Giants reinstate Melky Cabrera, but he won't play in postseason


Giants reinstate Melky Cabrera, but he won't play in postseason

CHICAGO -- In what amounted to a paper move, the Giants reinstated Melky Cabrera to the 40-man roster on Friday, while reiterating that the left fielder won't play for the Giants at any point this postseason.

The Giants were required to reinstate Cabrera or release him once the 27-year-old switch-hitter completed his 50-game suspension for testing positive for testosterone in violation of the league's drug policy.

Cabrera satisfied terms of the suspension and was removed from MLB's restricted list after missing the final 45 games of the regular season, plus five games in the NL Division Series as the Giants staved off elimination three times and advanced past the Cincinnati Reds.

Cabrera hit .346 and was leading the majors in hits and runs scored when the suspension was announced Aug. 15, but the Giants decided in late September not to bring him back because the team was playing well in his absence and his controversial presence could be a major distraction.

The Giants did add right-hander Guillermo Mota to the playoff roster for the NLDS after he missed 100 games for testing positive for clenbuterol, a banned stimulant. But MLB officials believed Mota was telling the truth when he said he accidentally took the drug when he consumed some of his daughter's prescription cough syrup.

Cabrera's crime went beyond negligence. A handler employed by his agents created a phony product and Web site to try to explain away the positive testosterone result; Cabrera, once his appeals were denied and the penalties announced, admitted fault and issued an apology. He forfeited more than 1.5 million of his 6 million salary, too.

The Giants needed to create a 40-man roster space for Cabrera and they cleared two, outrighting right-hander Shane Loux and outfielder Justin Christian to Triple-A Fresno.

Why not just release Cabrera? Well, from what I've been told, there is more openness within the Giants organization to the idea of re-signing Cabrera after this season. It's hard to know how much the PED use fueled his incredible 4 12-month run, but many in the front office continue to view Cabrera as a talented two-way player coming into his prime. And now he'll be a relative bargain on the free-agent market, too.

Plus Cabrera and his agents scored points when they arranged for MLB and the union to amend a rule that would've allowed Cabrera to qualify for and win the batting title. At Cabrera's request, he will not qualify. It was a meaningful olive branch to the Giants, since it means the crown will go to Buster Posey -- someone near and dear to the club's heart, obviously.

By keeping Cabrera on the roster, the Giants retain their window of exclusivity to negotiate with him before he'd become a free agent after the World Series.

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

SAN FRANCISCO — The field at AT&T Park is covered with patches and small piles of dirt right now, showing the signs of a winter hosting holiday parties and concerts, and a week with plenty of rain. 

For Evan Longoria, though, that grass was a beautiful sight.

A month after a trade that had him switching coasts, Longoria was introduced at a press conference at AT&T Park and ran the usual gauntlet with team employees and season-ticket holders. He spent some time this week looking for housing in the Bay Area, but soon he’ll be back in Scottsdale, getting to know new teammates and preparing his body for the 2018 season. 

Longoria said his workouts have been a bit different with a new staff, but the goal remains the same. He is a player who prides himself on taking the field every day, and that’s one of the traits that drew the Giants to Longoria. He has played at least 156 games in five consecutive seasons, and 160 in four of those seasons. 

It’s no accident that Bruce Bochy has mentioned durability during every media session this season. Andrew McCutchen has a similar track record, and the Giants lineup certainly could use some stability, especially at third base, where seven different players made double-digit starts last season. Longoria will change that. 

“I have a desire to play every day, and I think that that is infectious,” he said. “Players that may feel the grind of a long season or might be in a little bit of a funk offensively or defensively or with pitching, something like that can give you a boost when you have guys around that you know come to play and compete on a daily basis, no matter what the circumstance is.”

[RELATED: Just a number? Longoria says slow down with concerns of Giants' aging roster]

For Longoria, who turned 32 early in the offseason, the circumstance has changed for the better. After years on the unforgiving turf at The Trop, he comes to a park and division featuring nothing but natural grass. 

“I hope it helps,” he said. “Going on the road (with the Rays), my body definitely felt better when I played on grass. I’m sure that it will help. It’s definitely not going to be a negative. Not playing on the turf anymore is something that crossed my mind as soon as the trade happened.”

Longoria expects to benefit from another aspect of AT&T Park, too. The Rays finished dead last in the majors last year with an average of 15,670 fans per game. Even though their sellout streak ended, the Giants still had an average of more than 40,000 per night. Asked about playing outdoors, Longoria smiled and added, “in front of fans.”

“The environment here is obviously much different, so it’s going to be nice to step into that on a daily basis and play in front of a fan base that’s obviously very storied,” he said. “It helps with energy. It helps with motivation.”

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

Andrew McCutchen has been one of the best players in the National League for years now. The 31-year-old is a five-time All-Star and was named the 2013 NL MVP. 

Not only do his stats stand out, McCutchen is also one of the most entertaining players in baseball. And that's clearly going to continue in San Francisco. 

On Thursday, McCutchen was asked about the famous seagulls of San Francisco flying around the outfield at AT&T Park. 

"I definitely made a few friends out there over the years. Steve the Seagull out there, I know him," McCutchen said on KNBR. "He comes in every now and then. We have a little pow-wow when I come to San Francisco. Yeah, we get along well, me and the guys, me and the birds. They know when to come in that's for sure." 

Denard Span, who the Giants traded to acquire Evan Longoria, had a much different relationship with the seagulls. 

McCutchen is clearly the opposite of Span in this regard though. He seems about as calm as can be when it comes to the birds paying him a visit. 

"They chill, we have some conversations. It's all good," says McCutchen. 

One other aspect McCutchen can't wait for in the outfield at AT&T Park, is getting to know all the fans. Specifically, not being a part of a special chant Giants fans have for opposing outfielders. 

"I'm lookin' forward to fans not callin' me bums anymore," McCutchen said with a laugh. "I'm glad I'm on the winning side. I'm glad I'm on the San Francisco Giants side. I can't wait to meet all the fans."