Giants sign three pitchers
The San Francisco Giants announced the signing of three pitchers to contract extensions: right-handed starter Matt Cain, left-handed setup man Jeremy Affeldt and right-handed closer Brian Wilson.
Cain's deal, which was extended through 2012, pays him $4.5 million in 2010, $7 million in 2011 plus a $1 million signing bonus, and $15 million in 2012.
Cain was a first-time All-Star in 2009 and finished with a 14-8 record and 2.89 ERA in 33 starts. His four complete games tied for first in the National League.
"It just shows appreciation for the things I've done, and the way they run the organization," Cain said. "It shows that we can do something to benefit both sides."
The 25-year-old showed he is nearly ready for the regular season yesterday by pitching five innings of no-hit ball in a minor league game. He gave up two home runs in the sixth and pitched the seventh.
The 30-year-old Affeldt will receive a $500,000 raise to total $4.5 million this season, get $4.5 million in 2011 and have a $5 million club option with a buyout of $500,000 for 2012.
He tied with Minnesota's Matt Guerrier for the major-league lead in holds with 33 last season and was named the Setup Man of the Year by This Year in Baseball Awards.
Wilson, 28, signed for two years at $15 million — $6.5 million in 2011 and $8.5 million in 2012. He will receive $4.437 million this season.
Wilson had 38 saves last season and 41 in 2008. He was a first-time All-Star in 2008.
In February, the Giants and two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum finalized a $23 million, two-year deal.
JOBA'S LONG-TERM ROLE UNDETERMINED
The long-term role for New York Yankees right-hander Joba Chamberlain has not been determined.
New York general manager Brian Cashman yesterday didn't commit to or rule out Chamberlain getting an opportunity to be in the rotation next season. Chamberlain was moved into a relief role Thursday when he lost out to Phil Hughes in the fifth starter competition.
Cashman said his focus is on this season and that there have been no decisions made on Chamberlain's status for 2011.
"We haven't had any team meetings and said 'all right, he's a reliever for the rest of his life.' No we didn't do that," Cashman said. "Essentially, though, I think what the mindset has got to be, he's not going to help us in our rotation right now because we picked five guys. His role on the club is to help us out of the pen."
Chamberlain, who threw a scoreless inning out of the bullpen Saturday, said it would be unfair to his teammates to look past this season.
"It's one of those things where you can't look ahead because you've got to be focused on what you're doing right now," Chamberlain said.
There are indications that the Yankees see Chamberlain, who had a 0.38 ERA in 19 games out of the bullpen in his rookie season of 2007, as a reliever for the foreseeable future.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said yesterday the team would likely turn to Sergio Mitre or Alfredo Aceves should a starting pitcher get hurt. Some have projected Chamberlain as a future replacement for closer Mariano Rivera.
ROOKIE CHAPMAN SHARP AFTER BREAK
The fastball topped out at 97 mph. The hitters couldn't catch up with it. By all appearances, left-hander Aroldis Chapman was back in form after a one-week layoff because of back spasms.
The Cuban defector pitched one inning of a minor league game for the Cincinnati Reds yesterday at Goodyear, Ariz., having little trouble with up-and-coming Milwaukee Brewers. He struck out the first two batters he faced — one of them on a nasty slider — and gave up a single up the middle before getting the final out on a routine grounder.
"I felt like before," Chapman said, with a trainer acting as translator. "I feel really good."
The 22-year-old pitcher was in the running for the fifth starter's spot before spasms in his lower back forced him to leave a game last Monday. He didn't throw for two days, giving the back time to recuperate.
Chapman's fastball hit 100 mph during earlier appearances this spring.
COMMITTEE OF PITCHERS WILL CLOSE
It's looking more and more like just one Minnesota Twin will not be enough to take Joe Nathan's place.
Manager Ron Gardenhire said yesterday that, barring a trade this week, the Twins will start the regular season with a closer-by-committee approach.
"If we decide to go with one guy as we go along, we'll go with one guy," Gardenhire said. "But we're going to start out and we're going to look at a lot of different people and we'll see what happens. We've got about three or four different guys we can go to."
The plan right now is for relievers Matt Guerrier, Jon Rauch, Jesse Crain and Jose Mijares to all get time in the ninth inning early in the season depending on matchups and performance.
That means that starter Francisco Liriano likely will not be considered for closer.
Nathan, who had 47 saves last season, returned to Twins camp yesterday, two days after having Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.
Padres: Jon Garland has been named San Diego's Opening Day starter by manager Bud Black.
Garland, who in January signed a one-year deal worth $4.7 million which includes a $600,000 buyout for 2011, will face Dan Haren and the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix on April 5.
Last season, Garland went a combined 11-13 with a 4.01 ERA for the Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Nationals: Rookie Ian Desmond will be the Opening Day shortstop for Washington, beating out incumbent Cristian Guzman.
Nationals manager Jim Riggleman says yesterday that Desmond is having an "exceptional spring" and the decision will "help the club this year and in the future."
Indians: Cleveland first baseman Russell Branyan is going on the disabled list with a herniated disc in his back, giving the starting job to Matt LaPorta.
Branyan has yet to play in a Cactus League game because of his back.