Ex-Giants prevalent throughout spring training as non-roster invitees 


Ex-Giants prevalent throughout spring training as non-roster invitees 

The Giants will face Madison Bumgarner and Stephen Vogt this season, and if fans tune into an AL East game, they might see Joe Panik of the Toronto Blue Jays hit a ball that's caught by Kevin Pillar of the Boston Red Sox. 

The days of limited roster turnover are over, meaning more former Giants than ever are showing up in other camps. But it's not just the big names who are getting going right now. Plenty of old friends are still around as non-roster invitees and I went through the spring training media guide to check out the non-roster lists for every team. Here's a rundown of some players with Giants ties that you might have lost track of, and some you might have assumed retired years ago: 

Arizona Diamondbacks: Keury Mella. The right-hander was a pretty decent prospect when the Giants included him with Adam Duvall in the Mike Leake trade, but never panned out.

Chicago White Sox: Adalberto Mejia 

Atlanta Braves: Charlie Culberson, Yangervis Solarte

Baltimore Orioles: Ty Blach. Hey, he once started Opening Day for the Giants! 

Boston Red Sox: Tommy Joseph, John Andreoli. Joseph was the powerful prospect who brought Hunter Pence to San Francisco eight years ago. 

Cleveland Indians: Cameron Rupp. He was in Giants camp last spring competing for the job that ultimately went to Erik Kratz, who will be mentioned a bit later. 

Colorado Rockies: Mike Gerber, Julian Fernandez. A Rule 5 pick in 2017, Fernandez had Tommy John surgery before ever pitching for the Giants and then rehabbed with the Marlins last year before getting returned to his original team. He was originally hesitant about having surgery but some veterans pointed out that it was the best thing for his career, and he made more than $1 million while rehabbing. It worked out well for him. 

Houston Astros: Drew Ferguson. The outfielder was in Giants camp last year as a Rule 5 pick.

Los Angeles Angels: Neil Ramirez 

Los Angeles Dodgers: Connor Joe, Anthony Garcia. The 2019 Opening Day left fielder spent the rest of last season back in the minors with the Dodgers. 

Miami Marlins: Pat Venditte

New York Mets: Rene Rivera, Eduardo Nuñez, Johneshwy Fargas, Jarrett Parker. All of these guys are in Mets camp and receiving less attention than fellow non-roster invitee Tim Tebow. 

New York Yankees: Dan Otero, Erik Kratz

Oakland A's: Ian Gardeck. A hard-throwing right-hander, Gardeck was opening eyes in Giants camp in 2016 before his UCL gave out. He had Tommy John surgery and then needed a second one as he was on the verge of coming back. Root for this guy to stay healthy, he has been through a lot. 

Philadelphia Phillies: Francisco Liriano

Pittsburgh Pirates: Derek Holland, Williams Jerez, Nik Turley, Andrew Susac. If you see Pirates-Mets on the spring TV schedule, tune in for old friends. Also, how 'bout Susac still being in a camp? He's somehow only 29 years old. 

San Diego Padres: Kyle Barraclough, Chase Johnson

[RELATED: These four Giants made Keith Law's top 100 prospects list]

Texas Rangers: Jason Bahr, Derek Law, Tim Federowicz, Matt Duffy. Nobody in SF has forgotten Duffy, who is trying to stay healthy and win a backup job. Bahr was the prospect attached to Cory Gearrin and Austin Jackson so the Giants could dip under the tax. 

Tampa Bay Rays: D.J. Snelten. A trading partner with the Giants for so many years, the Rays have just one old friend. Snelten got his fastball up to the high 90s this offseason and got a job in part by promoting himself on social media. 

Toronto Blue Jays: Ryan Dull, Joe Panik, Ruben Tejada. One of these guys played a week for the Giants, one played a month and one will never have to buy a drink in San Francisco. 

Washington Nationals: Fernando Abad, David Hernandez, Mac Williamson. After a stint in South Korea, Williamson is back.

Former Giant Randy Winn describes feeling of month-long hot streak

Former Giant Randy Winn describes feeling of month-long hot streak

A starting pitcher can take control of a game and singlehandedly lead his team to a win, but in general, it's hard for baseball players to will their team to victory day after day.

Starters pitch once every five days and position players know that even on a five-hit night, you're dependent on your own pitchers standing tall, and every time you reach base, you have to wait a couple innings for another chance to impact the game.

But every once in a while, a hitter gets so hot that it seems he's carrying his team for weeks at a time. The Giants last truly experienced this in 2018, when Brandon Crawford briefly thrust himself into the MVP race and earned an All-Star selection with an absurd stretch in May and June.

Buster Posey won the MVP award with his second half of 2012, and Melky Cabrera dragged the Giants to plenty of wins earlier that year before failing a PED test. In the first half of this century, Barry Bonds could carry the lineup for weeks, even seasons, at a time. 

Randy Winn experienced that after being traded to the Giants from the Mariners in 2005, and that year he had his own hot streak that to this day is one of the most impressive in franchise history. Over the final 30 games of that season, Winn had 54 hits in 123 at-bats, good for a .439 batting average. He hit 11 homers, 13 doubles and three triples, with a slugging percentage of .862 and OPS of 1.331. 

On this week's Giants Insider Podcast, Winn recalled what it felt like to get that hot for such a long period of time. 

"Nothing felt different -- everything just felt really, really easy and really slow," Winn said. "Whenever I felt like I wanted to take a pitch, the pitcher would throw a ball. If in my mind I was thinking, you know what, he might throw me a changeup, and he would throw me a changeup and it was very hittable. When anybody describes 'the zone' or being on fire, what they say is always the same: Everything was really slow, I was really relaxed, and my mind was really clear.

"When I think back on that time or other times when I was hitting really well, those are always the things that I remember. I didn't feel different, I wasn't really doing anything different. It just feels like you're in control of everything."

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Winn was having a solid season to that point, with a .273 average and .742 OPS. He opened September with eight hits in a three-game sweep of the Diamondbacks and never looked back, finishing the year with a .306 average. Winn had 17 multi-hit games in September, including three four-hit games. His 51 hits that month set a San Francisco Giants record that Cabrera tied in May of 2012. 

"It was a great situation for me," Winn said of the midseason trade that brought him to San Francisco. "Coming home, still live in the Bay Area, grew up in the Bay Area, my wife is from the Bay Area, our parents at that time lived in the Bay Area, so for us it was a homecoming and it was just great to be back home."

[RELATED: Why "Champ" Timmy is the best version of former Giants ace]

On the podcast, Winn also talks about how he would handle this layoff, what it was like playing college basketball with Steve Nash, what made Bonds and Albert Pujols so great, and much more. 

Giants fans vote 'Champ' Tim Lincecum as best version of former ace


Giants fans vote 'Champ' Tim Lincecum as best version of former ace

You the fans have spoken.

We asked you to designate your favorite version of former Giants ace Tim Lincecum, and the social media response was overwhelming.

Lincecum was a part of all three World Series-winning teams in 2010, 2012, and 2014 in San Francisco.

During his first postseason run in 2010, Lincecum put together an impressive stretch of performances, solidifying himself as a franchise icon.

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He kicked off the 2010 MLB Playoffs by throwing a 119-pitch shutout with 14 strikeouts against the Atlanta Braves in Game 1, propping up an offense that only mustered one run of support to give the Giants a leg up in the five-game division series.

He followed that effort up by striking out eight Phillies in a Game 1 road win in Philadelphia, when Cody Ross’ two home runs led the Giants to a 4-3 win.

[RELATED: Forbes values Giants as worth $3.1B, fifth-highest in MLB]

Lincecum wrapped up the postseason by earning two World Series wins, including the series clincher in Game 5, striking out 10 Texas Rangers over eight innings as the Giants won their first Fall Classic since the franchise relocated to the west coast in 1958.

Although Lincecum earned plenty of nicknames during his legendary career in San Francisco, “Champ” definitely has a nice ring to it.