Cain's late granddad inspires desire to help needy


Cain's late granddad inspires desire to help needy

SAN FRANCISCO Matt Cain learned so many important lessonsfrom his grandfather, Guy Miller, and gripping a curveball was just one ofthem.

Cains grandfather passed away in February, 12 years afterhe suffered a debilitating stroke. He required advanced care and resided inassisted living facility, which the family could afford.

But Cain and his wife, Chelsea, would wonder on occasion:What about the people who cant?

Thats why Project Open Hand is so important to us, saidCain, who was named the Giants nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, givento the major leaguer who best demonstrates represents the game of baseballthrough positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanshipand community involvement.

For so many people simple things in life are not so simplelater on. Even something as simple as delivering meals to people who need themcan make a difference.

Cain also devotes time and his endorsement to the GreaterBay Area chapter of Make-A Wish, Until Theres A Cure, the No H8 Campaign andthe Junior Giants program. Animal welfare is important to the Cains as well,which is why they volunteer for PAWS in San Francisco.

And two years ago, Cain was so moved by teammate JeremyAffeldts project to build an orphanage in Uganda that he signed on to help.The 10-house complex, each of which houses 10 children, opened earlier thisyear in the Gulu District not far from borders with war-torn Sudan and theDemocratic Republic of the Congo.

Affeldt, whose mission is to end human slavery andtrafficking, said many orphans are stolen or recruited to fight for the LordsResistance Army (LRA), led by demagogue and convicted war criminal Joseph Kony.

These kids could be killing people, Affeldt said. Manyof them have had their families shot and killed in front of them. Were tryingto give them a safe place where they can learn some life skills and just befree to play.

Said Cain: When I heard about it, I wanted to jump intothat. Especially now having (their daughter) Hartley, its put things inperspective and were getting involved in more childrens causes. If makingsure they have clean water, simple things like that, is something we can do, Iwant to do it.

Affeldt, the Giants Clemente nominee the previous twoseasons, was happy to see Cain recognized for his efforts in the community.

What he and Chelsea do, they do because they have a heartfor it, Affeldt said. Roberto Clementes vision is to help those in need.When Matt signed for the amount of money he signed for, I know he wasntthinking, This is for me. Its about providing for other people.

So Im very proud of him. You can be a great baseballplayer, but if youre not a good person, it really doesnt matter much. We allknow Cainer is a great person.

Affeldt is taking a speaking trip this winter to Korea(Korean women are the most commonly trafficked sex slaves in the world) andthen will visit a village in Thailand, where he financed the construction of abasketball court in a center for rescued children. Eventually, he wants tovisit Uganda, as does Cain.

Cain was stunned when he saw the movie, Machine GunPreacher, about an American crusader for exploited children in Sudan.

Thats a long way from where he grew up on the horse farmsoutside Memphis, Tenn. But because of the guidance he received growing up, he cares about whats happening halfway around the world

My granddad, and my dad, helped me learn to be a man,Cain said. They paved the way to help me become the person I am.

Fans can vote for the Clemente Award recipient of theirchoice at MLB.comClementeAward. The fan vote winner will receive one voteamong those cast by a selection panel. The recipient will be announced duringthe World Series.

Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency


Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency

With free agency set to begin five days after the World Series ends, two hitters that played for the Giants during the 2017 season have put their names on the open market.

Veteran third baseman Conor Gillaspie and longtime minor league outfielder Carlos Moncrief have both elected for free agency, according to Baseball America.

The 30-year-old Gillaspie appeared in 44 games for the Giants this past season. He hit just .168/.218/.288 with four doubles, two home runs and eight RBI. He was designated for assignment on August 3 and outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento on August 5. With the River Cats, Gillaspie hit .375 with four doubles in 15 games in August.

Prior to the 2017 season, Gillaspie signed a one-year, $1.4 million deal with the Giants.

As for Moncrief, the soon-to-be 29-year-old finally got his first call-up the majors this past season after eight and a half seasons in the minors. He debuted for the Giants on July 29. In 28 games, he hit .211/.256/.237 with one double and five RBI. While he didn't do much with the bat, Moncrief showed off a cannon for an arm when he patrolled right field.

Giants reassign pitching coach Dave Righetti, two other coaches


Giants reassign pitching coach Dave Righetti, two other coaches

SAN FRANCISCO — Late in a 98-loss season, general manager Bobby Evans met with members of the coaching staff to discuss new roles. The shakeup of the staff ended up being a stunning one. 

Pitching coach Dave Righetti was one of three coaches to be reassigned Saturday morning. After 18 seasons as pitching coach, Righetti will now serve as special assistant to the general manager. Bullpen coach Mark Gardner was given a “special assignment role to assist in pitching evaluations.” Assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will be a special assistant for baseball operations. 

The moves cap a 13-month run in which the coaching staff has taken much of the blame for a $200 million roster that was poorly constructed in places and played embarrassing baseball for long stretches of the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Third base coach Roberto Kelly was let go after the 2016 season and first base coach Billy Hayes was reassigned. More changes appear on the way. 

“It does raise the level of attention to change when you struggle as much as we have, but you’re always contemplating making changes to try to help keep pushing your guys and make sure you continue to have different perspectives and new voices and reflections on how to get the most out of them,” Evans said on a conference call. 

Throughout September, multiple coaches expressed concern about their future roles, but the Giants held off several weeks before announcing changes. At least two members of the staff were involved in managerial searches elsewhere, and third base coach Phil Nevin is reportedly still a candidate for the open job in Philadelphia. 

Evans confirmed that he has interviewed outside candidates for a hitting coach role, but he would not go so far as to say Hensley Meulens will be reassigned as well. He also would not speak to the future of Ron Wotus, although the longtime bench coach is expected to be mixed up in future changes as well. Evans indicated he would announce further moves after all the open managerial vacancies are filled.

For now, the Giants are in the process of trying to find a new pitching coach. They are focused on experienced outside candidates, and they have plenty of options, as several other teams have made changes this month. Evans hinted that he wants the next pitching coach to have a more analytical approach. 

Righetti's replacement will have massive shoes to fill. His run was the longest for a pitching coach in franchise history. The Giants, usually so reliant on pitching, finished 16th in the Majors with a 4.50 ERA, but it’s hard to see how Righetti takes the blame for that. Madison Bumgarner missed a chunk of the season after a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto had a brutal injury-plagued year, Matt Moore battled himself and had the worst ERA in the National League, and the bullpen struggled, with closer Mark Melancon pitching through an injury that required season-ending surgery. 

Righetti was credited with helping to develop a rotation and bullpen that won three titles, and the bond he shared with pitchers was on display during the final weekend of the year, when Matt Cain talked repeatedly about their close relationship and went straight for Righetti after he came off the field for the final time. While it’s often hard to figure out where to give credit, even in a down year for the staff, Righetti played a role in Sam Dyson’s resurgence, and he helped Ty Blach and Chris Stratton break in as big league regulars. 

“Ultimately a change for us in the clubhouse is really an opportunity just to put a new voice with our pitching staff and try to keep pushing to the heights that we aspire as an organization and a club,” Evans said. “Changes sometimes are needed as much for the sake of that new voice as anything, and I think that was really the priority here.”

Righetti will help Evans in a front office role. Evans admitted that Righetti’s “heartbeat is in uniform as a coach,” but said he was willing to take on a new role for an organization he loves. 

Gardner, a former Giants pitcher, had been on staff since 2003. He will now help to evaluate pitchers inside and outside the organization, and Evans said Gardner could serve an important role in evaluating trade options. Decker joined the big league staff in 2015 after a long run working in the minor leagues. The 2017 season was his 23rd with the organization. He will have a “blank canvas,” Evans said, working in different roles inside the organization. Decker will also help with draft preparation.