Giants sign reliever Hernandez to minor league deal: 'Easy decision'

Giants sign reliever Hernandez to minor league deal: 'Easy decision'

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. --  A day after pitchers and catchers reported to Scottsdale Stadium, the Giants added one more option to the mix.

Veteran right-hander David Hernandez arrived Tuesday on a minor league deal. Hernandez will make $1.5 million if he's in the major leagues, per a source.

The 31-year-old made 70 appearances for the Phillies last season, posting a 3.74 ERA and 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings. He had previously spent five years with the Diamondbacks, finding plenty of late-innings success despite missing time with Tommy John. 

Hernandez has scattered 20 saves in his career, and while the Giants don't need another right-hander for the late innings, Hernandez could provide a veteran option for a young group. Derek Law and Hunter Strickland are expected to set up for Mark Melancon.

"We've been talking all winter (with him) about opportunities here," general manager Bobby Evans said. "He adds experience and overall stuff (and) he's now three years removed from Tommy John surgery. He has seven years of big league experience and we do have a young bullpen, so to speak. That's attractive to us."

Hernandez, who grew up and still lives in the Sacramento area, called signing with the Giants an "easy decision." He had held out hope that a major league deal might develop over the past week, but otherwise he was choosing among non-roster opportunities.

"Being from Sacramento, I grew up watching a lot of Giants games," he said. "It's always been one of my favorite places to play as a visiting player."

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' first sweep of 2017

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' first sweep of 2017

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — Some veteran Giants quietly grumbled Wednesday morning about how many potential homers got knocked down by the thick, seagull-filled air late Tuesday night. A day later, under a bright blue sky, the Giants made the park look small. 

Nick Hundley hit a two-run shot and Jae-gyun Hwang’s first MLB hit was a no-doubter to left, backing up a strong day for the pitching staff. The Giants won 5-3, sweeping the same Rockies squad that broomed them at Coors just a few days ago. 

The three-game winning streak is their first in nearly six weeks and the sweep is the first of the year. Here are five things to know from Jae Day at AT&T Park … 

—- Hwang’s homer screamed out to left at 108 mph and traveled an estimated 417 feet. He hit 53 homers his last two seasons in the KBO. The power is legit, and that poke certainly earned him an extended look, even with Eduardo Nuñez due back Friday or Saturday. Hwang is the 17th Giant to have his first hit be a homer. Adam Duvall (2014) was the last one to do it. Among current Giants, Hwang joins Brandon Crawford (2011).

—- Ty Blach faced some trouble early but managed to walk off with 6 1/3 innings under his belt and just one earned run. Blach was charged with two unearned runs, including one that came on his two-base throwing error. 

—- A day after Cory Gearrin got an at-bat, George Kontos was sent up with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. He fouled one pitch off before striking out. So many fans gave up on this season over the past six weeks, and then Gearrin and Kontos strolled to the plate in a span of 15 hours. This is the best game in the world. 

—- With Mark Melancon the DL and Sam Dyson in need of a day off, Bruce Bochy got creative. George Kontos carried the lead from the seventh to eighth, and Steven Okert took it from there until the ninth. Hunter Strickland entered with two outs in the ninth and got Ian Desmond to fly out. 

—- Austin Slater returned to the lineup and went 1 for 3 with an 11-pitch walk. It’s clear that Slater’s hip is still a little tight — he jogged on a grounder deep to the hole at short, and he certainly would have beaten that out a week ago. With the way Slater is hitting, though, no point in risking it. 

What a blast: Jae-gyun Hwang crushes homer in Giants' debut

What a blast: Jae-gyun Hwang crushes homer in Giants' debut

SAN FRANCISCO -- Before his MLB debut, Jae-gyun Hwang promised not to flip his bat in the big leagues. 

"I don't want to get hit by a pitch," he said, smiling. 

He didn't quite flip it, but Hwang had some fun when his first big league hit soared out to left field. The 29-year-old rookie crushed a solo shot in his third big league at-bat, giving the Giants a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh.

Hwang got a 2-0 fastball from lefty Kyle Freeland and hit it 417 feet, with an exit velocity of 108 mph. He posed for a second before stylishly dropping his bat. Hwang pumped his fist when he reached the plate. He was greeted by a raucous dugout.

Hwang had driven in a run earlier in the game. He said the game was a big deal in South Korea, with television channels scrambling to broadcast the debut of a superstar who traveled overseas to live out his big league dream. It was 6:42 a.m. in Seoul when Hwang's blast landed.