Pagan gets what he wants, where he wants it

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Pagan gets what he wants, where he wants it

SAN FRANCISCO -- Exactly one year after he was originally acquired from the Mets, Angel Pagan received real financial security for the first time in his career. The seven-year veteran has never had a deal lengthier than two years or one that earned more than $5 million a season. Next season will mark his first of four with the Giants, where he will earn an average of $10 million, and the man who calls himself "Crazy Horse" is looking forward to settling down in an area he has fast grown to love.

"The Giants were my No. 1 priority," Pagan told beat reporters at Comcast SportsNet's San Francisco studios Friday. "Then the other teams."

Pagan, who passed his physical Friday morning, was one of three free agents the Giants re-signed, joining Marco Scutaro and Jeremy Affeldt with a four-year contract worth $40 million dollars.

Pagan acknowledged he had multiple three-year contract offers on the table, but that he was looking for more.

"The Giants were the first ones to offer that fourth year, like I was hoping," Pagan said. "Right after they did it, I didn't hesitate. I wasn't waiting for another team."

If it was another team that proposed a four-year contract, though, Pagan most certainly would have given the Giants a chance to match the offer.

With his finances secured, Pagan is looking to move his family to the Bay Area. His two daughters, who are currently schooling in Puerto Rico, love San Francisco, and they could be seeing a lot more of it, if their dad can maneuver the local housing market.

"I'm looking to buy a house here in San Francisco right now, but they are pretty expensive," Pagan said with a laugh.

It was the right decision for his family, but there was another influence that drew Pagan back to the Bay.

"Nothing makes me happier than to be back to play with my teammates," Pagan said meaningfully.

He remained in contact with fellow table-setter Marco Scutaro nearly every day, updating each other with contract talk and reaffirming their desires to be reunited atop the Giants lineup for seasons to come.

"The chemistry shows on this team," Pagan said. "When we go out there trying to compete with one common goal -- not as teammates, but as brothers."

Scutaro wasn't the only teammate he stayed close with, though. Pagan cited Madison Bumgarner and Brandon Belt as others he communicated with frequently.

"I used to mess with them, telling them, 'It was nice playing with you guys.'" Pagan said. "They said 'Don't say that, again!' I have a lot of respect for my teammates because they showed me a lot of love."

Tough love, too. Recalling a conversation in the aftermath of the World Series, a group of teammates that included Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong and Buster Posey approached Pagan in the clubhouse.

"Aye, you better re-sign with us, because if you don't sign, you better wear the best elbow guards out there, 'cause you're going to get smoked," they said to him.

It was said in jest, but Pagan kept that moment close to his heart.

"That's something that makes you feel good, that they want you back," Pagan said. "And that's why I want to go out there and win championships, because I know my team would do the same for me."

Following the team's 2010 World Series title, the Giants won 86 games and failed to reach the playoffs in 2011. Pagan isn't concerned about a drop-off after the 2012 title. He plans to keep his sword sharp by representing Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic -- the semifinals and finals of which will be played at AT&T Park.

"The better you are, the higher the expectations."

Pagan, 31, is about two months away from reporting to spring training and realizing just how high the expectations surrounding a four-year, $40 million contract truly are.

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.