SAN FRANCISCO – The Giants made Hunter Pence their top priority and Tim Lincecum is right behind on their list of “heavy lifting.”
But when they get around to left-hander Javier Lopez, they’ll find he’s eager to talk about returning, too.
“Obviously we’ll keep things fluid with the Giants,” Lopez said. “This is where I’d like to continue to play.”
Lopez, 36, is coming to the end of the two-year, $8.5 million contract he signed just a few weeks before hitting free agency following the 2011 season. He said he would forgo free agency again if the Giants offer him something to his liking.
“You work hard to get the opportunity to go to free agency but that’s the respect I’ll give the Giants,” Lopez said. “Winning two World Series here and playing in front of sellout crowds every day, that’s what every player strives to do and I have that here.”
Giants GM Brian Sabean has classified re-signing Lopez as a priority. The sidewinding specialist was 4-2 with a 1.83 ERA in 69 games and held left-handers to a .156 average. In three-plus years as a Giant, he’s faced 605 batters and allowed just two home runs. Lopez was forced to pitch more against right-handers this season (they hit .296 off him) because of Jeremy Affeldt’s groin injury.
“Being so lefty-specific for so long, I’ve gotten away from some of the things that get right-handers out,” Lopez said. “I’d like to work on some of those things.”
He’d like to do it in a Giants uniform – even though he plans on selling his Denver-area house and moving somewhere closer to home in Virginia.
“I’m used to bouncing around,” he said. “Just as long as I get a uni, I can roll with it.”