Programming note: For all the latest Giants news from spring training, watch Raising Arizona tonight at 6:30 and 10 p.m. only on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Angel Pagan had every reason to shut it down after hamstring surgery last season.
The Giants were out of contention. He’d already signed a four-year, $40 million contract. There wasn’t anything on the line. Nothing apparent, anyway.
But Pagan pushed to return in September. He wanted some peace of mind – about more than just how his body would respond to playing again.
“I wanted this team to finish strong, and I wanted to help,” he said. “I wanted us to finish at least .500 in the second half. That was very important, because I’m going to be here three more years.”
And it’s all too easy for a front office to rip apart a 90-loss team. Give them a little hope, Pagan thought, and maybe they would keep this group together. Maybe they’d invest in a couple new pieces, too.
That’s what happened. The Giants didn’t shop for Robinson Cano or Masahiro Tanaka, but they spent more than $180 million on Hunter Pence, Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong and Javier Lopez while adding Mike Morse and Tim Hudson to the mix.
Pagan couldn’t be happier. And after a strong showing in September, along with a winter focused on strengthening his legs, he is confident he’ll be ready to play for something even more significant this September.
“We have a fresh year, and we’ll take advantage of it,” Pagan said. “Last year should be a year of motivation for us.”
Pagan said he had no regrets about his May 25 race around the bases, when he scored a walk-off, inside-the-park home run. It was his last act before hamstring surgery. He missed the next 85 games.
“If I have to score another run to win a ballgame like that, I’ll do it,” he said.
As we learned last year, Pagan hurt his hamstring in the second inning of that game when he made an awkward move as he reacted to a line drive in center field.
Pagan revealed a little more on Tuesday. He said as he came off the field in that second inning, he told Marco Scutaro he felt a pop in his leg. Scutaro actually taped him up, and because it didn’t feel that bad, Pagan stayed in the game.
Scutaro came up to Pagan again in the 10th inning.
“He gave me a bat and said, `You’ll win the game,’” Pagan said. “And we did.”
Santiago Casilla is still waiting on his visa to leave the Dominican Republic, but he sent evidence of his work to the Giants. Bruce Bochy said he looked at video of Casilla throwing off a bullpen mound.
“it certainly looked like him,” said Bochy, “and the date was right.”
The Giants expect all the position players except Brandon Belt to be present for Wednesday’s first full squad workout. Belt traveled to Florida because his arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.