Giants

Players react to Cain retirement announcement: 'He’s just a complete Giant'

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USATSI

Players react to Cain retirement announcement: 'He’s just a complete Giant'

Programming note: Watch the encore presentation of Matt Cain's perfect game from 2012 -- This Saturday, Sept. 30 immediately following Warriors basketball  at 8 p.m. and Sunday morning Oct. 1, at 8 a.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area. 

PHOENIX — Madison Bumgarner didn’t hesitate when asked if he remembers the first time he met Matt Cain. Bumgarner said it was his first spring with the Giants, and he was going down the clubhouse stairs. Cain was coming up them, and he introduced himself. A friendship built from there. 

That’s been the case for so many Giants. Cain, drafted in 2002 and in the big leagues since 2005, has been a welcoming presence for rookies, journeymen, big free agent signings and even members of the coaching staff. He is revered, and that made Wednesday a special day for the Giants despite the final result. 

Sam Dyson blew a two-run lead in the ninth and the Giants lost their final road game 4-3, but about an hour before the first pitch, they had a special moment in the clubhouse. Cain stood up in front of his peers and announced his retirement in a ceremony that he said got emotional at times. 

Cain will make his final appearance in the big leagues when he starts Saturday against the Padres. Buster Posey, who has played first base most of the last month, will be behind the plate. He said he wouldn’t have it any other way. He wants to be there when Cain finishes a 13-year-run in orange and black. 

“That’s something he’s proud of and he should be proud of,” Posey said. “You don’t see that happen very often. For him to be up as young as he was and to stay here for 13 years is a great accomplishment.”

The Saturday assignment was one of the factors that played into Bruce Bochy ending Bumgarner’s season a week early. Bumgarner, for his part, called Cain one of his best friends, and said he’s looking forward to Matt Cain Day. 

“He’s a special person and one of the better Giants to ever put on this uniform,” Bumgarner said. “He gave us the best he had every time … he’s had an unbelievable career, and I’m just happy to have been a part of it.”

The Giants have not announced or hinted at any post-career discussions with Cain, but they hope to do what they always do. Bochy said he would like Cain around, and the right-hander — who has taken several young pitchers under his wing this season — will forever be a welcome guest in the clubhouse or at spring training. Bochy said he was struck by Cain’s success, but also the way he has handled his final years, when injuries and age have limited his effectiveness. 

“I can’t thank him enough for all he has done — he’s been great this year,” Bochy said. “He was moved around (in the rotation) and pitched in the bullpen and he never came into this office one time to complain. That’s something I’ll never forget. He’s just a complete Giant with the way he carried himself and how he played.”

Giants Notes: What went on during the Ohtani meeting?

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AP

Giants Notes: What went on during the Ohtani meeting?

ORLANDO — Even three seasons removed from their last title, the Giants have found that there are still surprising benefits to being in the World Series during those even years. When they met with Shohei Ohtani in Los Angeles earlier this month, Ohtani remarked that he was already familiar with the organization and key personnel because he had seen so much of Bruce Bochy and Buster Posey on TV. 

That familiarity didn’t bring Ohtani to San Francisco, of course. He chose the Angels, but the Giants were one of seven teams to be granted a meeting with the potential two-way star. They were taken up a private elevator to a large conference room, where they shook hands with Ohtani and his representatives and started their pitch. What exactly was that process like?

“We sat across the table from him and presented really who we are as an organization, and it was an opportunity for Boch to describe the role he would play with the Giants,” general manager Bobby Evans said this week. “Buster was able to answer a question or two about how (he) prepares our pitchers for games, but Buster asked his share of questions as well. With a translator, we all were able to interact in terms of a perspective on what it would be like to be a Giant in the clubhouse and on the field and get a snapshot of the city of San Francisco in some way.

“I thought (Ohtani) was incredibly impressive, very intuitive and alert, and very concerned about how the fit looked and would work. My understanding is that we were very close to that finish line, but I’m sure at some level not having a DH hurt.”

That became apparent to the Giants during the meeting. Ohtani told them at some point that he was not all that familiar with outfield play and he seemed to be gravitating toward a designated hitter role, so some in the traveling party left the meeting knowing that he would choose from the Angels, Mariners and Rangers. 

As for the other December meetings, the Giants left Orlando without a major addition, but there are indications that next week may be a busy one. For now, here are some leftover whispers and notes from five days at the Swan and Dolphin Resort … 

--- The front office has waffled a bit on the earlier desire to go defense-first in the outfield. Team officials said they might have to compromise defensively to add a power bat. Jay Bruce seems to be at the top of the list right now, although he is seeking a substantial deal and the Giants are watching their budget. They also have checked on Chicago's Avisail Garcia. 

--- Winter ball was a disaster for Giants prospects. Jarrett Parker (eye infection) and Christian Arroyo (wrist) came home early and Ryder Jones was sent home early after he got off to a very slow start. Austin Slater never even went to play in the Dominican Republic because he was still rehabbing. Chris Shaw’s Fall League experience was cut short by shoulder tightness. 

“Those are lost at-bats you never get back,” Evans said of the injuries. 

--- It sure sounds like the Giants would like to hold off quite a bit longer on promoting Shaw, allowing him to spend much of the year in Triple-A before becoming a big part of 2019 and beyond. Shaw can force the issue, though. “We look at his bat as being so close to being ready to take major league at-bats,” Evans said. “He’s still relatively new professionally to playing the outfield. We’d like to get him more and more reps.” It doesn’t sound like Shaw will return to first base anytime soon. 

--- Slater will get a look at all three outfield spots in spring training and the Giants believe he can handle all three. For now, they view him as a candidate to be the fourth or fifth outfielder on opening day. 

--- The Giants hope to bring Nick Hundley back soon, and that seems like a lock. As for another familiar backup catcher name, Trevor Brown will be back in Triple-A after getting outrighted off the 40-man roster in September. Brown dealt with a groin injury throughout the 2017 season but he’s fully healthy and will be in big league camp. 

--- Phil Nevin is the new third base coach for the Yankees and apparently will run spring training, so he's certainly going to be a hot managing candidate next offseason if the Yankees are as good as expected. Turns out Nevin was the one on hold as Hensley Meulens waited for the Yankees to make a decision. If Meulens had beaten out Aaron Boone, Nevin would have returned to San Francisco to take the open spot on staff.

--- Meulens will do most of the daily planning for Giants camp. Ron Wotus always handled that job when he was bench coach. Giants people were thrilled to have Meulens back, but they do believe he's such a high-profile candidate now that they may lose him in a year.

--- The early reports on pitching coach Curt Young are glowing. Young lives in the Phoenix area and he's already working with Giants pitchers who throw down there. Matt Moore, trying to move past a horrible season, is one of the players who went down early.

--- The Giants have heard that Pablo Sandoval's offseason conditioning is going just fine, but they'll check in again soon. This is the time of year when members of the training staff visit players in their home towns. Bochy said that if the season started today, Sandoval would be the third baseman -- but that's pretty much by default. The Giants want him in a bench role, with Evans saying Sandoval could have a Joaquin Arias-type role. 

--- You can replay that whole Evans Facebook Live here. He was pretty forthcoming on several topics, including the Stanton discussions, saying Joe Panik hasn't been discussed in any deals. There’s also a Facebook Live video with Bochy there.

--- The latest podcast includes conversations with David Bell, who is overhauling the minor league system, and Craig Mish, who was all over the Stanton discussions. You can stream it here or download it on iTunes here. 

--- Finally, a lighter note: Did Madison Bumgarner send angry texts to Bochy after hearing that he would give Ohtani 300-400 at-bats. The answer is here.

Source: Giants checked in on White Sox All-Star outfielder

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USATSI

Source: Giants checked in on White Sox All-Star outfielder

The Giants' search for help in the outfield continues as the Winter Meetings wrap up. 

Already missing out on big names from Miami's outfield, part of the front office's focus has shifted to Chicago's Avisail Garcia. The 26-year-old is one of the outfielders the Giants checked in on at the Winter Meetings, sources said to Insider Alex Pavlovic. 

Garcia enjoyed his breakout year in 2017, playing in his first All-Star Game. In 136 games played, Garcia set career highs in batting average (.330), on-base percentage (.380), slugging percentage (.506), and home runs (18). He finished with the third best batting average in all of baseball last season. 

The White Sox are reportedly receiving interest on Garica from multiple teams. 

Garcia is under contract through the 2020 season.