Giants announce non-roster invitees

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Giants announce non-roster invitees

Believe it or not, we're less than a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting to the Giants' camp in Scottsdale, Ariz. The first spring training game will be March 3 against the Diamondbacks.

Wednesday, general manager Brian Sabean announced the non-roster invitees in a press release.

Here is the list, by position:
Right-handed pitchers: Jake Dunning, Justin Fitzgerald, Austin Fleet, Stephen Harrold, Heath Hembree, Andrew Kown, Mitch Lively, Shane Loux, Jean Machi, Seth Rosin and Shawn Sanford.
Left-handed pitchers: Brian Burres, David Quinowski, Wilmin Rodriguez and Matt Yourkin.
Catchers: Tommy Joseph, Andrew Susac and Jackson Williams.
Infielders: Joaquin Arias, Chris Dominguez, Nick Noonan and Joe Panik.
Outfielders: Gregor Blanco, Gary Brown, and Juan Perez.
Official press release:
The San Francisco Giants have extended non-roster invitations for Major League Spring Training to the following 25 players, club Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian Sabean announced today: right-handed pitchers Jake Dunning, Justin Fitzgerald, Austin Fleet, Stephen Harrold, Heath Hembree, Andrew Kown, Mitch Lively, Shane Loux, Jean Machi, Seth Rosin and Shawn Sanford; left-handed pitchers Brian Burres, David Quinowski, Wilmin Rodriguez and Matt Yourkin; catchers Tommy Joseph, Andrew Susac and Jackson Williams; infielders Joaquin Arias, Chris Dominguez, Nick Noonan and Joe Panik; and outfielders Gregor Blanco, Gary Brown, and Juan Perez.

Burres, 30, returns to San Francisco, as he was drafted originally by the Giants in the 31st round in the 2000 draft. He was claimed off waivers by Baltimore prior to the 2006 season. In parts of six big league seasons with Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Toronto the Oregon native has gone 17-25 with a 5.75 ERA (229er, 358.1ip) in 106 games (56 starts). He appeared briefly in the Majors last season with Pittsburgh going 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA (6er, 14.0ip) in 5 appearances (2 starts).

Dunning, 23, will be in big league camp for the first time in his career. Drafted by the Giants in the 33rd round in 2009, the Georgia native posted a 6-3 record with a 4.74 ERA (40er, 76.0ip) in 41 games (7 starts) for Class A Advanced San Jose last season. Overall, hes gone 7-3 with a 4.20 mark (53er, 113.2ip) in three minor league seasons in the Giants farm system.

Fitzgerald, 25, is a non-roster invitee for the first time in his career. The Santa Rosa, CA native was drafted by the Giants in the 11th round in 2008 and has spent the last four seasons compiling a 22-17 record with a 3.53 ERA (145er, 369.1ip) in 109 games (52 starts). Named a mid-season All-Star in each of his past two seasons, the 6-foot-5 right-hander spent all of last season at double-A Richmond, going 9-9 with a 3.51 ERA (57er, 146.1ip) in 27 starts.

Fleet, 24, will be in Major League camp for the first time. He moved around quite a bit last season, appearing at three different levels within San Franciscos minor league chain, combining for a 9-5 record with a 3.87 ERA (36er, 83.2ip) in 32 games (8 starts) with rookie-level Arizona, Class A Augusta and double-A Richmond. The right-hander also appeared in 11 games (2 starts) for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League posting a 2-1 record with a 3.00 ERA (6er, 18.0ip) and 17 strikeouts. The Giants 16th round selection in 2010, Fleet has forged a 15-8 career record with a 3.41 ERA (51er, 134.2ip) in 44 games (19 starts) in his two minor league seasons.

Harrold, will be in San Franciscos camp for the first time. The clubs 12th round selection in 2010 has compiled a 7-4 record with a 2.68 ERA (28er, 94.0ip) in 79 relief appearances in his two seasons. The 22-year-old split last year between Class A Augusta and Class A Advanced San Jose, logging a record of 5-3 with a 2.95 ERA (21er, 64.0ip) in 57 relief outings while earning a spot on the South Atlantic League mid-season All-Star team. The young right-hander threw well in the Arizona Fall League posting a 3-0 mark with a 1.76 ERA (3er, 15.1ip) and 15 strikeouts in 12 appearances for the Scottsdale Scorpions.

Hembree, 24, compiled one of the best seasons of any Giants farmhand in 2011, going 1-0 with a 1.86 ERA (11er, 53.1ip) and 38 saves in 54 relief appearances between Class A Advanced San Jose and double-A Richmond. For his performance last year he was named a California League mid-season All-Star and a Topps Class A All-Star. Selected by the Giants in the fifth round in 2010, Hembree has a career minor league record of 1-1 with a 1.68 ERA (12er, 64.1ip) and 41 saves in 66 relief appearances. He will be in big league camp for the first time.

Kown, 29, will be in camp for the first time with San Francisco. The journeyman minor leaguer completed his eighth season in the minors last year spending the entire campaign with triple-A Fresno and going 10-9 with a 4.48 ERA (68er, 136.2ip) in 25 starts while earning a spot on the PCL mid-season All-Star team. Originally drafted by Detroit in the fifth round in the 2004 draft, the Marietta, GA native has compiled a lifetime minor league record of 58-58 with a 4.11 ERA (430er, 942.1ip) in 205 games (153 starts).

Lively, 26, will be in his first big league spring camp after coming off a season in which he went 3-7 with a 2.14 ERA (17er, 71.1ip) between Class A Advanced San Jose and double-A Richmond. Originally drafted by Colorado in the 16th round in 2007, Lively signed a minor league deal with San Francisco in 2008. In his five minor league seasons hes compiled a 14-13 record and 3.04 ERA (76er, 224.2ip) in 164 relief appearances.

Loux, 32, will be in big league camp with the Giants for the second consecutive season. He spent all of last season with triple-A Fresno, going 8-12 with a 4.67 ERA (93er, 179.1ip) in 28 starts. Loux has appeared in parts of four Major League seasons with Detroit (2002-03) and Los Angeles-AL (2008-09), going 3-7 with a 6.14 ERA in 39 games (13 starts).

Machi, 29, will be in San Franciscos big league camp for the first time after splitting last year between triple-A Diablos Rojos del Mexico in the Mexican League and triple-A Fresno. He combined to go 4-2 with a 2.76 ERA (18er, 58.2ip) in 51 relief appearances. Machi began his professional career in 2000 after signing with the Phillies as a non-drafted free agent. In 12 minor league seasons the 250-pound right-hander has fashioned a 40-43 record with a 3.71 ERA (259er, 628.2ip) in 315 games (50 starts).

Quinowski will be in Major League camp for the first time in his career. The 25-year-old left-hander from San Bernardino, CA spent all of last season with double-A Richmond, going 4-3 with a 3.64 ERA (22er, 54.1ip) in 40 games (1 start). Selected by the Giants in the 2004 draft (46th round), Quinowski has forged an 18-11 record with a 2.44 ERA (74er, 272.2ip) in 186 games in his minor league career.

Rodriguez will make his second straight appearance at Major League camp with San Francisco. The 26-year-old, who was signed by the Giants as a non-drafted free agent in 2004, split time between double-A Richmond and triple-A Fresno last season, logging a 4-3 record with a 4.34 ERA (31er, 64.1ip) in 40 relief appearances. Overall, he has forged a 18-14 ledger with a 4.08 ERA (140er, 308.2ip) in 193 games (17 starts) in six minor league seasons.

Rosin, 23, will be attending big league camp for the first time after completing just two seasons in San Franciscos minor league chain. The Fargo, ND native went 2-3 with a 3.34 ERA (33er, 89.0ip) in 39 games (10 starts) for Class A Augusta last season and then went on to play for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League, fashioning a 2.13 ERA (3er, 12.2ip) in 9 relief appearances. Rosin was drafted by the Giants in the fourth round in 2010.

Sanford, 23, will be in camp for the first time after coming off a season in which he was named the South Atlantic League Most Outstanding Pitcher, along with earning mid-season and postseason All-Star bids for going 10-10 with a 2.55 ERA (48er, 169.2ip) in 30 games (25 starts) for Class A Augusta. The University of South Florida product was chosen by the Giants in the 13th round in 2009 and has gone 14-14 with a 2.72 ERA (70er, 232.0ip) in 73 games (28 starts).

Yourkin, 30, will be in big league camp for the second straight season. The Napa, CA native spent the entire 2011 campaign with triple-A Fresno, going 10-8 with a 4.69 ERA (87er, 167.0ip) in 29 starts. Overall, the southpaw has gone 33-36 with a 4.19 ERA (306er, 657.0ip) in 345 games (54 starts) over eight minor league seasons.

Joseph will be the youngest player in camp at just 20 years of age. In his second professional season last year, the Scottsdale, AZ native batted .270 (139-for-514), while leading Class A Advanced San Jose with 22 home runs and 95 RBI while being named to the California League postseason All-Star team. Joseph was selected by the Giants in the second round of the 2009 draft out of Horizon High School and enters 2012 rated as San Franciscos 2nd-best prospect by Baseball America.

Williams will be in his fifth-straight big league camp with San Francisco. The 25-year-old native of Tulsa, OK combined to hit .191 (34-for-178) with four home runs and 21 RBI between double-A Richmond and triple-A Fresno last season.

Susac, a 21-year-old catcher, was the Giants second round pick during the 2011 First Year Player Draft. The Roseville, CA native will make his professional debut this spring after signing last season. Drafted out of Oregon State, Susac batted .298 (42-for-141) with five home runs and 32 RBI in his sophomore season despite missing 16 games with a broken hamate bone in his left hand. Known for his work behind the plate, Susac was named the fifth-best prospect in the Cape Cod League by Baseball America after the summer of 2010 and enters 2012 rated as San Franciscos sixth-best prospect.

Arias will enter his first season with San Francisco. The 28-year-old infielder has seen brief time at the Major League level with Texas (2006-10) and New York-AL (2010), batting .276 (71-for-257) in 113 games. He spent the 2011 campaign with triple-A Omaha in the Royals organization, batting .232 (56-for-241) in 69 games and is coming off a successful 2011 Dominican Winter League season as he led the DWL with .387 average (58-for-150), 58 hits and four triples.

Dominguez, San Franciscos third round selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, will be making his debut in big league camp. The 25-year-old infielder hit a combined .266 (147-for-553) with 32 doubles, 18 home runs and 85 RBI last season while playing for Class A Advanced San Jose and double-A Richmond.

Noonan, 22, spent time with Class A Advanced San Jose, double-A Richmond and triple-A Fresno last season and combined to hit .229 (96-for-419) with five home runs and 45 RBI in 112 contests. The Poway, CA native owns a .259 clip (507-for-1,955) and 243 RBI over five professional seasons within the Giants organization. He will be in his third-straight big league camp.

Panik, the Giants first round selection (29th overall) in the 2011 First Year Player Draft, had a spectacular professional debut last year, being honored as the Northwest League's MVP, while being named to the NWL Postseason All-Star team. The 21-year-old infielder led the Northwest League with a .341 avg. (92-for-270), 49 runs, 54 RBI and .401 OBP. This top prospect was also named to the Arizona Fall League Top Prospects team as he posted a .323 avg. (30-for-93) in 27 games for the Scottsdale Scorpions. Drafted by San Francisco out of St. John's University, Panik led the Big East Conference with 60 runs scored, a .509 on-base percentage, while being tied for the highest batting average with a .398 clip (90-for-226).

Blanco, 28, has appeared in parts of three Major League seasons with Atlanta (2008-10) and Kansas City (2010), batting .259 (183-for-710) in 253 games. He spent the 2011 campaign with triple-A Omaha and Syracuse in the Royals and Nationals organizations, combining to hit .201 (40-for-199) in 74 games. Following the season he played in the Venezuelan Winter League and was named the MVP of the league after leading all players in on-base pct. (.478), stolen bases (18) and runs scored (47) while finishing fourth with a .337 batting average (66-for-196).

Brown, a 23-year-old outfielder, was the Giants first round selection (24th overall) in the 2010 First Year Player Draft and will be in spring camp for the second straight year. Last season the outfielder played in 131 games for Class A Advanced San Jose and was named the California League Rookie of the Year after leading the Giants with a .336 batting avg. and leading the league in hits (188) and triples (13), while ranking second with 53 stolen bases. Drafted out of Cal State Fullerton, Brown was also named to the California League mid-season and postseason All-Star teams in 2011. He enters the 2012 campaign ranked as San Franciscos best prospect by Baseball America.

Perez, a Bronx, NY native, will be in big league camp for the second-consecutive season. The 25-year-old outfielder led the Eastern League with 10 triples for double-A Richmond last season, while batting .268 (117-for-457) with 22 stolen bases in 131 games. The Giants 13th selection in the 2008 First Year Player Draft, Perez batted .290 (47-for-162) in the Dominican Winter League this season, finishing second with 13 stolen bases and 10 doubles.

Giants spring training Day 6: Bochy looks for improvement on bases

Giants spring training Day 6: Bochy looks for improvement on bases

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Giants always put together a long list of potential minor league free agents as the offseason approaches and they tend to go hard after two or three players from that group. One of the guys who got the hard sell over the winter was speedy outfielder Wynton Bernard, and the Giants were attractive for reasons beyond the departures of Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco.

“I thought it was a good opportunity, and it also was a good fit for me because I’m from California,” Bernard said. 

Bernard is technically from Padres territory, but that gives him a connection to one of the men he’s hoping to impress. When Bernard was playing for Rancho Bernardo High, he often went up against a Poway High team that included a young Brett Bochy. Bruce never saw Bernard play because his job kept him away from most of Brett’s games, but he should see plenty of the 26-year-old this spring as the Giants look for a needed speed dimension. 

A big part of the staff overhaul was about making sure the Giants fare better on the bases. Roberto Kelly and Billy Hayes are out and Phil Nevin and Jose Alguacil are in. The Giants stole 79 bases last season, ranking eighth in the National League, and it’s not like they made up for the lack of small-ball by hitting the ball out of the park. Advanced metrics — tracked externally and also by the Giants — showed an inability to make an impact on the bases. According to BsR, an all-encompassing metric tracked by FanGraphs, the Giants were below average, ranking 17th in the majors. 

“We just want to be smarter baserunners,” Bochy said. “You always want to be aggressive. Everyone has the same philosophy — run hard — but it’s the old adage ‘strong to compete, smart to win.’”

A full season of Eduardo Nuñez will help, as would 162 games of Hunter Pence — who tends to make things happen on his own — and Joe Panik, one of the team’s smartest runners. Jimmy Rollins could provide speed off the bench, and Bernard hopes to make himself a viable option in the outfield. He stole 23 bags in 28 attempts last season for the Tigers’ Double-A and Triple-A teams and he stole 88 total bases the two seasons before 2016. 

The Giants know the kind of potential Bernard has, so early in the offseason he got a call telling him to hook up with fellow San Diego resident Vince Coleman, a legendary baserunner who would be joining the staff. The two worked out often in advance of spring training. 

“The Giants said he was in the area and I called him 20 minutes later,” Bernard said. “I feel like I can add a different dynamic with my speed.”

Bernard can play all three outfield spots and he sports a .360 on-base percentage in the minors. He’s likely ticketed for Triple-A for now, but a player with the same profile showed up in camp in 2012, and it wasn’t long before Gregor Blanco had locked up a roster spot. 

Whether Bernard is part of the mix, or it’s a Gorkys Hernandez or Nuñez or Kelby Tomlinson, Bochy knows he needs a little more athleticism and baserunning savvy in a division where the games are often won by one run. 

“We probably made more mistakes than we should have last year,” he said. “The numbers show it.”

CUETO UPDATE: The co-ace remains in the Dominican Republic, where he is tending to his father. The Giants don’t have a timetable for Cueto’s arrival, but he didn’t miss anything Saturday. The workout was banged because of rain. 

Cueto is at a hotel a few minutes from the club’s Santo Domingo facility and he has been working out there. The hope is that Cueto’s father soon gets well enough to travel to Arizona, where Cueto can continue to take care of him. 

NEW FACE: Slade Heathcott, a former Yankee, signed a minor league deal with the Giants on Friday. He will be in minor league camp this spring, not big league camp. The Giants liked his athleticism. 

QUOTABLE: “You can always look back, study it, learn from it … the second half, I think for everybody, you learn from it. Did we drop our guard? Hopefully it wasn’t complacency, which lets you think you have a bigger margin for error. Hopefully you learn from it.” — Bochy, when asked about the lesson learned last season. 

Report: Giants sign former Yankees top OF prospect Slade Heathcott

Report: Giants sign former Yankees top OF prospect Slade Heathcott

The Giants reportedly added to their outfield competition by signing former Yankees top prospect and 2009 first-round draft pick, outfielder Slade Heathcott. 

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports was first to report the news

Heathcott, 26, has only appeared in 17 MLB games, all in the 2015 season for the Yankees. In his short promotion, the lefty batted .400 (10-for-25) with two home runs and two doubles. 

Through multiple stints in the minors, Heathcott has slashed .266/.343/.390 with 26 home runs for his career. 

San Francisco reportedly signed Heathcott to a minor league deal with a big league invite for spring training.