Giants decline Huff's 10 million option for 2013

549998.jpg

Giants decline Huff's 10 million option for 2013

SAN FRANCISCO -- Aubrey Huff is taking his Rally Thong to the cleaners.

In a move that all parties anticipated, the Giants declined a 10 million option on Huff for 2013, instead choosing a 2 million buyout that amounts to a parting gift between the club and the steeply declining first baseman.

Huff, 35, will be long remembered as the most valuable offensive performer from the 2010 World Series championship team. His inspirational undergarments helped to rally his teammates to clinch the NL West title on the final day of the regular season. He hit a two-run home run in Game 4 of the World Series at Texas, too.

He gave the Giants tremendous return in 2010 after they signed him to a 3 million contract as a free-agent afterthought, hitting .290 with a .385 on-base percentage and 26 home runs while scoring 100 runs.

He gave them much, much less productivity after signing a two-year, 22 million deal just a few weeks after the victory parade in 2010. Huff slumped badly while hitting .246 in 2011 and was even less effective this season. He lost his starting job to Brandon Belt by the end of April, he failed to cover second base in an odd, walk-off loss at Citi Field on April 21, and caused controversy two days later when he went home without prior permission before the Giants played a doubleheader against the Mets.

REWIND: Anxiety lands Huff on 15-day DL

He later went on the disabled list with what he and the club described as an anxiety disorder. Huff landed on the DL again in June after injuring his knee while trying to hurdle the dugout rail in the moments after Matt Cain threw his perfect game June 13.

RELATED: Huff hurts knee celebrating perfect game

Huff made the postseason roster as a pinch hitter and was 1 for 9 with a walk and one run scored, in Game 2 of the NLCS -- his first time crossing the plate since May 23.

Huff hasn't announced his retirement, but if his career is over after 13 seasons, he'll end it as a .278 hitter with 242 home runs and 904 RBIs for the Devil Rays, Astros, Orioles, Tigers and Giants. He won a Silver Slugger award as the designated hitter in Baltimore in 2008, when he hit .304 with 32 home runs and 108 RBIs.

Injured Michael Morse will stick with Giants, work way up from Triple-A

Injured Michael Morse will stick with Giants, work way up from Triple-A

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Michael Morse isn't ready to give up on his comeback. 

Morse, sidelined by a hamstring injury, said he will continue to rehab with the organization, with the plan of eventually going to Triple-A and working his way up to the big leagues. Morse hasn't played since getting hurt March 20 in Glendale. He was initially given a two-to-three week diagnosis, but because he wants to let the strain heal completely, he anticipates missing closer to a full month. 

Morse said he's on the same page with general manager Bobby Evans. He will get healthy at the minor league facility in Scottsdale.

"I'll then go to Triple-A and play games and figure it out from there," he said. "I'm going to get healthy and play some games and if that point the team is 20-0, I know I probably won't get called up. If they need me, that'd be great."

The Giants are hopeful it works out. Before getting hurt, Morse had three spring homers and was in position to make the opening day roster. Without Morse, the Giants are light on right-handed power options for the bench.

 

Giants spring training Day 40: Belt continues domination of Rockies' home park

Giants spring training Day 40: Belt continues domination of Rockies' home park

BELT RIVER FIELDS, Ariz. — Earlier this spring, Brandon Belt moved his schedule around so he could get additional at-bats. That led to some random trips across the desert, but there was never any doubt Belt would be in Friday’s road lineup.

Belt demolishes the ball at Salt River Fields, spring home of the Rockies and Diamondbacks. After coming out of Friday’s win, he shook his head in mock disgust when talking about the day’s stats.

“One for four, you’ve gotta be kidding me,” Belt said. “That’s terrible.”

That one happened to be a homer, a three-run shot off Jon Gray, the likely opening day starter for the Rockies. Belt thought he crushed the ball but it ended up pretty high, so it simply dropped onto the berm in right. 

“It squeaked out,” Belt said. “Good mojo, I guess.”

The mojo kept his remarkable run going at Salt River. His updated career stats here: 22 for 35, with eight homers, four doubles, one triple and 18 RBI. Belt said he’s not quite sure why he turns into the flames emoji every time he steps onto this field. 

“I don’t know what it is, but I like hitting here,” he said. “Maybe it’s the batter’s eye?”

Salt River has a dark green batter’s eye with no distractions on either side, and the Giants certainly saw the ball well Friday. They had seven straight hits in the third before Gray was pulled with a sore foot. Belt hit second, and manager Bruce Bochy said that wasn’t simply because Joe Panik had the day off. Bochy will look at several different lineup permutations over the next week, and a Span/Belt/Pence/Posey/Crawford one-through-five is one option. 

“I like (that spot) a lot,” Belt said. “I feel good getting started and knowing I’ll get to bat in the first inning. It’s a good spot. I don’t think my approach changes that much: Get a pitch to hit and try to hit it hard.”

GAME RECAP: Jeff Samardzija was sharp in four innings, allowing just two hits and striking out three. He threw about 45 pitches on the field and then went down to the bullpen for 45 more. Samardzija certainly benefited from having Buster Posey back in the lineup. He said Posey noticed during warmups that Samardzija’s delivery was a little flat and his arm was dragging too low. 

“That doesn’t happen often,” Samardzija said of having a guy like Posey back there. “You have a lot of catchers who are afraid to say something.”

The rest of this one was a laugher until the ninth, when the Rockies rallied and brought the winning run to the plate. It hasn’t been a great spring for the bullpen.

STOCK WATCH: Chris Marrero hit a deep homer, his seventh of the spring. He also made a nice pick at first, where he looks much more comfortable. At this point, it appears it’s either Marrero or Kelby Tomlinson for that final bench spot.

TRAINER’S ROOM: The news on Will Smith was as expected. He will have Tommy John surgery next week. 

There is good news for Trevor Brown: The catcher, who has a sore ankle, took some swings and he’s feeling much better. Brown did not, as first reported, get hurt hiking on an off day. It happened during a game. Brown won’t be ready in time to return to Cactus League action, so he’ll likely stay here during the Bay Bridge Series and then travel home with Triple-A Sacramento. 

ICYMI: Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey and Mark Melancon are back in camp. Here’s a story on Posey’s WBC experience, with the catcher saying he’d like to play again in four years. Here’s Crawford on his month, which ended with him giving an NL West rival a slump-busting bat. 

ROSTER UPDATE: The Giants released David Hernandez, at his request. They have started to tell others that they’re not making the opening day roster, so there should be a series of minor transactions this weekend. (You know where to go.)

QUOTABLE: "I swung at a heater and a slider went right into my bat. I was happy to be able to track (pitches), and happy that the next time the bunt didn't go off my beautiful face." -- Samardzija, when asked about his double off the wall.