Giants

Huff scratched with lower back tightness

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Huff scratched with lower back tightness

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- First baseman Aubrey Huff was a late scratch from Saturday afternoon's lineup against the A's because of lower back tightness, the Giants announced.

Huff took batting practice prior to the game but retired to the clubhouse ahead of the other players. The 35-year-old first baseman, who is trying to fend off Brandon Belt for a starting role, is hitting .286 (8 for 28) with two home runs in 10 games.

Huff has received 33 innings at first base and just five in left field, although Giants manager Bruce Bochy has vowed to give him more time in the outfield this spring. By contrast, Belt has played 36 innings at first base and 23 in the outfield (17 in right, six in left).

The Giants made one other lineup change, and it cost Brandon Crawford whatever he had planned for Saturday night. They shifted the shortstop to the other split-squad game -- a 7:05 p.m. contest against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Glendale.

It was a change the Giants were forced to make. The team fielded a complaint from the league office because the night lineup didn't have any forecasted starting position players, with the possible exception of Belt.

The league requires teams to have three anticipated starting position players in every exhibition lineup, and officials are enforcing it this spring. Teams get one warning and the Giants already burned theirs when they sent over a light lineup to Tempe earlier this spring.

Mike Fontenot replaced Crawford in the afternoon lineup and minor league third baseman Chris Dominguez replaced Huff at first base. Although Dominguez got confused in the second inning and didn't cover the bag on a grounder to the right side, he later redeemed himself by ranging to haul in a foul fly with an over-the-shoulder catch.

In other news, Ryan Vogelsong (strained lower back) faced hitters for the first time this spring. Dominguez was one of the stand-ins and said Vogelsong didn't have command, but was impressed with the quality of his stuff. Vogelsong will face hitters at least one more time before he'd be cleared to start a game.

Just a number? Longoria says slow down with concerns of Giants' aging roster

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AP

Just a number? Longoria says slow down with concerns of Giants' aging roster

The Giants added two premier face of the franchise players this offseason in Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen. Together the two have combined for eight All-Star Game appearances. 

What they don't bring to San Francisco though, is youth. Longoria (32) and McCutchen (31) are the latest to join an again Giants roster. Buster Posey turn 31 in March, Johnny Cueto turns 32 in February, Hunter Pence turns 35 in April, Brandon Crawford turns 31 in January, and Brandon Belt turns 30 in April.

Father Time though, is far from getting Longoria and the rest of the Giants' stars according to the third baseman. 

"I believe that all of us believe we're in our prime and we are more than capable of competing," Longoria said Wednesday on KNBR. "That's just ways of making waves in the news. Our job is to just go out and do our job. I think we'll be just fine." 

Longoria is entering his 11th season in the big leagues. That has certainly added wear and tear on him, but also added knowledge of his body. 

"I'm definitely a different player," Longoria says now at 32 compared to 22. "There's a lot of ways that I prepare now that I didn't have to do or I didn't know how to do when I was a younger player. For me personally, it's going to be quite an experience."

While Longoria and McCutchen may not have the freshest pair of legs in baseball, they are two of the most durable players in the game. In 2017, both players appeared in 156 out of 162 games.

"Being prepared for the season is one thing and I know how to do that and I know how to get myself ready for that," Longoria said. "It's just a matter of the day in and day out homework so to speak that I'll have to do. That's gonna change based on the league and based on the division."

Evan Longoria reacts to Giants' 'big, big acquisition' of Andrew McCutchen

Evan Longoria reacts to Giants' 'big, big acquisition' of Andrew McCutchen

When Evan Longoria heard he was being traded to the Giants, he instantly thought of the three World Series trophies. 

"They've won three World Series in the past eight years or whatever, everyone knows that," Longoria said Wednesday on KNBR. "It's a great place to be. The fan base is amazing. I'm just looking forward to playing in front of that and being a part of that." 

That's true, the Giants have won three titles in the last eight years. At one point, it was three in five years, building a modern-day dynasty. That also means they have come up short the last three years. 

In 2017, the Giants fell well beyond short. Playing his whole career in the American League East for the Tampa Bay Rays, Longoria didn't realize quite how bad things were going in San Francisco this past season. 

His wife did though. 

"My wife was actually the one that said, 'Hey, did you know the Giants basically had the worst record in baseball last year?'" Longoria shared. "I said 'I'm excited to be going to a contender' and she said 'Uhh... wait a second here.' But I know that those things happen and it's very tough to compete atop of the division every year and there's years that you have to punt so to speak and start preparing for next year." 

None of that matters to Longoria. The past is the past. All Longoria cares about now is 2018 and beyond. And he believes the Giants are in line to make some more Even Year Magic.

"I truly believe that this organization, obviously with the moves that they've made this offseason, with the recent acquisition of [Andrew] McCutchen, I believe that they're still not done," Longoria says. "I think they wanna do a few more things and that shows a committment to winning. We're definitely on the path to turning it around this year." 

The Giants acquired McCutchen from the Pirates on Monday for prospects Bryan Reynolds and Kyle Crick. Longoria couldn't be any more excited to be in the same lineup as McCutchen. 

"It's a big, big acquisition," Longoria said. "I think when you look at Cutch's numbers, they speak for themselves. When you look at what he's done on the baseball field is probably some of the best numbers and performances in the last 10 years in the National League.

"When you add a player like that, it brings a mindset that the team is committed to winning and I've heard nothing but great things about McCutchen in the clubhouse and off the field too. Whether or not you can quantify it, I believe those things go a long way." 

Longoria and McCutchen combined for 48 home runs and 174 RBI in 2017.