can they get by these 8 weeks with just the players they’ve called up from the minors?

You can listen to The Podcast by clicking the link and you can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

Hey there, Chicago!
I relish the opportunity to wax on about the San Francisco Giants here on SportsTimeRadio because simply put, the Giants and your Chicago Cubs are destined to meet in October. At least put it this way, the Giants will be there and I expect you’d back that up with a resounding, “Don’t you worry about our Cubs.”
First off, I’m sorry to see Kyle Schwarber go down especially the way the whole play unfolded. San Francisco lost Hunter Pence the first week of spring training last year and the team never fully recovered. Of course, Pence means much to the soul of the Giants but still, here’s hoping that Schwarber is back on the diamond in the most timely of manners. No team nor its fans wants to get a leg up on another club through injury.
Looking at the Cubs’ complete roster though, with its depth, leaves me to believe that my opening statement is accurate: The Giants and Cubs will compete against one another in the 2016 playoffs. The last time that happened was in 1989, when San Francisco prevailed four games to one, only to lose to the Oakland A’s in the infamous Earthquake Series.
I first appeared on this show in November of 2014, when Dan called to ask about my “Dynasty” piece on the Giants. I had written that three titles in five years, while stellar, did not make a dynasty because the rule of thumb is continuous success over a decade. That’s ten years, not five.
Since then I have appeared every few weeks when there are some lively topics to bat around, not so often when there isn’t much going on. When Pablo Sandoval was in the news only a year ago in December, with all of his palaver about wanting a new challenge in Boston, I was chiming in with my nickel’s worth routinely. I see now that the rotund one is back in the news with his recent disharmony with Boston management.
I feel bad for The Panda because he was so easy to like, but like the tragic hero, he has a flaw. His flaw is not so much the excess weight he carries around, but the fact that he refuses to acknowledge that the weight is the albatross that keeps him so locked into his decline.
For the Giants, of course, it meant that Matt Duffy was able to step right into the slot and not only make fans forget Pablo, but introduce us to “The DuffMan!” Duffy is now in his second season and fits in well with the all home-grown Giants infield.
Most recently, the decision to keep the red-hot Trevor Brown over Andrew Susac as Buster Posey’s back-up behind the dish, has paid off handsomely. The UCLA grad from Newhall, California has produced an early line of .385/1.154/1.538; in thirteen at-bats, the rookie has five hits, three of them big flies. 
The Giants like Posey’s offensive numbers much more when he is playing first, but they also like those three world series rings that Posey has delivered. Buster wasn’t playing first base when his three-time underdog Giants beat some pretty impressive American League powers to acquire their three rings.
I imagine there are Cubs fans who are keeping an eye on Jeff Samardzija for a variety of reasons. Though The Shark may have worn out his welcome in the home town, he has been embraced by the Giants, who have a reputation for rolling out the red carpet for new arrivals. It doesn’t hurt that Samardzija will be pitching half his games at AT&T Park, with one of the best pitching coaches in the game in Dave Righetti.
The Cubs have been ranked number one amongst MLB’s elite since the first preseason power polls were released. Nothing has occurred to change that. The Giants have hovered somewhere in the middle of the top-ten so far.
I imagine both teams are exactly where they would like to be. I know the Giants relish being the underdog and it still amazes/amuses me that they frequently get so little respect. 
Respect is a commodity that must be earned and the Giants have three recent titles in their resume that assures me they have the necessary credentials. Recent success does not guarantee continued success, but it is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. 
See you next time.
Mark 

The NFL off-season is running at full speed as teams make moves to try to get themselves under the salary cap and sign free agents. Peyton Manning restructured his deal with the Denver Broncos to give them some salary cap space. Manning knocked $4 million off his 2015 salary, but don’t worry they added a couple of bonus clauses; so he can get that money back. He’ll earn $2 million if the Broncos go to the AFC title game and then another $2 million if Denver wins the Super Bowl. Brandon Marshall was traded for the 3rd time in his career as the Chicago Bears sent him to the New York Jets for a 5th round draft pick. On a side note; Marshall is the 4th player to be traded three times in his career since 1995. The others are Randy Moss, Glyn Milburn and Sage Rosenfels. The Jets would have an interesting trio of wide receivers if they hang on to them with Marshall, Eric Decker and Percy Harvin. Harvin is due a roster bonus soon and reports are the Jets may release him. When the Marshall rumors started I was wondering what his value might be. When the Bears traded for Marshall they the Miami Dolphins two draft picks; a 3rd round pick in 2012 and a 3rd round pick in 2013. Now we have to see who the Jets decide will be throwing the football to these receivers. Marshawn Lynch is staying with the Seattle Seahawks as he signed a two year deal worth a reported $24 million. There have been rumors of holdouts and retirements involving Lynch, but with this deal those rumors should disappear. There was one retirement announced as Maurice Jones-Drew (MJD) is ending his NFL career after 9 seasons; eight with the Jacksonville Jaquars and one injury plagued 2014 season with the Oakland Raiders. Jones-Drew rushed for a career 8167 yards and led the NFL in rushing with 1606 yards in 2011. The Jaquars drafted M.J.D. in the 2nd round of the 2006 draft. He was a three time Pro Bowl selection and was 1st team All-Pro one time. It is also being reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers will release Safety Troy Polamalu if he doesn’t choose to retire. Polamula has spent his entire 12 year career with Pittsburgh. Two other long time veteran players will be looking for new teams after in 2015 as their teams announced they’ll be moving on this week. After 14 seasons and more games played than any other Indianapolis Colts player it was announced that the team won’t try to re-sign wide receiver Reggie Wayne. The New England Patriots declined the contract option on defensive lineman Vince Wilfork after 11 seasons with the team. This may be the first set of moves by NFL teams as they get ready for the draft as well as being able to sign free agents starting March 10th.

Did the Atlanta Hawks make a statement last night? They beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 106-97 last night in what may have been an Eastern conference finals preview. Atlanta got out to a 17 point lead in the 1st quarter, but they had just a 2 point lead at 81-79 going into the 4th quarter. Atlanta outscored Cleveland 25-18 in the final quarter to seal the victory. Al Horford led Atlanta in scoring with 19 points and rebounds with 9. Mike Scott came off the Hawks bench and hit seven of nine shots scoring 14 points while Dennis Schroder added 15 points off the bench as well as leading the team in assists with 8 . Jeff Teague and Paul Milsap each scored 16 points.  DeMarre Carroll drew the defensive assignment of guarding LeBron James and James struggled. James played a little over 40 minutes going 5-13 from the field including 1-4 from behind the 3-point line. James scored 18 points grabbed 6 rebounds and handed out 8 assists, but committed 9 turnovers in the game. The best part of James game was his free throw shooting was much better as he went 7-8 from the foul line. With James Struggling Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers in scoring with 20 points while Kevin Love had 14 points.  The hawks improved to 49-12 for the season and have actually won 42 of their last 48 games. Cleveland’s record falls to 39-25. Maybe Atlanta drew some extra inspiration from Dominique Wilkins. The Hawks unveiled a statue of Wilkins outside Philips Arena, wore throwback jerseys from the Dominique era, and honored No. 21 at halftime with a painting and a framed jersey autographed by all the current Hawks players. Up next; the Cavaliers: return home to face the Phoenix Suns on Saturday to complete a stretch of four games in five nights. While the Hawks travel to Philadelphia on Saturday to take on the 76ers.

Spring training is up and running and the defending champion San Francisco Giants lost one of their best players Hunter Pence for 6 to 8 weeks with a broken arm. While it’s very early in spring training; so Pence should be back in the line up by late April or early May. I guess if you must have an injury you’d like to have them early and get it out-of-the-way. Pence has played in every game for the Giants the last two seasons and isn’t going to be easy to replace. While the Giants aren’t a home run hitting team Pence was one of only two Giants with 20 or more home runs. Pence hit 20 home runs on the nose while Buster Posey led the team with 22 home runs. Pence was also 2nd on the team in RBI’s with 74. Posey was the team leader in this category as well with 89. Pence was also tied for the team lead in triples with Brandon Crawford; each had 10. Pence was 2nd on the team in doubles with 29. Michael Morse led the team with 32 doubles. Bruce Bochy may be the best manager in baseball at juggling his line up when needed. Look for the Giants to fill Pence’s spot with players like Gregor BlancoJuan Perez or maybe  Travis IshikawaNori Aoki may move over from left field to fill in for Pence in right field on the defensive side. The Giants also have non-roster invitee Justin Maxwell in camp; so this may be his shot to make the team and fill this role until Pence comes back from injury. This is Maxwell’s 4th team after stops in Washington, Houston and 20 games last season with the Kansas City Royals. Let’s see who Bochy chooses to fill Pence’s spot to start the season.

We covered the National League West on the podcast last night as we had four team previews. No one from the Colorado Rockies wanted to come on and talk to us. Maybe that says something about how their season might go. Tony Fischer started the podcast off talking Arizona Diamondbacks with me. You can find Tony’s Diamondbacks coverage at HeatWaved.com We talked Los Angeles Dodgers next as Scott Andres from LasordsLair.com came on the podcast with me. I wrapped up the night with two of my favorite guest. First Mark O’Neill from www.AroundtheFoghorn.com join me to talk San Francisco Giants baseball and I wrapped up the podcast talking to Billy Brost about the San Diego Padres. While Billy has left the Site FriarsonBase.com that covers the Padres he is staying involved with writing about baseball. Look for Billy’s new venture BaseballMagazine.net starting soon. You can listen to any or all of these interviews in the Sports Time Radio podcast archives. Click on Sports Time Radio and you can pick and choose the podcast you’d like to listen to.

So how was your week?

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime you can follow the show as well @SportsTimeRadio