Alonzo Powell gets World Series ring before opener with Astros

Alex Pavlovic

Alonzo Powell gets World Series ring before opener with Astros

HOUSTON — Alonzo Powell still regularly texts with many of the coaches he worked with and players he instructed in two seasons as the assistant hitting coach for the Astros. But that will change this series.

“I told them that for two days, I’m not talking to them,” he said Tuesday, laughing. 

That wasn’t entirely true. Powell's interaction with club officials before the opener of a quick two-game set was one of the most important moments of his career. In a ceremony shown on the scoreboard, Powell received his 2017 World Series ring from owner Jim Crane and manager A.J. Hinch. Many of the Astros players came out to hug Powell before the ceremony. 

“It’s something you’re going to cherish for a lifetime,” he said. “To have that opportunity to have a World Series ring is something you’ll never forget. Tom Brady said it best, try to get the next one. Hopefully I can do that here.”

Powell is off to a good start as the Giants’ hitting coach. After a dismal offensive season in 2017, the club has shown improvement in several key areas, most notably home runs. The Giants already have 50 of them after hitting 128 all of last season. Their OPS is up 43 points and according to Sports Info Solutions they lead the National League in hard-hit rate. 

“He’s been great with us,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s got a good feel for hitting and a very positive attitude. He’s got a great way about him and he’s fit with the staff very nicely. We’re glad to have him, we’re lucky to have him.”

Powell said he would hand the ring off to a family member for safekeeping since the Giants are just beginning a long trip. He was thrilled the Astros did the exchange in a ceremony.

“It brings back a lot of memories of being here and winning last year,” he said. “Hopefully we can do our part to win a couple games and get out of town.”

Connor Joe reveals first reaction when traded to Giants from Reds

Connor Joe reveals first reaction when traded to Giants from Reds

Ever since he was drafted in the first round of the 2014 MLB Draft, Connor Joe has been working to get to the big leagues.

It appears the San Diego native will finally get that shot. A trade from the Reds to the Giants may have smashed open the door for Joe.

"It was exciting," Joe told KNBR 680 on Saturday when asked what his initial reaction was to the trade. "I was thrilled for the opportunity to get back with a team on the West Coast ... that's closer to home is an amazing opportunity for me."

Joe attended Poway High School in San Diego, and then went to the University of San Diego. The Pittsburgh Pirates used the No. 39 overall draft pick on Joe in 2014 and then traded him to Atlanta in August of 2017 for Sean Rodriguez. A month later, the Braves shipped him to the Dodgers. This past December, the Reds claimed Joe in the Rule 5 draft.

Then the trade to the Giants happened on Thursday.

Joe knows San Francisco well. During his time in the West Coast Conference, Joe made plenty of trips to the Bay Area to face the University of San Francisco, Saint Mary's and Santa Clara. He told KNBR's Marty Lurie that his sister lives in San Francisco, and that he traveled up state with his dad for the 2007 MLB All-Star Game.

"It's a great city, I love it," Joe said. "It's a little different speed than I'm used to in San Diego, but I'm really excited to be there and really excited for this opportunity."

The 2018 season was a breakout campaign for the 26-year-old. After hitting just 11 home runs his first three minor league seasons, Joe crushed 17 home runs last season between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City, and finished the year with a .299/.408/.527 slash line.

What led to the improved play?

"For me, I think the biggest thing was allowing my athletic abilities to come out and not being trapped in a certain way that people wanted me to be," Joe said. "So, I told myself to be athletic in the box, out in the field and saw really positive results from that."

One of the aspects that made Joe attractive to the Giants is his versatility. He has experience at first base, third base, left field and right field. But he doesn't have a preferred position.

"I can't tell you what I am," Joe said. "I'm a baseball player. It's something I've done throughout my career, starting in college, so I'm used to bouncing around from game to game, even inning to inning."

Things can change in a hurry, but considering that the Giants acquired him a week before Opening Day, it's safe to say they envision him on the roster.

[RELATED: Giants reportedly acquire Michael Reed]

Guess where the Giants open the 2019 season? Yep. San Diego.

Imagine if Joe is able to make his major league debut in his hometown in front of his family. What a story that would be.

MLB rumors: Giants trade for Michael Reed from Twins for John Andreoli


MLB rumors: Giants trade for Michael Reed from Twins for John Andreoli

The Giants aren't done making moves.

The team traded outfielder John Andreoli to the Twins for outfielder Michael Reed as NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic reported on Saturday.

Reed played in just seven games last year with the Braves, hitting .286/.286/.286 -- the man, if anything, is consistent. 

But across 53 games in Triple-A, he boasted a .363 batting average with seven home runs and 25 RBI. 

Obviously, his big league numbers are at a very small sample size, but those numbers in the International League seem promising. 

[RELATED: Recent Giants' cuts could make impact on team later]

The Giants released both Cameron Maybin and Matt Joyce over the last 24 hours. The team acquired Michael Yastrzemski on Saturday to help bolster the outfield and provide more bodies for an empty situation -- that appears to be the trend with bringing Reed to the team.