MESA, Ariz. — Jeff Samardzija made a strong spring debut and the Chicago Cubs scored four unearned runs in the first inning against Giants ace Matt Cain, then held on for a 4-3 victory Sunday at HoHoKam Stadium.
Cubs catcher Dioner Navarro acquired as a free agent over the winter, hit a three-run homer in the first inning after Alfonso Soriano hit a line drive off the right leg of Cain and reached first as the ball caromed away. Giants first baseman Brandon Belt made a throwing error one batter earlier. Read More
If the Giants fail to recapture the magic of last summer and fall, nobody will be stunned. Repeat champs are a dying breed in big-league ball, for a variety of reasons.
If one of the reasons for the Giants’ inability to repeat is the World Baseball Classic, add that to the long and obvious list of reasons to shout at the top of your lungs for major reform in regard to what should — but never will be — the greatest event in the game. Read More
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Hoping to earn a job with the Giants, infielder Wilson Valdez is with his 12th big-league organization.
Freddy Sanchez and Ryan Theriot no longer are with the Giants, and the 34-year-old Valdez hopes to beat out 28-year-old Tony Abreu and 31-year-old Kensuke Tanaka for a roster spot with the World Series champions.
Valdez has played for seven major-league teams. He’s been traded six times, released six times and spent a year in Japan.
“I’ve got to show them what I can bring,” Valdez said. “I just want to play hard and play smart.” Read More
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Hunter Pence still hears about that wacky hit, when the ball came off his bat three times in a single swing.
Pence broke the bat making contact for a key double in a 9-0 victory against St. Louis in Game 7 of the NL Championship Series in October.
Not that anybody’s too surprised when something like that happens to Pence.
The Giants right fielder is quirky, just plain odd if you were to poll some of his pals — like second baseman Marco Scutaro.
“He loves me,” Pence cracked Monday. Read More
This week, the Giants opened the kind of spring training that makes a former big-league beat writer wish he could turn back the clock and dive back in for a bit.
As noted in this space — and any other space dedicated to providing a preview of the Giants’ title defense — we touched on the team’s decision to keep the title winners intact, and one of the products of that decision is the primary reason for the aforementioned itch to dash for the desert and cover this camp. Read More
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Ryan Vogelsong isn’t too concerned about what other guys do with their World Series championship rings. He’s wearing his once he gets it.
Given his long journey back to the big leagues from five years of baseball obscurity to world champion last season, the Giants’ right-hander has good reason to flash his bling.
“It’s a long time coming,” Vogelsong said Thursday. “I know what it took me to get that ring and I’m going to enjoy it and wear it for sure.” Read More
An important part of the puzzle for the Giants as they aim at still another World Series championship will be the continued development of their Brandons, Belt and Crawford.Belt’s road has been especially bumpy, starting with the awful nickname given him, “The Baby Giraffe.” Please. Read More
As the last team standing in 2012, the Giants already had a short offseason. Cutting even further into that break is the World Baseball Classic, which nine Giants players will be participating in.
The WBC, which was played for the first time in 2006, then again in 2009, will hold the semifinal and championship games at AT&T Park in March after pool play takes teams all over the world, from Japan to Puerto Rico. Read More
Tim Lincecum endured the worst season of his career last year, posting an NL-worst 5.18 ERA. However, he shined out of the bullpen in the postseason with a 2.55 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 17²/³ innings. All eyes will be on his right arm this spring as he enters a contract season. Read More
If the past truly is prologue, you better have your tickets in hand already if you want to be a part of the Giants’ spring training party.
The last time Scottsdale, Ariz., played host to the defending world champs, way back in 2011, the vibrant little city and its charming stadium were packed throughout camp. Otherwise sane people were paying scalpers upward of $200 for the right to burn the skin off the backs of their thighs on the sun-sizzled metal bleachers down either foul line. Read More