Giants

Giants decline Huff's 10 million option for 2013

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Giants decline Huff's 10 million option for 2013

SAN FRANCISCO -- Aubrey Huff is taking his Rally Thong to the cleaners.

In a move that all parties anticipated, the Giants declined a 10 million option on Huff for 2013, instead choosing a 2 million buyout that amounts to a parting gift between the club and the steeply declining first baseman.

Huff, 35, will be long remembered as the most valuable offensive performer from the 2010 World Series championship team. His inspirational undergarments helped to rally his teammates to clinch the NL West title on the final day of the regular season. He hit a two-run home run in Game 4 of the World Series at Texas, too.

He gave the Giants tremendous return in 2010 after they signed him to a 3 million contract as a free-agent afterthought, hitting .290 with a .385 on-base percentage and 26 home runs while scoring 100 runs.

He gave them much, much less productivity after signing a two-year, 22 million deal just a few weeks after the victory parade in 2010. Huff slumped badly while hitting .246 in 2011 and was even less effective this season. He lost his starting job to Brandon Belt by the end of April, he failed to cover second base in an odd, walk-off loss at Citi Field on April 21, and caused controversy two days later when he went home without prior permission before the Giants played a doubleheader against the Mets.

REWIND: Anxiety lands Huff on 15-day DL

He later went on the disabled list with what he and the club described as an anxiety disorder. Huff landed on the DL again in June after injuring his knee while trying to hurdle the dugout rail in the moments after Matt Cain threw his perfect game June 13.

RELATED: Huff hurts knee celebrating perfect game

Huff made the postseason roster as a pinch hitter and was 1 for 9 with a walk and one run scored, in Game 2 of the NLCS -- his first time crossing the plate since May 23.

Huff hasn't announced his retirement, but if his career is over after 13 seasons, he'll end it as a .278 hitter with 242 home runs and 904 RBIs for the Devil Rays, Astros, Orioles, Tigers and Giants. He won a Silver Slugger award as the designated hitter in Baltimore in 2008, when he hit .304 with 32 home runs and 108 RBIs.

Report: Tim Lincecum throws 90-93 MPH at showcase

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AP

Report: Tim Lincecum throws 90-93 MPH at showcase

Tim Lincecum was back on a mound Thursday, trying to prove to teams once again that he still has a little bit of magic left in his right arm. 

The former Giants star held a bullpen session for scouts Thursday in Seattle. The event was closed to the media, but Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that between 25 and 30 scouts were in attendance. 

And Lincecum may have some of his velocity back. According to Heyman, Lincecum was sitting between 90 and 93 miles per hour. 

Lincecum last pitched in 2016 with the Angels. In that season, his fastball averaged just 88.4 miles per hour. In nine starts with the Angels, Lincecum was nowhere near what he once was and went 2-6 with a 9.16 ERA. 

The Giants planned to be at Lincecum's showcase, according to Insider Alex Pavlovic. 

Over nine seasons with the Giants, Lincecum posted a 108-83 record and a 3.61 ERA. He won back-to-back National Cy Young awards in 2008 and 2009, was a four-time All-Star and led the league in strikeouts three times. 

Slater fighting for outfield job after Giants' offseason overhaul

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USATSI

Slater fighting for outfield job after Giants' offseason overhaul

SCOTTSDALE — Catchers are usually the only position players to hit on the main field during the first few days of spring training, but Austin Slater snuck into a group Thursday to take a few cuts. With manager Bruce Bochy leaning against the back of the cage, perhaps Slater’s session will serve as a reminder: I’m still here, don’t forget about me.

The 25-year-old broke through last summer before injuries halted his progress. As Slater focused on getting healthy this offseason, Bobby Evans focused on overhauling the outfield. That has left several familiar faces in precarious spots, and Slater finds himself fighting for a fifth outfielder job a year after batting .282 in his first 117 big league at-bats. 

At the same time, he’s trying to balance competition with health. He wants to push for an Opening Day job, but also is very aware that he needs to back it down at times as he recovers from sports hernia surgery.

“You want to prove that you can play here and win a job, but (the staff) stressed health over everything,” he said. “It does no good to push and then start the season on the DL. For me, health is the most important thing. I feel like if I’m healthy I can prove myself. There’s nothing I can prove on the DL.”

Slater originally tore his groin on July 8 and the Giants thought it would prove to be a season-ending injury. He worked his way back ahead of schedule, though, seeing limited action before sports hernia surgery the last week of September. “They went in there and cleaned up the groin,” he said, smiling where others might grimace. The procedure kept Slater from playing in the Dominican Republic as planned, although that might have been a blessing in disguise. 

The Giants were aggressive with their winter ball plans because so many young players got hurt during the season. But Jarrett Parker lasted just 24 hours before being sent home with a health issue. Christian Arroyo’s hand swelled up soon after he arrived, and he headed home. Ryder Jones immediately got food poisoning and lost 12 pounds in just over three weeks before player and team decided a mutual parting would be beneficial. 

Slater stayed home throughout, living in the Bay Area and rehabbing. The Giants told him to focus on his rehab instead of lost at-bats and then come out and try to win a job in Scottsdale. By mid-November, he was hitting again. By Thanksgiving, he was on a regular lifting and running schedule. In late January, he felt like his old self again. 

For the Giants, that means a versatile option in a new-look outfield. Slater had a .290/.343/.430 slash line going before his first injury and he’s working to tap into more power. As Bruce Bochy pointed out Thursday, Slater has a long history of putting up numbers at every level. 

“He really did a nice job of figuring out what it takes to play in the major leagues, and he has a tendency throughout his career to just get better,” Bochy said. “You have to love his right-handed bat. He’s got some pop. I think he can play all three outfield positions, so he’s in the mix.”

The Giants have Andrew McCutchen in right and Hunter Pence in left and Austin Jackson as the third guy, and Bochy’s preference is to have a true center fielder as his fourth outfielder. That leaves Slater fighting for the fifth job, alongside many others. No matter what he did last year or does this spring, Slater has options remaining, and that will come into play. A year after using 13 different players in left field, the staff is intent on having greater depth at the Triple-A level. 

Slater is a Stanford product who spent the offseason surrounded by Giants fans. He knows the math after the offseason moves.

“It doesn’t change anything,” he said. “It just adds some great guys to learn from, and there are still outfield spots to be won, so it’s not discouraging, it’s encouraging. I didn’t expect them to keep an open roster spot for a guy with 120 at-bats. We’re trying to win a championship here.”