Pagan hears, responds to Bochy's 'wakeup call'


Pagan hears, responds to Bochy's 'wakeup call'


DENVER Giants manager Bruce Bochy didnt stare directly atAngel Pagan throughout Fridays pregame meeting. His message was meant for thegroup, even if some players needed to hear it more than others.

But clearly, Pagan was the most frustrated hitter in theGiants lineup. His mind had becoming a tangle of frustration and fixation. Afree agent after the season, and with the outfield suddenly pinched with thearrival of Hunter Pence, you couldnt blame Pagan for feeling a sense ofurgency panic, even to start putting up numbers.

Sitting him wouldve been the easiest course of action. ButGregor Blanco hasnt been a dynamo in the leadoff spot of late, either. And theGiants know what kind of everyday impact Pagan can make when hes healthy andin a good frame of mind. They saw it just a couple months ago, when he hitsafely in a remarkable 46 of 48 games. They saw the way he efficiently stolebases and put himself into scoring position. They knew he could be every bitthe spark that Andres Torres was in 2010.

So Bochy held that meeting, and challenged his hitters to manup and compete better.

REWIND: Bochy challenges Giants

Then he put Pagan in the leadoff spot for the first timesince May 22.

Pagan responded in the Giants 16-4 victory over theColorado Rockies. He finished a home run away from the cycle while also drawinga walk the first time hes reached base four times in a game via hit or walk sinceMay 18 -- 62 games ago.
RECAP: Giants 16, Rockies 4
Pagans problems mostly have been from the left side, and hewas batting right-handed when he doubled and walked against Jonathan Sanchez.But Pagan later cranked an RBI triple from the left side against right-handerMike Ekstrom, and he also reached on an infield single.

He scored aggressively on a wild pitch, too.

He put himself in position to utilize his speed something hehadnt done while the strikeouts were piling up.

That was huge for us, and for him, Bochy said. He reallyput together a nice game. Sometimes you end up fighting yourself instead ofdoing what youre supposed to do, and thats competing.

Pagan said he appreciated Bochys message, calling it awakeup call.

But he also credited hitting coach Hensley Bam Bam Meulensand hitting coordinator Joe Lefebvre for helping him key on some mechanicalthings he was doing in previous seasons.

A good game like that is a good start for me, Pagan said. Imade an adjustment in the cage and I took it out there. But tomorrow is anotherday. I need to keep doing it, and thats the most important thing.

That meeting was very encouraging. We needed somebody topick us up because the energy level was down. We have to be honest about that.We needed to go out and have fun.

The Giants need more games like this from Pagan.

"We need him," Buster Posey said. "Hes going to be huge for us. With his speed,he can do a lot of things, so it was nice to see him swinging the bat welltonight."

Cody Ross joins NBC Sports Bay Area's Giants TV coverage


Cody Ross joins NBC Sports Bay Area's Giants TV coverage

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — While rehabbing an injury in 2014, Cody Ross played for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. When he walked to the plate, Ross got a standing ovation. 

“I absolutely didn’t expect that,” Ross said. “I really didn’t know that there was such a big Giants following there. It was pretty neat. I got teary-eyed. It was incredible.”

That experience, along with recent trips to Napa and Pebble Beach, showed Ross that his contributions to the 2010 title run will never be forgotten in Northern California, Nevada, or anywhere else you’ll find Giants fans. This season, Ross will once again be in front of an adoring fan base. The longtime Major League outfielder will work with NBC Sports Bay Area as an analyst on Giants pre- and post-game shows.

“I’ve always had some interest in doing that,” Ross said. “I can’t say that was the first thing that came to mind when I was a player, but now that I’m out of the game and looking for different avenues to stay in the game, TV is probably the next best thing besides being on the field.”

Ross, 36, actually has been on the field this spring. He has worked with the Giants as a camp instructor, paying particular attention to the outfielders, naturally. The Giants are hopeful that Ross can help a promising group of minor league outfielders, and he has spent much of his time this spring working with infielders — Aaron Hill, Jae-Gyun Hwang and others — who are trying to add left field to the resume.  

Getting back on the field was something Ross was eager to do, and the Giants were the perfect fit since they train near his home north of Scottsdale. Ross still is inundated with autograph seekers at Scottsdale Stadium, despite the fact that it’s been six years since he wore orange and black. When he visits San Francisco, the greetings tend to be the same. Fans constantly approach Ross to shake hands and simply say “thank you for what you did in 2010.”

“That means a lot,” Ross said. “They don’t have to do that. It just kind of goes to show how amazing the fan base is and how passionate they are. They don’t forget.”

It would be hard to. Ross joined the Giants on a waiver claim in August of 2010 and ended up as a key bat during the title run, hitting .294 in the playoffs with five homers and 10 RBI. He was the MVP of the NLCS. 

Ross played one more season with the Giants before stints with the Red Sox, Diamondbacks and A’s. Throughout his career, he said, he would watch pregame shows to try and get updates on opposing teams. He'll get on the other side of the camera for the first time in late April. 

"I’m excited," Ross said. "It should be a fun experience, and it's going to be nice to be back in the Bay Area."

Javier Lopez joins NBC Sports Bay Area's Giants TV coverage


Javier Lopez joins NBC Sports Bay Area's Giants TV coverage

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Javier Lopez walked through the clubhouse the other day casually flipping a weighted ball into the air. He looked like a left-hander getting ready for another season, and Lopez will in fact spend plenty of time in San Francisco this year. He won’t be on the field, though. He’ll be watching it. 

Lopez will join NBC Sports Bay Area as a studio analyst this season, adding to a schedule that also will include a fair amount of time in the booth with Duane Kuiper. The transition is one Lopez has been thinking about for years, and he said he used to do mock broadcasts from the bullpen in order to mix it up and keep his attention on the game. 

[RELATED: Matt Williams joins NBC Sports Bay Area's Giants TV coverage]

“It’s something I definitely was considering toward the end of my career,” Lopez said. “Being recently retired and knowing a good amount of the guys that are on this team still, I think it’ll be a different perspective that I’ll be able to give.”

Lopez is the second left-handed reliever and Core Four member to jump into TV work in the first year of retirement. Jeremy Affeldt joined the network last season and the two will split the road games that Mike Krukow will miss this season, with Affeldt focusing primarily on NL Central series and Lopez handling most of the East Coast trips. 

To prepare, Lopez, who has had two stints in camp as an instructor, has been chatting with former teammates about the intricacies of playing other positions and taking at-bats. He has bounced ideas off players like Buster Posey, but he’s also looking forward to providing the unique perspective of a side-arming left-handed reliever

“Even with the pitching staff, I see things through a different lens than most people,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean I can’t learn from everybody.”

Lopez was a clubhouse leader throughout his time with the Giants and he was a co-winner of the Willie Mac Award last season, his seventh in San Francisco. When the postseason was over, Lopez wasn’t sure he would be taking the TV step right away. He made a small list of contenders he would play for in 2017, with a focus on trying to win a fifth ring. 

“There were a couple of phases for me in particular,” he said. “I think I was thinking about knowing for sure that I wasn’t going to be a San Francisco Giant again. That was tough, but in another sense, this isn’t my first team that I’ve been on. I know how the business works. They have a lot of hard throwers as they’ve shown this spring and that’s the way that baseball is trending in the bullpen. We knew that the opportunity here wasn’t going to be there, and I was okay with that. 

“There were some teams I really wanted to go to and some places that I wanted to play, but ultimately those places started filling up pretty quickly with the relievers. The opportunities were available and I could have played — there were offers out there — but I didn’t see myself in those uniforms. If my heart’s not in it, that’s not a good way to go.”