Giants

Pagan quickly feeling at home with Giants

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Pagan quickly feeling at home with Giants

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Angel Pagan has worn a Giants uniformfor just two spring training games, but hes already finding that his neworganization has his back.Even up in the broadcast booth.In the second inning of Sundays 11-1 exhibition victory over the ArizonaDiamondbacks, Pagan drilled a hard ground ball that hit runner Hector Sanchezbetween first and second base. Sanchez was ruled out, correctly. The inning wasover. The official scorer called it a fielders choice.Thats when Hall of Fame announcer Jon Miller came rushing out of the booth,waving his rulebook. He pointed to Rule 10.05 (section A, subsection 5), whichshowed that Pagan should have been credited with a single.

You cant just make this up, Miller said (and further explains in the embedded video). Under the rules of baseball, itsa hit.And so it was. Pagan went 2-for-4. You can look it up in the box score.Its very, very early in the spring, but Pagan has been a big hit in his shorttime as a Giant. He added an RBI single later in Sundays game to drive in arun. No. 2 hitter Melky Cabrera also doubled for the second consecutive game andprobably seared his retinas while making a tough catch on a sun ball in leftfield.With their catalysts leading the way, the Giants also got three hits each fromBrett Pill and Mike Fontenot on the hard-baked surface to rout the defending NLWest champions at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.Manager Bruce Bochy wanted to see plenty of Pagan and Cabrera in the top twolineup spots, which is why he put them in the same split-squad roster Sunday.He likes what he sees thus far.Its early. Its two games, Bochy said. But even with that, you like the wayits going right now. We have time to get this thing jelled together into alineup that will pretty much be our everyday lineup.As the two guys at the top of the order show, were a little more athleticnow. Theyre getting good at-bats and swinging the bat well. We ran the baseswell today. It was a very nice ballgame.Pagan is making an impression in the clubhouse, too. His upbeat personality wasreadily apparent to teammates from his first day he spent with them at FanFestat AT&T Park last month. It was a trip he didnt have to make, especiallyconsidering the long flight from his home in Puerto Rico.Wow, he said at FanFest, his face aglow as he was ushered from the stage toan autograph station. They dont have anything like this with the Mets.Pagan showed more personality when asked about the swarm of bees that delayedthe game for 41 minutes in the second inning."Never seen anything like it," he said. "I didnt know what todo. If I got stung by one, Id get stung by a million. I stood in the dugout bythe bathroom, ready to lock myself in."Asked about his upbeat, outgoing nature this spring, Pagan made reference to acouple of pretty good sparkplugs.What you see is what you get, he said Sunday. I like to be a good guy aroundmy teammates so they can be comfortable. I played with (Jose) Reyes so I try tohave that same infusion of energy in me. Its being energetic, no differentthan Andres Torres. Thats something that every team needs. When you have aspark like that at the top of the lineup, it can change your lineup dramatically.Youll remember that Pagan and Torres were traded for each other in December.The Mets wanted to cut costs, and Ramon Ramirez filled their need for adependable right-handed reliever.The Giants believe they got a more dependable everyday offensive player inPagan, without sacrificing too much defense in center field. As beloved asTorres was among Giants fans, its no secret he was mentally drowning as thestrikeouts piled up.And Pagan looks like he could be a fan favorite, too.This team is committed to win, he said. Im not saying that the Mets werentcommitted, but these guys have a very good chance to make it to the postseason.Theyre committed to get back. Last year, they got hit by injury bug and thatssomething they cant control.But this year is different. They put some speed in top of lineup with me andMelky. Weve definitely got some power. If we can provide some runs early, thatmight be the game. Seeing it from the outside, every time you put three orfourruns up with this pitching staff, its over.

He hopes to save some runs forthat staff in center field, too.Very wide outfield gaps, he said. Its good for me. Im a gap-to-gap hitterso hopefully I can get a lot of triples over there. Its a lot of room to cover(but) I worked really hard this offseason for that. Im ready.One other note of interest to Giants fans: Pagan is not related to former Giant Jose Pagan, who passed away last June. But they did meet a few times, and when people called to express condolences, Angel kindly accepted.

Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role

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AP

Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role

SAN FRANCISCO -- A familiar face is returning to the Giants organization to serve a key front office role.

The Giants announced Friday that David Bell, their former third baseman, has been hired as Vice President of Player Development. General manager Bobby Evans said Bell will oversee all aspects of player development, including hitting, pitching, strength and conditioning and the operations of the minor league affiliates. 

"He was the perfect fit," Evans said. "His experience is so strong and encompasses so many aspects of the game. He’s got a really strong base of experience and background and understanding of the game, and he has a passion for the game and working with young players. He really showed a desire to pursue this opportunity." 

Bell, 45, played 12 major league seasons and spent 2002 with the Giants. He hit 20 homers that year as the starting third baseman and scored the winning run in the final game of the NLCS. Since retiring, Bell has served as a minor league manager for the Reds and a big league coach for the Cubs and Cardinals. He spent last season as the bench coach in St. Louis. 

Shane Turner had previously served as farm director, but at the end of the minor league season he was asked to take a role as a special assistant in baseball operations. While Evans did not announce any other changes Friday, there are expected to be other moves within the organization's depth chart. At least one member of the coaching staff is still in the running for a managerial opening. 

Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered

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AP

Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered

Firing a manager is easy, and there are lots of ways to do it.

Dusty Baker, for example. He worked this year on the last year of a contract, which usually means there won’t be another one, and he relied on his players to deliver the goods.

Which, as we remember from our reading, they didn’t do. Again.

But Baker was marked for the chop unless those players did deliver, and when they didn’t, general manager Mike Rizzo did the expedient thing.

He fired one person rather than several. And changed exactly nothing.

Baker’s managerial career is probably over now, as most teams don’t look at 68-year-olds to fix their teams. He will never manage a  World Series champion, something he ached for, and he was always be caricatured in part as the guy who didn’t speak metric, and who believed in players as men whenever in doubt.

And the Nats didn’t betray him, either. They were always not as good in the big moments because someone else was, and they became part of Washington’s new fetish – Why Can’t We Win One? It’s as if having a cringeworthy President isn’t good enough for them.

So the time came, and he will be replaced by someone who will either win and get credit for work that was largely his, or he won’t win and the town can continue to wallow in its tedious We’re-The-New-Cubs pity. It is the circle of life.

At least it is for groups of people. For individuals, the circle of life is actually nothing more than a straight line that ends abruptly. For Dusty Baker, as it did for Tony La Russa in Phoenix two days earlier, that day came today. He deserves to be remembered as a very good manager who won a lot more than he lost, made more friends than enemies, and was honest from Day One until the end.

Which, as we also know, doesn’t matter a whole lot on days like this.