Matt Cain is in The Best Shape of His Life

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This is the latest BSOHL I have ever witnessed, but this is an unequivocal case.

As we’ve noted, Matt Cain has set a Friday deadline for contract extension talks with the Giants. As recently as the other day he said that there was nothing really happening. Now Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports that “the volume of dialogue has increased between the Giants and Cain’s representatives,” so there’s still a chance that a deal can be done.

Also, this:

Cain hasn’t let himself appear distracted on the mound this spring. In six Cactus League exhibitions, he was 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA and had a 24-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Coaches and teammates remarked that Cain was in a consistently sunny mood and also appeared to be in the best shape of his career.

That probably justifies the $100 million+ Cain will be seeking in and of itself.

Umpire ejects Adrian Beltre for moving on-deck circle

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As far as ejections go, this is one of the stranger ones you’ll hear about. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was ejected in the bottom of the eighth inning of a game his team trailed at the time 18-6. Beltre was a few feet away from the circle towards home plate and was asked by Marlins pitcher Drew Steckenrider to get into the circle. So rather than step a few feet back to his right, Beltre picked up the circle and dragged it to where he was. And that got him ejected by second base umpire Gerry Davis. Manager Jeff Banister was also ejected after having a word with Davis.

Here’s a video from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Beltre, by the way, went 3-for-3 with a walk, a pair of doubles, and a solo home run. He’s now four hits away from 3,000 for his career.

Video: Phillies prospect J.P. Crawford hits an inside-the-park grand slam

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Phillies shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford’s stock has fallen sharply this season. He had an abysmal first three months, batting .203/.321/.276 in 291 plate appearances. Baseball America rated him the 12th overall prospect in baseball going into the season and rated him No. 92 in their midseason top 100. It was bad.

Since the calendar turned to July, however, Crawford has been more like his normal self. In 92 at-bats this month entering Wednesday night’s action, he was hitting .300/.391/.650 with six home runs, 13 RBI, 18 runs scored, and a terrific 15/12 K/BB ratio.

Crawford padded his stats more on Wednesday night as he circled the bases for an inside-the-park grand slam. Via the IronPigs Twitter:

Crawford was actually dead-to-rights at home, but he fooled the catcher with a great late slide.

Crawford finished 1-for-3 with a walk along with the slam on the night as the IronPigs beat the Gwinnett Braves 8-2.