Giants

After successful run overseas, former Giant turns to scouting

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AP

After successful run overseas, former Giant turns to scouting

SAN FRANCISCO — The lobby of the hotel that hosts MLB’s annual Winter Meetings is filled with men in their 20s looking for jobs with a big league organization. Last month in Orlando, a 33-year-old stood alongside a lobby coffee shop and looked out at the crowd. He, too, was starting life in a front office, so he would fit right in with much of the crowd, except for one small detail: He once hit a homer off of Clayton Kershaw. 

Brett Pill, a former Giant, attended the Winter Meetings in a new role. He serves as a scout for the Kia Tigers, the South Korean team that took advantage of his power for three seasons. Pill is still young enough to take his swings, but he move on from his playing days after spending time with the Detroit Tigers last spring. 

“I don’t know what it was, I just didn’t have that fire to grind through the minor leagues again,” Pill said. “Everybody knows the minor leagues is a tough time, and we’ve got two little kids.”

The family's children were born overseas, while Pill played three big years in the KBO. He hit 61 homers in 367 games, batting .316 with a .521 slugging percentage. Pill spent the prior three seasons in San Francisco, hitting nine homers in 240 scattered at-bats. He broke into the big leagues at a time when the Giants had Aubrey Huff at first base, Brandon Belt fighting for an everyday job, and Buster Posey occasionally moving over from catcher. 

Pill was this week’s guest on the Giants Insider Podcast, and he said the role change in South Korea helped him take off. 

“When I was in San Francisco it was tough for me to get in a groove in the major leagues because I felt like I was the type of guy that had to play every day to be successful,” Pill said. “Going over there gave me a chance to play every day so I could use those prime years and get something out of them.”

For more, you can stream the podcast here or download it on iTunes here. 

Giants fall short in Anaheim thanks to big Angels bats

Giants fall short in Anaheim thanks to big Angels bats

ANAHEIM -- Albert Pujols drove a go-ahead, two-run home run into the seats in right-center for career hit No. 2,992, and Mike Trout and Jefry Marte also went deep for the Los Angeles Angels, who beat the San Francisco Giants 4-3 Saturday night to snap an ugly four-game losing streak.

Pujols, 38, hit a no-doubt, opposite-field shot to right-center on an 0-1 pitch from lefty Derek Holland with one out in the sixth. He needs eight hits to become the 32nd member of the 3,000-hit club. He went 1 for 4 as the designated hitter.

Pujols came up with runners on the corners and one out in the eighth and grounded into a double play.

Garrett Richards (3-0) struck out 11 in six innings and held San Francisco to two runs and five hits, with one walk.

The righty helped stop an embarrassing four-game pummeling. The Angels lost 8-1 to the Giants on Friday night after being outscored 27-3 in a three-game sweep by the Boston Red Sox.

Keynan Middleton got a four-out save, his fifth in as many chances.

All three Angels home runs were off Holland (0-3).

Trout homered into the rocks beyond the fence in center field an inning after nearly robbing Brandon Belt of a two-run homer. Trout's eighth homer, on an 0-1 pitch, tied the game at 2.

In the second, Trout leaped and had Belt's fly ball in his glove for a moment before it popped out when he hit the wall and it went over the yellow line. Pablo Sandovalwas on second base after a strikeout-wild pitch followed by another wild pitch by Richards. It was Belt's fourth homer.

Marte homered with two outs in the second, his first.

San Francisco closed to 4-3 on Sandoval's RBI double with two outs in the eighth. After Belt was intentionally walked, Middleton came on and struck out Evan Longoria. Middleton allowed Mac Williamson's leadoff single in the ninth before retiring the side.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Giants: DH Buster Posey was a late scratch due to back tightness.

Angels: RHP Shoehei Ohtani is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday, and the Angels should know if he's definitely good to make his next start after a blister on his right middle finger forced him out after just two innings against Boston on Tuesday night.

UP NEXT

Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto (1-0, 0.45) is scheduled to start the series finale. Angel Stadium is the last current ballpark he hasn't pitched in. He's 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA in two starts against the Angels.

Angels: RHP Jaime Barria (1-0, 0.45) will be recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake to make his second start. He won his big league debut at Texas on April 11.

Williamson goes deep, Giants bats explode for 8-1 win vs Angels

Williamson goes deep, Giants bats explode for 8-1 win vs Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Andrew McCutchen hit a towering, three-run homer, Mac Williamson hit a two-run homer in his first big league game this season and Nick Hundley also connected to back Jeff Samardzija in the San Francisco Giants' 8-1 win against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.

The Angels had only five hits, including a homer by Mike Trout, a double by Albert Pujols for his 2,991st career hit and two singles by Shohei Ohtani.

Samardzija (1-0) just made it through five innings to qualify for the win. He walked the bases loaded with two outs before manager Bruce Bochy came out for a mound visit. Justin Upton drove Samardzija's next pitch to the warning track in left, where Williamson caught it. Samardzija flinched at first, thinking it was gone, and then smiled as he walked toward the dugout. Bochy smiled and clapped his hands.

Samardzija opened the season on the disabled list with a pectoral strain suffered during spring training. He allowed two hits in five innings, struck out four and walked four.

Ohtani had the Angels' first hit off Samardzija, a single to center with two outs in the second. Ohtani had gone 0 for 4 with three strikeouts the night before as the Boston Red Sox completed a sweep. The designated hitter singled again in the ninth.

McCutchen, the designated hitter, drove a 1-2 pitch from Andrew Heaney into the Giants' bullpen beyond the left-field fence with one out in the fifth to chase the left-hander.

Heaney (0-1) allowed the first five batters to reach in the fifth. He allowed Williamson's homer to right and an RBI single by Austin Jackson.

Hundley hit an opposite-field shot to right in the second, his first. He added an RBI double in the eighth.

Trout homered to left-center off Pierce Johnson in the eighth, his seventh. Two batters later, Pujols drove a ball to the base of the fence in center before being replaced by pinch-runner Jefry Marte.

OHTANI'S BLISTER

Angels manager Mike Scioscia isn't sure if the seams on big league baseballs are what caused the blister on Ohtani's right middle finger that forced the Japanese two-way sensation out after just two innings Tuesday night against Boston in his third major league pitching start.

"He worked very hard getting used our baseball starting last winter," Scioscia said. "Blisters...come and go with pitchers occasionally at some point. Exactly when they crop up with some guys is a mystery. There are probably a lot of things that came into play for Shohei to have his become significant to where it affected some of his pitches. But I don't know if there's any one reason that you could pin down right now. He feels much better. We got him out in time last start where it didn't get any worse and hopefully he'll be able to make his next start."

Some pitchers blamed slicker balls for blisters last season.

Scioscia remained noncommittal about when Ohtani's next start would be, but a six-man rotation would have him Ohtani pitching Monday at Houston.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Giants: Placed OF Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained right thumb and recalled Williamson from Triple-A Sacramento.

UP NEXT

Giants: LHP Derek Holland (0-2, 4.60) is scheduled to start Saturday night. He has appeared in more games against the Angels than any other team, going 10-8 with a 5.21 ERA in 28 appearances, including 25 starts.

Angels: RHP Garrett Richards (2-0, 3.60) is scheduled to make his first career start against San Francisco on Saturday night.