Giants

Amy G's Giants Xclusive: Benito Santiago

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Amy G's Giants Xclusive: Benito Santiago

Amy: Thanks a lot for logging on to CSNBayArea.com for an Amy G. Giants Xclusive. I have - yes, it is him - Benito Santiago. He looks exactly the same! Maybe it's maybe a little more salt and pepper in the hair, but that's it. Time has been kind to you Benito.

Benito: Thank you. Thank you.

A: Tell us a little bit about what you're doing currently since retiring from the game.

B: Well I'm enjoying life, you know, and after that I do financial stuff now for the players so when they retire, you know, we wanna make sure they have some money and they continue the good life, and that's what I'm doing right now.

A: Continuing the good life. I love that. That's a good goal. Alright, talk a little bit Benito about your time with the Giants. Of course everyone knows you from that 2002 year. You went to the World Series, you were the NLCS MVP. You had such an important role. What does that year mean to you and your career?

B: You know what, I have played 18 years and never was anything like that when I was over here, especially in that year 2002. I worked from 2002-2003 but every year here was special, you know? I love it. I love these people here in San Francisco, greeting me like...No one has contrition. And you know, being a part of it in 2002, I was - I was proud of that because we reached the goal, you know? Our goal was to win the World Series but it didn't happen, but it was a lot of fun that year and that was my only year going to the World Series. So it's not easy to get there. You know, in 18 years it was my first one. I wanted a ring so bad but you know, everything was good and even though we lost San Francisco people were happy for us and it was all good in 2002.

A: You brought so much joy to the city of San Francisco and people are going to get to see this team again on Sunday. That's actually why you've been around. A big reunion of that 2002 team. Dusty Baker of course is in town. Who are you - I'm sure you're excited to see all of them, but are there some that stick out that you're really excited to see? Some of your former teammates?

B: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, it's gonna be nice. It's going to be fun, you know, especially when you go to the World Series with this group. I can't wait. I can't wait for Saturday to come and I can spend time with them and then come over here on Sunday and be a part of the show.

A: Yeah. What I've heard so far: Kirk Reuter; Rich Aurilia; of course Dusty's here; J.T. Snow.

B: I think most of the guys are gonna be here. The ones that they're not going to be, you know that, because they're in baseball business, a couple of guys are coaching in Minor Leagues and some others, they gotta do some things, personal stuff. But I'm talking about maybe three to four guys, you know, but the rest of the group is gonna be in.

A: Ok, and another good friend of yours is current San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who in his final year of playing was your rookie year, which you were the Rookie of the Year in 1987. He had a lot of nice things to say about you.

B: Well, you know, I love- I love Bruce. And Bruce is, no- He's not a friend. Bruce is a part of my family and what a guy. What a guy to be around. I was lucky. I was lucky to be around guys like that, and they motivate me, they teach me the right way to play the game and there's not anything bad to say about Bruce. Bruce is, is my brother. He's my brother.

A: Aww. Even though you were the starting catcher that year do you feel like he was a mentor to you?

B: Yes, yes, yes. I say I'm lucky, you know, because I was one of the youngest guys on the team and I played with guys I used to see on TV when I was a kid, you know, and they were there at that point, and they controlled me, kept me as Benito, you know, and they gave me the best advice I could get from anyone, and it was so good overall.

A: Ok last one: How much are you enjoying watching the Giants this year, and who stands out in your eyes?

B: You know what, they have a good club. They have a good club and especially coming from the managers, you know, the managers have to do a lot with that and that's Bruce, but you know I see some exciting new guys over here that they promise to be an All-Star or they already are. But you know, they're doing good. They're doing good, and you know, I see they got- I love the catcher.

A: I know. Me too!

B: That's one of my- That's my favorite position.

A: Great catchers. Posey and Sanchez.

B: It's so good. It's so good. Well, you can tell when he was hurt last year how everything went, you know, and it's an important guy to be here, you know.

A: Pivotal piece.

B: Yes, yes, and I like him. He's a good kid. I go and talk to him, you know, he listens to me very well and he wants to learn. He gets answers to some questions. He wants to get better, you know, like that, and I love it. I love him. I like guys that throw guys out, and he's one.

A: One of the good ones. Yeah, we like that too. Fans really like it when the catcher throws the guy out. When the catcher's on the San Francisco Giants, of course.

B: Yeah, yeah.

A: Benito Santiago, an Amy G. Giants Xclusive. You'll see more of him on Sunday for the broadcast of the 2002 reunion. Thank you for your time and thank you for logging on to CSNBayArea.com.

Three teams chasing Giants in tight race for first overall pick

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USATI

Three teams chasing Giants in tight race for first overall pick

LOS ANGELES — The Giants have a pretty strong track record when picking in the top five of the MLB Draft. In 1985, they took Will Clark with the second overall selection, and Clark remains the highest-drafted player in franchise history. A year later, Matt Williams was taken third overall. Jason Grilli at No. 4 in 1997 is rather forgettable, but taking Buster Posey with the fifth pick in 2008 led to three titles. 

With a week of baseball remaining, the Giants are a lock to pick in the top four of next year’s draft. A few days ago, they looked like a pretty strong bet to pick first overall, but the standings — the bottom of them, at least — have tightened in recent days. Here’s a look at the contenders, so to speak … 

White Sox (63-92): No team went into tank mode this year quite like Chicago, with trades of just about every big piece on the roster. But a funny thing has happened … they’ve actually played decent baseball down the stretch. The White Sox are 11-12 in September after a blowout of the Royals on Sunday. They finish up with four against the Angels and three against the Indians, so they should get pretty close to 100 losses. 

Phillies (62-94): They have looked all along like the team to beat, but they hurt their top-pick chances by taking three of four from the Dodgers last week. They host the Nationals and Mets this week. 

Tigers (62-94): All of a sudden, they’re the biggest road block for the Giants. The Tigers have lost seven straight and they’re 4-20 in September. They finish up with three against the Royals and three against the Twins, and all six games are on the road. 

Giants (61-95): Can we stop for a moment and appreciate this. We’ve been talking about it for five months, but still, it’s pretty amazing that a $200 million team is headed into the final week with a very good shot at having the worst record in Major League Baseball. What an awful season this has been. Having said that, the Giants have not shown any signs of actually tanking, and manager Bruce Bochy said this weekend that he won’t shut any players down. So, it’s on to Phoenix, where the Giants have lost six of seven this season but the Diamondbacks might chill out a bit after clinching a postseason spot. They’ll face Zack Godley, Robbie Ray and Zack Greinke. The season ends with three at home against the Padres. The Giants have struggled against the Padres for the last year and a half, but they’ll have Matt Cain going in an emotional start and Madison Bumgarner will also get a game. 

Given another look at fastball, Williamson gets revenge against Kershaw

Given another look at fastball, Williamson gets revenge against Kershaw

LOS ANGELES — Mac Williamson was sent up to pinch-hit when the Giants faced Clayton Kershaw earlier this month, and on a two-strike count, he watched as Kershaw shook off five different signs as he stood on the mound. Kershaw then froze Williamson with a fastball. It was a good lesson for Williamson, a player still trying to find his footing at the big league level.

“He’s a guy you can’t really guess with,” Williamson said. 

The outfielder admits he tends to overthink things. “I’m a perfectionist,” he said Sunday. But given a start against Kershaw, Williamson let his talent — and a little luck — take over. Williamson’s first hit off Kershaw was a bleeder that resulted in an infield hit. His second bounced through the middle of the infield for a single. The third one was the highlight of the day for the Giants. 

Kershaw had a shutout going when he tried to sneak a first-pitch fastball past Williamson in the eighth. He blasted it to dead center. It was the only run for the Giants in a 3-1 loss to the Dodgers. 

“It’s good to see him get those swings off,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “That homer was to the big part of the park. It shows how strong he is.”

The Giants have always known Williamson has the strength and raw talent. He hasn’t stuck for a number of reasons, including injuries and that aforementioned tendency sometimes to overthink at the plate. It probably hasn’t helped, either, that the Giants tend to sit him for days at a time and then play him against the Kershaws and Zack Greinkes and Rich Hills of the world. 

Williamson took advantage of the tough assignment on Sunday, joining a small group of Giants who have three hits in a game off Kershaw. 

“Hunter was ahead of me,” he said, smiling. “He beat me to it.”

Pence also had three hits, giving the Giants six from the corners against the best pitcher in the game. It wasn’t enough, but for Williamson, it was something to build off as the offseason approaches. He said it’s a winter he doesn’t plan to take lightly. Williamson’s agents are working to line up a Winter Ball job in the Dominican Republic.