EXTRAS: Giants considered re-signing Renteria

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EXTRAS: Giants considered re-signing Renteria

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. The Giants reached out to veteraninfielder Edgar Renteria in the offseason and expressed interest in re-signingtheir only World Series MVP in history.But they did not make a formal contract offer. Renteriaturned down two other minor league contracts, including one from the MilwaukeeBrewers, and is leaning toward retirement, Fox Sports reported on Wednesday.If this is truly the end for the decorated 35-year-oldshortstop, hell exit with a lasting legacy in San Francisco and with theadmiration of his former teammates.
If there was a heart and soul of that team (in 2010), someone whoseemotions really kind of carried us, it was him, Tim Lincecum told me. You cansee what the game meant to him. The tears would come at the appropriate times.Just what a great career.The most memorable tears came during a team meeting in thebatting cage underneath the Wrigley Field bleachers in late September, when theGiants were fighting to make a late charge in the NL West. Renteria broke downin tears, telling his teammates he didnt care if he had become a role playerwhile battling season-long injuries. He just wanted one more chance to win aWorld Series, and challenged his teammates to make it happen. Aubrey Huff has credited the speech with bringing the teamtogether. And Renteria, who barely made the playoff roster, delivered aspromised. His home run off Cliff Lee in the seventh inning of Game 5 accountedfor all the runs in the 3-1 victory that clinched the title.Renteria signed with the Reds after winning series MVPhonors; he struggled most of the year, but still found a way to rise to a fewbig moments. His single in the 13th inning off Brian Wilson on July29 sent the Reds to a walk-off victory over the Giants. That game began thesteep descent for the defending world champs, as they lost eight of nine tolose their grip atop the NL West. Any chance of bringing back Renteria went out the windowwhen the Giants signed Ryan Theriot to be a right-handed complement toshortstop Brandon Crawford.Theriot figures to be a popular Giant. Theres no questionRenteria wouldve been welcomed back within the clubhouse, too. I havent been here too long, but hes one of my favoriteteammates for sure, catcher Buster Posey said. He always had a quietconfidence about him. He made everyone relax. He made you feel comfortable. Hehad that little winning edge that you want.Its just an air he had about him. He had confidence inwhatever he did, and that rubbed off on the rest of us. He knew the right timesto speak up. He didnt talk all the time, but he wasnt shy. If he felt hecould help someone, hed take them aside. Hes a winner. I guess thats the best way to describe it.Right-hander Sergio Romo called Renteria everything everybodysaid he was -- one of the best teammates I ever had. It didnt matter thesituation or the time. He took pride in what he did. You value guys like that. Romo said Renterias leadership had no bounds.Not just the Latin side or the American side, Romo said.Its the clubhouse in general. Hes there to push you every day. Here I am, apitcher, and Im taking advice from a shortstop. Its understanding the gameand my position and how to believe in myself. You learn as much as you can frompeople like that. They dont come around too often. Renteria doesnt plan to file retirement papers in case hegets a guaranteed opportunity with another club, Fox Sports reported. Injuriesare part of spring training, so perhaps that could happen. But it appears thisis the end for the two-time Gold Glove winner and five-time All-Star.--Bruce Bochy will gather the team for a meeting before thefirst full-squad workout on Friday. But its never too early to start thebonding rituals.So in their quick briefing before Thursdays workout withpitchers and catchers, Bochy asked right-hander Seth Rosin where he went toschool. (It was Minnesota.) Thenhe asked if he had pride in his alma mater. Of course, Rosin said. OK, Bochy said. Sing the fight song.So Rosin had to fumble through the words to MinnesotaRouser. He managed to remember them all, though.--It's stunning news that Ryan Braun's 50-game suspension was overturned by an arbitrator on Thursday. And it's news that will impact the Giants in a big way.RATTO: MLB way off base in Braun case
The Giants play all six of their games against the Milwaukee Brewers on or before May 23. Braun would have been ineligible for all of them. Now the Brewers will enjoy the full services of the reigning NL MVP.

Giants lineup: Belt in left field, Kelby at second base

Giants lineup: Belt in left field, Kelby at second base

Programming note: Dodgers-Giants coverage starts today at 11:30am with Giants Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

Dave Roberts and Bruce Bochy issued their lineups for today's series finale at AT&T Park:

Dodgers (10-12)
1. Enrique Hernandez (R) CF
2. Corey Seager (L) SS
3. Justin Turner (R) 3B
4. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
5. Chris Taylor (R) 2B
6. Austin Barnes (R) C
7. Scott Van Slyke (R) 1B
8. Cody Bellinger (L) LF
9. Julio Urias (L) P

Giants (8-14) 
1. Hunter Pence (R) RF
2. Brandon Belt (L) LF
3. Eduardo Nunez (R) SS
4. Buster Posey (R) 1B
5. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
6. Nick Hundley (R) C
7. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 2B
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
9. Matt Moore (L) P (1-3, 5.87 ERA)

Morse, Arroyo stun Dodgers, lift Giants to thrilling comeback win

Morse, Arroyo stun Dodgers, lift Giants to thrilling comeback win

SAN FRANCISCO — This spring, Hunter Pence briefly tried to cut back on his coffee intake. The experiment did not last long for a player who is pure caffeine on and off the field, but even Pence is occasionally in need of more than a large cold brew. 

Pence tried to stay upbeat throughout a sluggish start to the season, but around him was a clubhouse in need of energy. Christian Arroyo walked through the door on Monday. Two days later, Michael Morse arrived.

“That’s quite an energy jolt,” Pence said of Arroyo. “Morse, it’s been an energy jolt as well.”

The two recent River Cats sent a pair of jolts through a stadium that was sold out for the 499th consecutive time. Arroyo hit a two-run homer in the seventh, his first in the big leagues. Morse went deep in the eighth for his first big league hit in two years and first homer as a Giant since the 2014 NLCS. 

Pence is close friends with Morse and an admirer of Arroyo, the 21-year-old who has taken a locker a few feet away. He made sure neither jolt went to waste, hitting a walk-off sacrifice fly in the 10th to give the Giants a thrilling 4-3 win they hope they can build on.

“That was a shot in the arm,” Morse said.

The big slugger was just that earlier Wednesday. Morse agreed to terms on a minor league deal at Pence’s wedding last winter and he was on track for Opening Day before a hamstring injury. He was so excited by Wednesday’s call back to San Francisco that he beat Bruce Bochy to the park. The manager tried to lower expectations before the game, telling reporters that Morse would not be a regular starter, especially in left, where the Giants have watched a black hole open. 

Morse was here for the late innings, for the moment when Bochy looks at him and says simply, “Get ready, Mo.” For most of Wednesday’s game, it looked like that big moment wouldn’t come. Alex Wood took a no-hitter into the sixth but he was pulled in the seventh by a Dodgers staff trying to protect his arm. Sergio Romo entered and soon faced a kid who was 19 the first time he walked into Romo’s clubhouse. 

“He’s been doing the same thing in the big leagues with good results for a long time,” Arroyo said. 

Arroyo got the slider that’s always coming, low and away, and he drilled it deep to left-center. He hit only three homers last year but Giants management felt the 36 doubles at Richmond showed a developing power bat. The strength has come quickly, and the ball carried into the first row of seats. 

“I looked up and saw the ump waving and I was like, ‘I’ve got to slow down,’” Arroyo said, smiling. “I tried to slow down and take it all in.”

As Arroyo crossed the plate and looked to the sky, his family shared hugs — without spilling a nacho — in a section overlooking the home dugout. The ballpark roared. A 3-0 deficit had been nearly erased. 

“Now it’s a one-run game,” Bochy said. “Anything can happen.”

Even by that standard, Morse’s blast was improbable. This is a player who didn’t have a hit last season before being sent home by the Pittsburgh Pirates. A player who, at 35, was having a poor spring before he announced to a reporter one day that he was going to hit a homer -- and then promptly did. On a rehab assignment over the past week, Morse had a .250 average and no homers, but he insisted to general manager Bobby Evans that his swing was ready. 

Evans believed, and Morse rewarded him with a moment that had everyone in the park throwing it back to 2014. Just as in the deciding game of the NLCS against the Cardinals, Morse was sent up as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. Sidewinding Pat Neshek was replaced by fire-balling Pedro Baez, but the approach was the same. 

“Swing hard,” Morse said. “Just in case you hit it.”

Baez kept pumping fastballs and Morse turned on one at 97 mph. He raised his arm the same way he did three years ago, an inning before Travis Ishikawa’s heroics. 

“I’m not going to lie,” Bochy said. “I was thinking about that game against St. Louis.”

All the Giants were. 

“You kind of just sit there and shake your head a little bit because it was very similar to his last homer here,” Posey said. “Even his excitement out of the box was similar.”

Morse said he didn’t intend to strike the same pose. 

“I was like, ‘I hope I didn’t strike out and I’m just running around the bases,’” he said, laughing. “It was cool, man. Not only for me, but for the team.”

For four innings, the surging bullpen made sure the homers would not be a fun footnote to another loss. Gorkys Hernandez kicked off the winning rally in the 10th with a single. He was pushed along by a stolen base, walk and bunt. Pence stepped in with no outs and engaged in one of the strangest battles of a career full of them. 

Ross Stripling, a starter with a deep repertoire, kept pumping 94 mph fastballs up near Pence’s eyes. Pence swung through one, fouled off five, and took three more for balls. Only one of the pitches he saw was in the strike zone. In the dugout, Posey shook his head in amusement. 

“It was kind of hard not to laugh,” Posey said. “He’s probably the only guy who can do that.”

Some Giants couldn’t hold the laughter in, even in a tense spot.

“He had that ‘Thou shall not walk’ going in that at-bat,” Bochy said. “He probably expanded as much as I’ve ever seen. If he would have walked it would have gone down as one of the more amazing walks with all the balls he swung at.”

On a night full of so much energy, a walk would have been an anticlimactic ending. Pence, who had been expecting a curveball the whole at-bat, lofted a 10th fastball deep enough to left to score Hernandez and send the Giants streaming out of the dugout. 

Arroyo, the youngest of them all, went sprinting across the infield. Morse followed, and soon he had Pence wrapped in a hug. Hours earlier, he had promised that at the very least, he would bring energy to the clubhouse. He delivered more than anyone could have imagined.

“To do that is one of those special moments that can change a season,” Pence said. “It was electric ... Morsey being Morsey.”