Giants, Andres Torres agree on one-year deal

torres_andres_giants_swinging_v11_.jpg

Giants, Andres Torres agree on one-year deal

SAN FRANCISCO – The Giants already brought back World Series heroes from 2012 when they re-signed Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro and Jeremy Affeldt.

Now they’re bringing the band back together from the 2010 World Series championship, too – one of its most popular members, at least.

The club is saying hello to Andres Torres, agreeing to terms with the fan-favorite outfielder on a one-year contract. CSN Bay Area has learned that Torres will receive a major league deal worth $2 million and will be added to the 40-man roster once he passes a physical.

The Giants began talking to Torres as soon as he was non-tendered by the New York Mets on Nov. 30. He’s expected to provide depth at all three outfield positions and push Gregor Blanco for time in left field.

A switch hitter, Torres would be suited to form the right-handed portion of a platoon with Blanco. He hit .286 with a .382 on-base percentage against left-handed pitchers last season with the Mets. (He hit .195 against right-handers.)

Torres also provides more athleticism off the bench as a pinch hitter and pinch runner on days he does not start.

“He’s been a good Giant, he’s good against left-handed pitching and can play truthfully all three outfield positions,” Giants vice president Bobby Evans told CSN Bay Area. “We’ve won with pitching and defense and that’s a clear strength of his.”

Torres, who turns 35 on Jan. 26, provided a vital spark to the Giants in 2010 after joining the team a year earlier as a non-roster free agent. He hit .268 with a .343 on-base percentage and smacked 43 doubles and 16 home runs while scoring 84 runs. Torres began to fade down the stretch that season and missed a month because of an appendectomy, but returned in the playoffs.

Torres also became a beloved figure with fans who appreciated his all-out style on the field, his humility off the field and the candid way he discussed his battle to conquer attention-deficit syndrome during his long career in the minor leagues. The native of Puerto Rico is the subject of a documentary, “Gigante,” that delves into his life story.

He was the 2010 recipient of the Willie Mac Award as the most inspirational player, as selected by his fellow players and coaches.

Torres’ training methods include jumping up muddy hills and throwing tires, all barefoot while wearing designer jeans.

Last winter, the Giants, concerned about Torres’ high strikeout totals in 2011, traded him to the Mets along with right-hander Ramon Ramirez for Pagan. That trade turned out to be one of the most important deals of the offseason, as Pagan played to an All-Star level and was particularly effective after moving back into the leadoff role on Aug. 3.

Now that Pagan is back on a four-year, $40 million contract, the Giants essentially obtained him for Ramirez and a one-year rental of Torres. Not too shabby.

Giants lineup: Ruggiano moves up against lefty Lester

Giants lineup: Ruggiano moves up against lefty Lester

Bruce Bochy and Joe Maddon issued their lineups for Game 2 of the four-game series in Chicago:

Giants (20-26)
1. Joe Panik (L) 2B
2. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Justin Ruggiano (R) RF
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Eduardo Nunez (R) LF
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P (4-3, 4.50 ERA)

Cubs (22-21)
1. Ben Zobrist (S) 2B
2. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Ian Happ (S) CF
6. Jason Heyward (L) RF
7. Willson Contreras (R) C
8. Addison Russell (R) SS
9. Jon Lester (L) P (2-2, 3.57 ERA)

Giants notes: Blach shows resiliency; another option in center?

Giants notes: Blach shows resiliency; another option in center?

CHICAGO — John Lackey's night started with a leadoff homer. Ty Blach's night started with a 13-pitch battle. Neither one is a positive for a pitcher, but Blach didn't view it that way. He actually appreciated Ben Zobrist stretching him out.

"It's good to have a battle like that and get you locked in," Blach said. "It gets you focused and you'll be like, I can execute and get guys out. It's good. It's a good battle."

There, in a nutshell, is so much of what Bruce Bochy loves about his young left-hander. The Giants have found Blach's arm and resolve to be remarkably resilient. He wasn't bothered when they moved him to the bullpen and he didn't get too high when they moved him back to the rotation. He is the same after seven shutout innings or three poor ones. Bochy smiled when asked about the Zobrist at-bat, which ended in a strikeout looking. 

"How 'bout that?" the manager said. "He won that at-bat. It seems like the advantage goes to the hitter, seeing all those pitches. He kept his focus and got a called strikeout and here he is pitching in the eighth inning."

After needing 13 pitches for one out, Blach got the next 23 on 81 pitches. Bochy thought Blach tired a bit in the eighth, but the deep effort allowed Bochy to mix and match in the bullpen, and ultimately he found the right mix. Hunter Strickland and Mark Melancon closed it out and got Blach his second win.

--- From last night, Joe Panik's huge night helped give Blach an early lead. With the help of Ron Wotus and his shift charts, he also put on a show defensively.

--- We're trying something new right after the final pitch: Here are five quick takeaways from the 6-4 win.

--- The options game sent Kelby Tomlinson back to Triple-A on Wednesday when the Giants activated Melancon, but his latest stint in Sacramento comes with a twist. Tomlinson started his third consecutive game in center field on Monday. The Giants are getting a bit more serious about their longtime plan to make Tomlinson a super-utility player. 

“Tommy is a valuable guy in the majors and if we can give him some experience in the outfield, it gives you more flexibility and versatility,” manager Bruce Bochy said. 

This is not Tomlinson’s first foray into the outfield. He did work there in the offseason after the 2015 season and he has played 25 big league innings in left field the last two seasons. This is Tomlinson’s first real experience with center field, and while in the past he has said that the transition isn’t as easy as some might think, Bochy is confident Tomlinson can figure it out. He certainly has the speed to be a semi-regular in the outfield, and the Giants aren’t exactly brimming with quality center field options behind Denard Span, who is dealing with his second injury of the season. 

“It’s a little different now,” Bochy said when asked about Tomlinson’s past experiences in the outfield. “He’s in Sacramento doing it, and knowing there’s a possibility we could need help in the outfield.”

If the switch doesn’t come in handy this season, it could in 2018. Bochy compared Tomlinson’s infield-outfield ability to Eduardo Nuñez, who has found regular playing time in left but is a free agent after the year. 

--- Hunter Pence did some light running in the outfield before Monday’s game. Bochy said Pence is still about a week away from being an option.

--- Bochy has said it a few times now when asked about the standings, so it’s officially a new motto for a team that got off to a brutal start: “We’ve put ourselves in a great situation for a great story.”

--- They're starting to get a little grumpy around here with their team hovering around .500. Perhaps the Cubs thought they could fool a few on the way out of Wrigley.