SAN FRANCISCO -- You can start the official clock. It's at 71 days and counting.Giants pitchers and catchers will report to Scottsdale, Ariz., on Feb. 12 and the club will open the 2013 exhibition schedule Feb. 23 with a home game against a Los Angeles Angels split squad -- the earliest they've ever started up Cactus League play.The Giants are reporting earlier than usual because of the World Baseball Classic; third baseman Pablo Sandoval confirmed that he will participate for Venezuela, and he's about to start playing for Magallanes in the Venezuelan winter league.The Giants will play 34 Cactus League exhibitions, including 17 at Scottsdale Stadium, where they've trained since 1982.The Giants break camp March 27 and play three games against the Oakland A's in the Bay Area: March 28-29 in San Francisco and March 30 in Oakland. They'll begin defense of their World Series title on Tuesday, April 2 at Dodger Stadium and raise the banner on Friday, April 5 for the home opener against the St. Louis Cardinals.Strangely, the Cardinals also were their opponent in 2011, when they raised the banner and received their rings following their 2010 World Series victory.Season ticket packages for home games at Scottsdale Stadium will be available December 17 via Giants Ticket Office at (415) 972-2209 or by visiting sfgiants.com. Group tickets and Suites will also be available through the Giants Ticket Office beginning December 17 at 10 a.m. Here's the full spring schedule:
DATEOPPONENTLOCAL TIMEFeb. 23vs Angels1:05 PMFeb. 24at Cubs
Feb. 25vs White Sox1:05 PMFeb. 26at Dodgers
Feb. 27at Angels
Feb. 28vs Mariners1:05 PMMar. 1at A's
Mar. 2vs Cubs1:05 PMMar. 3vs D'Backs1:05 PMMar. 4at White Sox
Mar. 5vs Indians1:05 PMMar. 6OFF
Mar. 7at Indians
Mar. 8vs Dodgers1:05 PMMar. 9vs Royals1:05 PMMar. 10at Brewers
Mar. 11at Rangers
Mar. 12vs Padres7:05 PMMar. 13at Reds
Mar. 14vs WBC1:05 PMMar. 15vs Rangers1:05 PMMar. 16vs Reds (SS)1:05 PMMar. 16at Indians (SS)
Mar. 17vs Rockies3:15 PMMar. 18OFF
Mar. 19at Mariners
Mar. 20vs Brewers (SS)1:05 PMMar. 20at Padres (SS)
Mar. 21vs Rockies7:05 PMMar. 22at Rockies
Mar. 23vs A's1:05 PMMar. 24at Angels
Mar. 25at Cubs
Mar. 26vs Padres1:05 PMMar. 27at D'Backs
IN BAY AREA
Mar. 28vs A's7:15 PMMar. 29vs A's7:15 PMMar. 30at A's1:05 PMMar. 31OFF
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Faced with a crowded depth chart and a need for a roster spot, the Giants shipped right-hander Chris Heston to Seattle on Wednesday night, a source confirmed to CSNBayArea.com.
Heston, who made 31 starts and threw a no-hitter for the Giants in 2015, would have been designated for assignment had a deal not gotten done. The Giants will receive a player to be named later, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. The move clears a 40-man roster spot for closer Mark Melancon, who signed Monday.
Heston, 28, filled in after injuries to veterans in 2015 and posted a 3.95 ERA and 12 wins, one of which was a no-hitter in New York. He was a first-half savior for an unhealthy staff, going 9-5 with a 3.39 ERA in 18 starts before the All-Star break. The long season caught up to Heston down the stretch, and the Giants filled their rotation that December with free agents Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija.
Heston made just four appearances in 2016 after being moved to the bullpen. It was a transition that didn't quite take, and he ended up back in the minors, making 14 starts for the River Cats as he worked to regain some of the velocity that was lost when he dropped 15 pounds during offseason workouts. An oblique injury led to Heston being put on the 60-day DL in June and ultimately ended his season.
This represents a needed fresh start for Heston, who was hopelessly blocked in the Giants’ system. The Giants acquired Matt Moore at the deadline and Ty Blach and Matt Cain will compete for the final rotation spot. Veteran Albert Suarez and top pitching prospect Tyler Beede are among the starters who had jumped ahead of Heston. In Seattle, he joins a team in need of starting depth, and he should get a shot to return to a big league rotation.
Over the last three seasons, nobody has registered more saves than new Giants closer Mark Melancon.
The three-time All-Star is 131 for 141 in save opportunities over that span.
Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper spoke with Nationals broadcaster F.P. Santangelo about what Melancon brings to the table.
"Mike (Krukow) and I both talked to F.P. and he basically said, 'He's boring. The ninth inning is boring.' And we were like, 'Really? Wow. We haven't seen that in awhile.' So a boring ninth inning would be good for everybody," Kuiper said on KNBR 680 on Wednesday. "Our fans, it would certainly be good for our manager and pitching coach because those two guys had to wear it."
[RELATED: Dusty Baker: 'I hate losing Melancon,' Giants have more resources than Nats]
The Giants blew 30 saves in 2016 -- the most in baseball -- and Giants GM Bobby Evans made it very clear from the moment the season ended that adding a closer was the team's top priority.
San Francisco is confident assimilating Melancon won't be an issue.
He looks like one of those guys who will fit into the clubhouse immediately," Kuiper said.