Jimmy Rollins praises Giants fans for incredible energy at AT&T Park

Jimmy Rollins praises Giants fans for incredible energy at AT&T Park

In 1996, Jimmy Rollins graduated from Encinal High School in Alameda.

On Thursday morning, the Bay Area native opened up about actively rooting against the Orange and Black as a kid, and discussed his mindset entering 2017.

"I have to be honest, growing up in the East Bay, I couldn't stand the Giants," Rollins said on KNBR 1050. "I was happy about the '89 World Series and all that. But as I got introduced to National League baseball maybe about my sophomore or junior year ... I was like, you know what, going over to Candlestick -- this side is not bad. It's not like anything I thought it was.

"And I started really following the Giants. Obviously Matt Williams, Will the Thrill, Royce Clayton, (Robby) Thompson, Bonds obviously -- just the guys they had over there, I'm like 'This is a real good team.' I was just biased on that East Bay-West Bay bias.

"And then being in the National League, I really fell in love with playing at Giants stadium. The energy and all the things. After 2010, I couldn't stand anything about San Francisco stadium (laughter), but I still enjoyed going there just because the energy they bring ... there's just an excitement and a buzz when you go to that ballpark. It is never quiet, there's always noise going on and as an athlete you thrive on that -- it helps you perform better."

[RELATED: Mike Krukow expects Jimmy Rollins to make Giants' Opening Day roster]

Over 50 career games at AT&T Park, Rollins is hitting just .205 with four home runs and 19 RBI.

Against the Giants in the 2010 NLCS, he batted .261 with four RBI.

Rollins chose the White Sox over the Giants last year, but he signed a minor-league deal with San Francisco earlier this week.

What was the conversation like between him and Giants GM Bobby Evans?

"I haven't actually spoke with him yet, but I take it off of last year," Rollins explained. "We were in talks last year and I signed with Chicago just for the opportunity. But it was the same situation. I spoke with Bobby and Boch (Bruce Bochy), and like they said then and I'm gonna assume it's the same way -- they have their young guys and they're gonna play ... you're gonna give some days off and play here and there, and if somebody goes down, then maybe I can be the guy that steps up.

"So I'm just assuming it's the same exact role. But when I do speak with Boch or Bobby, whether that happens over the phone or when I get to spring training, the first thing is I'm just walking in the office and just asking what do I need to show them to convince them I'm worthy of being on the team. It's that simple.

"Whatever it is at this point, I'm willing to do. Last year, I wasn't at that point yet ... for me it's about winning and how can I help."

Giants' outfield picture becoming clearer after latest round of roster cuts


Giants' outfield picture becoming clearer after latest round of roster cuts

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants moved closer to setting their opening day roster on Monday when they made a significant round of cuts to their spring training roster. 

A total of 15 players were reassigned or optioned, bringing the total to 31 players remaining in camp. Many of the players cut Monday entered the spring competing for jobs. 

In the outfield, Mac Williamson and Austin Slater were optioned to Triple-A and Chris Shaw was reassigned to minor league camp. Williamson had a huge spring and was the likeliest of the trio to push for an opening day spot, but he'll start his year in the minors. Steven Duggar was not among the cuts, and he remains an option to make the team, with the Giants also looking at Gregor Blanco, Gorkys Hernandez and Jarrett Parker for backup spots. Hernandez and Parker are out of minor league options. 

Tyler Beede was optioned and Andrew Suarez was reassigned to minor league camp, leaving three players vying for the final two rotation spots. Ty Blach and Chris Stratton have been the favorites all along, although both struggled the last time out and Derek Holland has had a strong spring. 

Both backup catchers -- Trevor Brown and Hector Sanchez -- were reassigned, along with Orlando Calixte, who saw time in the big leagues last year. Joan Gregorio, Jose Valdez, Justin O'Conner and Kyle Jensen were also reassigned. Chase d'Arnaud, who appeared to be making a strong push, was on the list, too, leaving Josh Rutledge as the only competition for Kelby Tomlinson for the final infield spot. 

Finally, Derek Law and Roberto Gomez were optioned to Triple-A. Josh Osich remains and appears the frontrunner for a bullpen job. Julian Fernandez, the Rule 5 pick, also remains in camp. 

The Giants break camp on Friday.

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

PEORIA — Jeff Samardzija spent a couple minutes after Thursday’s start talking to reporters about how deep he thinks the Giants lineup can be. It’ll be a hell of a lot deeper if Hunter Pence keeps hitting like this. 

After a slow start to the spring, Pence is charging. He had three hits against the Padres: a triple that bounced off the top of the wall in right-center, a hard single up the middle, and a double to center. The more encouraging plays for the Giants happened in left field. Pence chased down a drive to the line in the third inning, leaving the bases loaded. He opened the fourth by going the other direction and gloving a fly ball to left-center. 

"A good game for Hunter, both ways," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's getting more comfortable out there. You can see it with the jumps he's getting right now. It takes a little while when you change positions, but I think he's going to be fine out there."

The Giants appear set to have Austin Jackson and Pence atop the lineup against left-handed starters, and that duo could see plenty of time early. Seven of the first nine games are against the Dodgers, who have four lefty starters. 

--- Evan Longoria had a double off the right-center wall on Wednesday after missing a week with a sore ankle. He had a single the same way in his second at-bat Thursday. More than the at-bats, Longoria has impressed with his soft hands and steady arm at third. The ankle looks fine, too. 

“My ankle feels pretty good,” Longoria said. “I don’t think it’s going to be an issue going forward.”

--- It’s been a quiet spring for Andrew McCutchen, but we saw the wheels tonight. McCutchen easily stole second after a two-run single in the fifth. When Evan Longoria bounced one to the left side, shortstop Freddy Galvis tried to go to third for the lead out, but McCutchen beat that throw, too. He got up and put his hands on his hips, as if to say, "Why'd you even try that?"

--- Samardzija allowed three homers in a six-batter span in the third. He allowed three homers in an inning in his previous start, too, but he said he’s not concerned. Samardzija deemed it a sequencing issue. He’s working in a new changeup and threw it in situations he normally wouldn’t; Eric Hosmer took advantage of a floating one, crushing it to deep, deep right for the third homer. 

--- With a runner on, Brandon Belt put down a perfect bunt to foil the shift. Belt does that every spring, particularly against NL West teams, but rarely during the regular season. Maybe this will be the year?

Belt later crushed a homer to deep right. That had to feel good for a number of reasons. Belt is fighting a cold and he learned earlier in the day that his college coach, Augie Garrido, had passed away.