Morse calls his shot before first spring training homer back with Giants

Morse calls his shot before first spring training homer back with Giants

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — After pulling up film of his previous at-bats, Michael Morse sunk into a clubhouse chair to watch the top of the seventh inning of a game against Puerto Rico. As he looked up at the TV, Morse smiled and shook his head.

“You know what’s ironic?” he said. “I always have great springs. I think I have like 100 career RBI in spring training.”

It was actually 103 at the time, with 32 homers and a .326 average. But Morse entered Wednesday’s exhibition game with .214 average, and no home runs or extra-base hits in his bid to go from non-roster invitee to the Opening Day roster. It was pointed out to him that this is the one spring where he actually needs to put up huge numbers, and he nodded as he got up for the bottom of the inning.

“Let me go hit a homer,” he said, laughing.

Five minutes later, Morse finally got on the board. He went deep to left-center, bringing his good friend Hunter Pence trotting in from third. When Morse walked back into the clubhouse, he raised his arms.

“I didn’t miss!” he yelled. “It was like, ‘Yes, he’s going to score. Oh, I am, too!’”

Nobody is having more fun than Morse this spring, even with the slow start. He came to camp wearing cheap cleats he had ordered because his equipment deal ran out when he stopped playing last season. He wore high socks with four stripes on them Wednesday, a nod to Pence. He said they made him feel faster.

For days before Wednesday’s game, Morse insisted his swing felt locked-in. He just wasn’t seeing results.

“I feel great and I wouldn’t be here trying to make the team if I didn’t,” he said. “That’s how much respect I have here for these guys.”

Morse is part of a crowded pack of non-roster invitees trying to make an impact. Chris Marrero has four homers, but for the most part, it’s been a quiet spring for Giants bats. Morse said that’s led to an interesting dynamic for the veterans. He found himself in the video room with Aaron Hill before that homer, and they marveled at the fact that they are treating every at-bat like it’s the middle of the season. There’s a lot at stake. 

“A lot of us are in the same situation,” he said. “It’s a new situation for pretty much all of us. We’re fighting every day for a chance to break camp with these guys. I have a new appreciation for the guys who come in this way every year. At the same time, you try to have fun. It’s baseball. Anything can happen.”

Morse showed that in 2014 when he returned from a significant oblique injury to help the Giants win the World Series. Giants officials hope he can have a similar impact off the bench this season, and they've given no hint one direction or the other on where Morse stands. All involved said not to read too much into the fact that Morse hasn't played left field in a game yet. 

"It's challenging because we've got two guys out there battling for a spot with (Mac) Williamson and (Jarrett) Parker, but it'd be nice to get him out there," manager Bruce Bochy said. 

Morse takes fly balls in the outfield every morning and he said the Giants should know what he can do out there. He is realistic, pointing out that "I'm not a burner, I'm not super-fast out there." He is still powerful, and he hopes to keep showing it. Bochy said Morse's batting practice session Wednesday morning was his best of the spring, but if that doesn't keep translating into games, Morse won't feel a burden. He is playing pressure-free no matter what. 

"I wish I could have played my whole career like this," he said. "At the end of the day, it's a win-win. They could come up to me at the end of this and say there's no room, and you know what, I'd say 'I'm happy for you guys.'

"For me, there's no pressure. I'm having fun."

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' walk-off loss to Braves

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' walk-off loss to Braves

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — For a team with such a poor record, the Giants actually have a decent number of late-inning comebacks on the road. There’s a caveat, however 

Remember the comeback at Citi Field? The Giants lost the next day. Remember the big late rally against at Busch Stadium? The Giants lost the next day.  

It happened once again on Wednesday. A day after blowing it open late to beat the Braves, the Giants lost 5-3 on a Matt Kemp walk-off homer in the 11th. They have dropped 17 of their past 22 games, which is suboptimal. Here are five things to know from a wet and long night in Atlanta … 

—- Jeff Samardzija was mostly sharp, and he needed just 79 pitches to get through seven innings. As always, he paid for the long ball. Matt Adams hit a two-run shot early and Tyler Flowers put one about an inch over the left field wall in the seventh. Flowers’ ball had a hit probability of two percent — TWO! — but it still counted as an insurance run after a replay review confirmed that the ball hit a net behind the wall. 

—- Hunter Pence hit a solo blast in the ninth, his second deficit-clearing homer of the trip. Turns out there’s some juice left in that bat. 

—- Samardzija threw a fastball in the third that clocked in at 97.7 mph. It was his fastest pitch of the season. 

—- Sean Newcomb was as advertised. The left-hander has been a top 100 prospect throughout his professional career, and he gave up just three hits and one run over six innings. In his first three MLB starts, the 24-year-old lefty has allowed just four runs over 18 1/3 innings. 

—- With Eduardo Nuñez still sidelined by hamstring tightness, Aaron Hill got another start at third. He was 0 for 3. He’s hitless in his last 17 at-bats and he has just one hit in his last 26 at-bats.

Giants sign 27 picks from 2017 Draft, including top seven selections

Giants sign 27 picks from 2017 Draft, including top seven selections

A day after several agreements leaked out, the Giants announced that they have signed 27 of their 40 picks in the 2017 MLB Draft.

Deals were struck with nine of their top 10 picks. The only top 10 pick still unsigned is eighth-round pick John Gavin, a left-handed pitcher from Cal State Fullerton, who was just eliminated from the College World Series on Monday.

On Tuesday, Baseball America reported that first-round pick Heliot Ramos had agreed to a slot deal of $3,101,700.

Here are some other reported signing bonuses:

The following is a complete list of the Giants’ 2017 draft selections (Bold indicates player has signed):

Rnd (#) Name Pos School HT WT B/T Birthdate Scout
1 (19) Heliot Ramos CF Leadership Christian Academy 6-2 185 R/R 9/7/99 Junior Roman
2 (58) Jacob González 3B Chaparral High School 6-4 203 R/R 6/26/98 Chuck Hensley
3 (96) Seth Corry LHP Lone Peak High School 6-2 195 L/L 11/3/98 Chuck Hensley
4 (126) Garrett Cave RHP University of Tampa 6-4 200 R/R 7/18/96 Jim Gabella
5 (156) Jason Bahr RHP University of Central Florida 6-4 190 R/R 2/15/95 Jim Gabella
6 (186) Bryce Johnson CF Sam Houston State University 6-2 180 S/R 10/27/95 Todd Thomas
7 (216) Logan Harasta RHP University of Buffalo 6-7 235 R/R 8/29/96 Ray Callari

8 (246) John Gavin LHP Cal State Fullerton 6-6 255 R/L 10/10/95 Brad Cameron
9 (276) Aaron Phillips RHP St. Bonaventure University 6-5 190 R/R 10/11/96 Ray Callari
10 (306) Rob Calabrese C University of Illinois Chicago 6-1 200 R/R 10/3/95 Todd Coryell

11 (336) Doug Still LHP Missouri State 6-2 210 L/L 8/2/95 Daniel Murray
12 (366) Aaron Bond CF San Jacinto College North 6-4 185 L/R 2/16/97 James Mouton
13 (396) Tyler Schimpf RHP Texas 6-5 220 R/R 8/7/95 Todd Thomas
14 (426) Michael Sexton 3B Masters College 6-2 230 L/R 1/4/95 Chuck Fick
15 (456) Orlando Garcia SS Texas Tech University 6-2 195 R/R 12/31/95 Todd Thomas
16 (486) John Russell RHP University of Connecticut 6-3 170 R/R 10/17/95 Mark O’Sullivan

17 (516) Brac Warren RHP Oregon 6-4 235 R/R 2/14/96 Larry Casian
18 (546) Chris Corbett C Rollins College 6-1 195 R/R 7/7/94 James Gabella
19 (576) Frankie Tostado RF Oxnard College 6-3 205 L/L 3/31/98 Chuck Fick
20 (606) Keaton Winn RHP Iowa Western Community College 6-4 210 R/R 2/20/98 Todd Coryell
21 (636) Joshua Baldwin CF Georgia Southern University 6-0 180 L/L 4/9/96 Luke Murton
22 (666) Greg Jacknewitz LHP Xavier University 6-3 210 R/L 6/26/95 Kevin Christman
23 (696) Steve Matheny 3B Washington State 6-1 205 L/R 6/5/96 Larry Casian
24 (726) Nico Giarratano SS University of San Francisco 6-0 190 S/R 12/15/94 Keith Snider
25 (756) Franklin Van Gurp RHP Florida International University 6-1 210 R/R 10/26/95 Jose Alou
26 (786) Kyle McPherson SS James Madison University 5-11 180 R/R 2/9/96 John DiCarlo
27 (816) Matt Brown RHP San Jose State University 6-6 220 R/R 6/12/96 Keith Snider
28 (846) Peter Lannoo RHP Cornell University 6-6 220 R/R 11/13/94 Ray Callari

29 (876) Frank Rubio RHP Florida 6-0 203 R/R 4/23/95 James Gabella
30 (906) Sean Watkins CF Cal State Los Angeles 5-10 190 R/R 11/16/95 Chuck Fick
31 (936) Keenan Bartlett RHP Richmond 6-1 175 R/R 9/27/95 John DiCarlo
32 (966) Blake Rivera RHP Wallace State Community College 6-4 225 R/R 1/9/98 Jeff Wood
33 (996) Peyton Maddux C Virginia Military Institute 6-3 185 R/R 8/1/96 Donnie Suttles
34 (1026) Conner Nurse RHP Ridge Community High School 6-5 210 R/R 7/31/99 James Gabella
35 (1056) Dalton Combs RF Huntington College 6-3 217 L/L 10/29/94 Kevin Christman
36 (1086) Joe Marciano LHP Southern Illinois University of Carbondale 6-5 270 L/L 1/11/95 Todd Coryell
37 (1116) Andy Rohloff RHP University of Central Florida 6-3 195 L/R 7/17/96 James Gabella

38 (1146) Antonio Saldana LHP Joliet Catholic Academy 6-6 225 L/L 7/3/99 Todd Coryell
39 (1176) Brad Dobzanski RHP Delsea Reg High School 6-3 195 R/R 2/12/99 John DiCarlo
40 (1206) Liam Jenkins RHP Wabash Valley College 6-8 245 R/R 4/9/97 Todd Coryell