Pence 'absolutely' would sign long-term with Giants


Pence 'absolutely' would sign long-term with Giants

SAN FRANCISCO Hunter Pence loves coffee, especially when it comes inbig mugs. He shared those thoughts while greeting Giants fans in a videoposted to his Twitter account Wednesday morning.

Pence's playing style is caffeinated enough, as his new fans areabout to learn. The two-time All-Star is all effort and rapid movement on the field, even if itdoesnt always look smooth and under control.

Ive got to be honest, he said, in the hours prior to hisGiants debut Wednesday night. Every now and then, I do things you dont see veryoften.

REWIND: Pence has 'refreshing' arrival to AT&T Park

Like crash into his third-base coach. Or shatter asliding-glass door by smacking into it like a blind pigeon. Or take swings inthe on-deck circle that feel perfectly normal, and look anything but.

The truth is, and I hate to admit it Pence said, but thefirst time I watched it, it was disturbing.

The Giants will take all of Pences idiosyncrasies afteracquiring him from the Philadelphia Phillies for Nate Schierholtz, Double-Acatcher Tommy Joseph and Single-A right-hander Seth Rosin.

They love Pences ability to drive in runs, impact thebaseball and make things happen on the field. Pence is hitting fifth andstarting in right field Wednesday night; when Pablo Sandoval returns from hisstrained hamstring, the Giants will be able to run out a 3-through-6 of MelkyCabrera, Buster Posey, Pence and Sandoval.

That might be their best middle-of-the-order since the Bondsera.

And unlike last Julys acquisition of Carlos Beltran, Penceisnt a pure rental. Hes eligible for arbitration one more time after thisyear and cant become a free agent until after the 2013 season.

For that reason, Giants manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged theenthusiasm has a different pitch with Pence than it did with Beltran.

Oh, I think so, said Bochy, who loved the fact that Pencehit the weight room after stepping off a six-hour flight Tuesday night. Theplayers, the staff, across the board, they know that. Hes on board for nextyear, too. It should give you a good feeling knowing hell be here next yearand theres no possibility hell move on. The guys know that, too. Hes a Giantand hell be here awhile.

How long?

Well, thats a cart-before-the-horse issue for now. But whenPence was asked if hed be open to signing a long-term extension, his answer stoppedjust short of, Where do I sign?

Absolutely. That would be wonderful, the 29-year-old Texasnative said. Itd be wonderful to have a home and settle in.

Has he seen real estate prices in the Bay Area? Well maybenot. But Pence said hes never been offered a solid commitment from a club. Sohe would be all ears if the Giants pay him that respect, as GM Brian Sabean hasintimated he plans to do.

Ive never been offered anything, Pence said. Id loveto.

It was pointed out that the Phillies were signing plenty ofplayers long-term.

Not everybody, Pence said. Look how long it took Cole(Hamels) to get it. They have a lot of people theyre paying over there. But that should probably be the last thing I should be talking about. So sorry.

Pence had plenty of other more urgent matters on Thursday,like learning the signs and going out early with outfield coach Roberto Kellyto learn the intricacies of right field at AT&T Park.

He was just showing me it could bounce anywhere, and it canbounce hard or it can bounce soft, Pence said. And when its hit hard in theright field corner, you can throw em out at second.

Pence doesnt throw from a textbook. His stork-like bodydoesnt do anything the way its taught. His back knee almost touches the dirtwhen he hits. Coaches tried to change him at every stop (including atUT-Arlington, where he played in the shadow of former Giant Daniel Ortmeier),but he had the confidence to know that his way worked.

I try to do the best with what Ive got, Pence said.There are some distinct things, but everyone wants to get in a good position.You want to be short to the ball and long through it.

He acknowledged his swing hasnt been in sync most of thisseason, especially with runners in scoring position. Hes hitting just .238 inthose situations, and he knows the Giants are counting on him to deliver especially with two outs, since his new clubs .197 average in those clutchmoments is the second worst in the majors.

First of all, its more than likely going to get better,Pence said. My swing hasnt necessarily been in the greatest rhythm. But thedowns bring you to the ups. Well find out in the next two months, but Imworking on it.

Asked what he wants to improve, Pence delivered acrowd-pleaser of an answer.

Id like to have more home runs, more RBIs, more runsscored and more average, he said, not smiling for a change. The only thingbetter than hits is more hits.

Some things wont change. Pence is keeping the high-sockslook hes sported his whole career, whether Im good looking or not goodlooking.

Hes eager to get the home-field treatment at McCovey Cove,for a change starting tonight.

Whenever anyone asked my favorite road city Id say thisone, said Pence, recalling one clever but relentless fan from his time playinghere with the Astros.

One lady called me bird legs all game, Pence said. Itwas Hey bird legs! You know you cant hit the ball out of the infield.

It went on all game. Hey bird legs! Dont pull up yourpants like that to hide your shortcomings.

You couldnt help but laugh.

Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster


Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster

LOS ANGELES — Shortstop Corey Seager has been left off the Los Angeles Dodgers' roster for the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs.

The Dodgers announced Seager's surprise omission due to a back injury on Saturday, several hours before Game 1 at Dodger Stadium.

Los Angeles also dropped reliever Pedro Baez from its roster. Infielder Charlie Culberson and outfielder Joc Pederson were added.

Chicago made only one change from the last playoff round, adding reliever Hector Rondon and removing reliever Justin Wilson.

Seager complained of back soreness during the Dodgers' NL Division Series clincher in Arizona on Monday, and 2016 NL Rookie of the Year didn't participate in team workouts this week. Still, manager Dave Roberts said Friday that he was very optimistic that Seager would play in the NLCS.

Seager was an All-Star selection this season while batting .295 with 22 homers and 77 RBIs as a key part of the top of the Dodgers' lineup.

Kike Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Culberson all worked out at shortstop Friday for the Dodgers. The versatile Taylor was the Dodgers' center fielder during the NLDS, but he made 96 appearances in the outfield this season and 44 in the infield, including 14 games at shortstop.

Pederson is batting .071 with no homers since July, but the Dodgers could need him in center field if Taylor plays shortstop.

Culberson famously homered to clinch the Dodgers' NL West title in announcer Vin Scully's final home game last season, but the infielder spent most of this season at Triple-A, appearing in only 14 games for the Dodgers.

Rondon was the Cubs' closer in 2014 and 2015, but moved to a setup role last season after Aroldis Chapman's arrival. He appeared in 61 regular-season games this year, going 4-1 with a 4.24 ERA in an up-and-down campaign.

Chicago acquired Wilson in a trade with Detroit on July 31, adding a veteran left-handed reliever who had 13 saves for the Tigers this season. The Southern California native wasn't great in his two months with the Cubs, posting a 5.09 ERA with 19 walks in 23 appearances.

Manager Joe Maddon chose Wilson for the NLDS over Rondon, only to switch it up against the Dodgers.

Bochy, Giants issue statement following manager's heart procedure


Bochy, Giants issue statement following manager's heart procedure

Bruce Bochy's minor offseason heart procedure went as planned, the team announced Friday afternoon. 

In a message passed along to beat reporters, Bochy said "the procedure went extremely well and I'm feeling better. I'm grateful for the doctors and want to thank everyone who has reached out with well wishes."

Bochy, 62, had an ablation procedure to help him deal with heart issues that have plagued him in recent years. The operation was his second of the year, but it was considered minor enough that it could be pushed back to the end of the season.

Cleveland's Terry Francona had a similar procedure this year and returned to manage, and Bochy has left no doubt about his future. 

“I don’t want anyone to think this has an effect on my work, or ability to work,” Bochy said last week. “This is something that is not uncommon.”