Huff to begin rehab assignment for San Jose


Huff to begin rehab assignment for San Jose

SAN FRANCISCO Aubrey Huffs desire and dedication haventalways been on display this season, so Giants officials were pleased when the35-year-old veteran agreed to give up his All-Star break and begin a minorleague rehab assignment with Single-A San Jose.

Huff, who has spent most of the season on the disabled list,will begin the assignment on Wednesday.

A great sign, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. He knowshe needs to get some playing time. Even before he got hurt this last time, hehadnt been out there a lot. He needs to see pitches, get his timing, play somefirst base.

Huff went on the DL in late April after abruptly leaving theclub prior to an April 23 doubleheader at New York. He and the team laterdescribed his absence as an anxiety disorder. Upon returning in May he startedjust four games while being used mostly off the bench as a pinch hitter; he wasjust 3 for 25 over that 20-game span but had drawn six walks.

Huff landed on the DL again when he fell hard on his kneewhile trying to jump over the railing to celebrate Matt Cains perfect game onJune 13. He missed an opportunity to get at bats as a designated hitter on theteams nine-game road trip to Seattle, Anaheim and Oakland.

Huff hasnt played in the minors since 2006, when he appearedin two games for Single-A Visalia while on a rehab assignment with the TampaBay Devil Rays.

Bochy said he couldnt say how long Huffs minor league stintwould last.

The best way to answer that is, until he thinks hes ready,Bochy said. Definitely not till after the (All-Star) break.

Bochy took Huffs acceptance of the assignment as a goodsign. There have been times that veteran players refused managements wishes toget at-bats in the minors; for example, Edgar Renteria declined when askedseveral times in 2010.

Sometimes these guys dont want to go down, Bochy said. Theywant to come back and theyre just not ready. So thats our hope: That he willgo down there and get his stroke so he can come back and help us.

Hunter Pence changing positions to accommodate Andrew McCutchen

Hunter Pence changing positions to accommodate Andrew McCutchen

SAN FRANCISCO -- Andrew McCutchen has spent his entire career as a center fielder. With a new team comes a new position. 

Manager Bruce Bochy confirmed on Tuesday that McCutchen will move to right field for the Giants, with Hunter Pence sliding over from right to left. Bochy said he talked to McCutchen about the plan -- one the Giants had throughout the McCutchen chase -- after Monday's trade. 

"I'm looking forward to right field," McCutchen said. "That's one place people can't pick on me saying that my defensive metrics are so bad. I'm looking forward to playing right. I know there's a lot of room out there to run, so it's definitely going to be almost like playing center."

McCutchen said he's looking forward to picking Pence's brain about patrolling right field at AT&T Park. Bochy has already spoken to Pence and said his longtime right fielder is on board with the plan. 

"He's just so excited about getting Cutch on this club that he's good with anything or whatever is best for this club," Bochy said. "So that's the plan right now."

McCutchen has played 11,621 defensive innings in his career and all but 115 1/3 of them have been in center field. He briefly moved to right field last season but shifted back to center when Starling Marte was suspended for testing positive for a banned substance. McCutchen was a Gold Glove Award winner in 2012 but his defensive metrics tailed off in recent seasons. He was worth negative 28 Defensive Runs Saved in 2016 and was at negative 16 DRS last season. 

McCutchen had wanted to stay in center in Pittsburgh, but said it's a new case with a new team.

"I wasn’t too keen on (moving at first) because I felt that I had more there, that I could do something there (in center)," he said. "I honored (the Pirates) once they wanted me to play a little shallower and that backfired on me. I was basically asking for another shot but I didn’t get that chance or opportunity. But now that I’m going into the Giants organization and this is something they want me to do, I’m all for it.

"San Francisco has a huge field. It’s bigger than PNC Park. They’ve got Triples Alley and it’s called Triples Alley for a reason. For me, it’s another center field. I’m moving over a little and if it’s saving my legs and I can get more stolen bases, I’m all game and I’m all for it.”

Pirates front office raves about McCutchen after trading him to Giants


Pirates front office raves about McCutchen after trading him to Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — There was a sense of celebration within the Giants organization on Monday after the addition of Andrew McCutchen. He is easily their best outfielder, a potential solution atop the order, and a player who is known for being a tremendous presence in the clubhouse. 

If the Giants had any doubts, though, they surely felt better after seeing the quotes that came out of Pittsburgh. In a series of statements, Pirates officials made it clear this was a difficult trade to make, with chairman Bob Nutting calling it “one of the most emotionally agonizing decisions that we have had to make in my tenure.”

Nutting, in a statement, said that McCutchen’s smile and energy were infectious even as a teenager. Later, McCutchen got the Pirates to three straight postseason appearances. 

“He did so while always carrying himself with humility, dignity and grace,” Nutting said. 

Team president Frank Coonelly described the trade as painful. 

“(No) individual was more responsible for the success that we had from 2013 to 2015 than Cutch,” Coonelly said in a statement,” And no player was more disappointed than Andrew that we did not break through and win a World Series Championship for the City of Pittsburgh.”

McCutchen was Pittsburgh’s first-round selection in the 2005 draft and made his debut in 2009. In nine seasons with the Pirates, he was a five-time All-Star and a perennial MVP candidate. He won the award in 2013 and finished in the top five of voting for four consecutive seasons. 

General manager Neal Huntington said the decision to actually part with the franchise player was “incredibly difficult.”

“Watching Andrew patrol center field with grace, fly around the bases, drive the ball all around the ballpark, celebrate with his teammates or interact with his family, friends or fans has created lifelong memories for me and many, many others around the game of baseball,” he said.