Pence 'absolutely' would sign long-term with Giants

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Pence 'absolutely' would sign long-term with Giants

SAN FRANCISCO Hunter Pence loves coffee, especially when it comes inbig mugs. He shared those thoughts while greeting Giants fans in a videoposted to his Twitter account Wednesday morning.

Pence's playing style is caffeinated enough, as his new fans areabout to learn. The two-time All-Star is all effort and rapid movement on the field, even if itdoesnt always look smooth and under control.

Ive got to be honest, he said, in the hours prior to hisGiants debut Wednesday night. Every now and then, I do things you dont see veryoften.

REWIND: Pence has 'refreshing' arrival to AT&T Park

Like crash into his third-base coach. Or shatter asliding-glass door by smacking into it like a blind pigeon. Or take swings inthe on-deck circle that feel perfectly normal, and look anything but.

The truth is, and I hate to admit it Pence said, but thefirst time I watched it, it was disturbing.

The Giants will take all of Pences idiosyncrasies afteracquiring him from the Philadelphia Phillies for Nate Schierholtz, Double-Acatcher Tommy Joseph and Single-A right-hander Seth Rosin.

They love Pences ability to drive in runs, impact thebaseball and make things happen on the field. Pence is hitting fifth andstarting in right field Wednesday night; when Pablo Sandoval returns from hisstrained hamstring, the Giants will be able to run out a 3-through-6 of MelkyCabrera, Buster Posey, Pence and Sandoval.

That might be their best middle-of-the-order since the Bondsera.

And unlike last Julys acquisition of Carlos Beltran, Penceisnt a pure rental. Hes eligible for arbitration one more time after thisyear and cant become a free agent until after the 2013 season.

For that reason, Giants manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged theenthusiasm has a different pitch with Pence than it did with Beltran.

Oh, I think so, said Bochy, who loved the fact that Pencehit the weight room after stepping off a six-hour flight Tuesday night. Theplayers, the staff, across the board, they know that. Hes on board for nextyear, too. It should give you a good feeling knowing hell be here next yearand theres no possibility hell move on. The guys know that, too. Hes a Giantand hell be here awhile.

How long?

Well, thats a cart-before-the-horse issue for now. But whenPence was asked if hed be open to signing a long-term extension, his answer stoppedjust short of, Where do I sign?

Absolutely. That would be wonderful, the 29-year-old Texasnative said. Itd be wonderful to have a home and settle in.

Has he seen real estate prices in the Bay Area? Well maybenot. But Pence said hes never been offered a solid commitment from a club. Sohe would be all ears if the Giants pay him that respect, as GM Brian Sabean hasintimated he plans to do.

Ive never been offered anything, Pence said. Id loveto.

It was pointed out that the Phillies were signing plenty ofplayers long-term.

Not everybody, Pence said. Look how long it took Cole(Hamels) to get it. They have a lot of people theyre paying over there. But that should probably be the last thing I should be talking about. So sorry.

Pence had plenty of other more urgent matters on Thursday,like learning the signs and going out early with outfield coach Roberto Kellyto learn the intricacies of right field at AT&T Park.

He was just showing me it could bounce anywhere, and it canbounce hard or it can bounce soft, Pence said. And when its hit hard in theright field corner, you can throw em out at second.

Pence doesnt throw from a textbook. His stork-like bodydoesnt do anything the way its taught. His back knee almost touches the dirtwhen he hits. Coaches tried to change him at every stop (including atUT-Arlington, where he played in the shadow of former Giant Daniel Ortmeier),but he had the confidence to know that his way worked.

I try to do the best with what Ive got, Pence said.There are some distinct things, but everyone wants to get in a good position.You want to be short to the ball and long through it.

He acknowledged his swing hasnt been in sync most of thisseason, especially with runners in scoring position. Hes hitting just .238 inthose situations, and he knows the Giants are counting on him to deliver especially with two outs, since his new clubs .197 average in those clutchmoments is the second worst in the majors.

First of all, its more than likely going to get better,Pence said. My swing hasnt necessarily been in the greatest rhythm. But thedowns bring you to the ups. Well find out in the next two months, but Imworking on it.

Asked what he wants to improve, Pence delivered acrowd-pleaser of an answer.

Id like to have more home runs, more RBIs, more runsscored and more average, he said, not smiling for a change. The only thingbetter than hits is more hits.

Some things wont change. Pence is keeping the high-sockslook hes sported his whole career, whether Im good looking or not goodlooking.

Hes eager to get the home-field treatment at McCovey Cove,for a change starting tonight.

Whenever anyone asked my favorite road city Id say thisone, said Pence, recalling one clever but relentless fan from his time playinghere with the Astros.

One lady called me bird legs all game, Pence said. Itwas Hey bird legs! You know you cant hit the ball out of the infield.

It went on all game. Hey bird legs! Dont pull up yourpants like that to hide your shortcomings.

You couldnt help but laugh.

Former Giants top prospect earns first career MLB win with Twins

Former Giants top prospect earns first career MLB win with Twins

BOX SCORE

MINNEAPOLIS -- Adalberto Mejia made the most of his brief stint back in the majors with the Minnesota Twins by getting his first big-league win.

Robbie Grossman, Max Kepler and Chris Gimenez all homered to help Mejia and the Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 8-4 in the second game Sunday to salvage a split of a doubleheader.

Mejia (1-1) was the Twins' 26th active player for the second game and allowed three runs in seven innings, on two home runs by Salvador Perez - who also went deep in the first game.

Mejia's reward for his first win? A trip back to Triple-A Rochester.

"I'm going to go down there and work on the things they told me work on," Mejia said through interpreter Carlos Font. "Then it will be up to them to see when I get back."

Grossman and Kepler each hit two-run homers in the first inning, and Brian Dozier had an RBI double in the second off Ian Kennedy (0-4) in his first game back from the disabled list.

Brandon Moss hit two of Kansas City's four home runs in the opener of the doubleheader, and Perez and Jorge Bonifacio each hit two-run homers to lead the Royals to a 6-4 win earlier in the day.

With the split, the Twins are now 7-1 on the year against the Royals. Kansas City's win in the first game snapped a seven-game losing streak against Minnesota.

Kennedy, who returned after missing time with a hamstring strain, said he felt fine physically. He walked three batters and gave up a pair of two-run homers in just two innings Sunday.

"He was way out of whack," manager Ned Yost said. "His leg was fine. He felt normal, felt good. Just timing was off, rhythm was off."

MINOR'S WIN

Mike Minor's road back to the majors was not an easy one. Shoulder surgery kept him out of the majors for two years and resulted in a move to the bullpen.

Minor got his first victory since 2014 with 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief in the first game Sunday. He relieved Jake Junis with a 5-2 lead in the fifth, two outs and two on. The 29-year-old left-hander walked Max Kepler, then retired Kennys Vargas on a popup. Minor retired the side in order in the sixth.

Minor had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder in May 13, 2015, and did not appear in the major leagues in 2015 and 2016. Minor, who signed a $7.25 million, two-year contract with the Royals in February 2016, got his first major league victory since Aug. 28, 2014, for Atlanta.

JUNIS' FIRST START

Kansas City's Jake Junis, a 24-year-old right-hander, was recalled from Triple-A Omaha and made his first big league start after a pair of relief appearances. He allowed two runs, five hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings, leaving after RBI singles from Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano.

Junis found out Saturday that he would be making his first career start. He didn't pitch deep enough to get the win, but impressed manager Ned Yost before the Royals optioned Junis back to Omaha after the game.

"I thought he did a nice job," Yost said. "We tried to get him through that fifth inning, but we needed to win this game."

ROYALS MOVES

Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon missed the second game to join his wife, who is due to give birth on Monday. Infielder Raul Mondesi replacing Gordon on the roster but was optioned to Triple-A Omaha after the game. That means LHP Miguel Almonte, initially the Royals' 26th active player Sunday, remains on the 25-man roster. ... RHP Al Alburquerque was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for Junis.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Royals: RHP Nate Karns had his pitching arm evaluated after Friday's start against Minnesota. Manager Ned Yost said fluid was found in the elbow area but Karns does not have a strain. Karns exited his start Friday after five innings and threw just 72 pitches due to stiffness in his arm.

Twins: RHP Phil Hughes was placed on the 10-day disabled list Sunday with shoulder discomfort. Hughes took the loss in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader. Right-hander Kyle Gibson will take Hughes' place on the roster.

UP NEXT

Royals: LHP Jason Vargas (5-2, 2.03 ERA) starts Monday's series opener at the New York Yankees.

Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (0-4, 8.20 ERA) will be recalled from Triple-A Rochester to start Monday against Baltimore.

Heston makes first start with Mariners, allows seven in three innings

Heston makes first start with Mariners, allows seven in three innings

BOX SCORE

SEATTLE -- Yolmer Sanchez had a two-run single in Chicago's five-run first inning, Derek Holland pitch eight strong innings and the White Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 8-1 Sunday.

Tim Anderson had three hits and two RBIs for the White Sox, including his fifth home run - a solo shot in the third inning - and Matt Davidson added two hits and two RBIs. Sanchez's single in the first extended his hitting streak to 12 games, tying a career high.

Holland (4-3) gave up a run and six hits while striking out six and walking two. He finished his longest outing of the season by striking out the side in the eighth inning.

Nelson Cruz hit his 11th home run in the seventh for the Mariners, who have lost three straight.

Seattle starter Chris Heston (0-1), recalled from Triple-A Tacoma before the game to make his first major league start since Oct. 2, 2015, was roughed up for seven runs and seven hits in three innings. He walked the bases loaded in the first before giving up four straight hits.

Heston became the 11th pitcher to start for the Mariners this season, the most in the major leagues. In his only other appearance this year, he gave up five runs on seven hits in two innings of relief against Detroit on April 25.

LET'S TURN TWO

The White Sox turned four double plays, equaling the team's season high - set Saturday.

TRAINERS ROOM

White Sox: OF Leury Garcia was back in the starting lineup after missing two games. Garcia was hit on the elbow in Thursday's series opener.

Mariners: 1B Danny Valencia missed his second straight game after hurting his left wrist on a slide in Friday's game, and had an MRI Sunday. First baseman Daniel Vogelbach was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma and started at first base in his place. ... Seattle manager Scott Servais said LHP James Paxton, on the DL with a left forearm strain, will probably have a rehab assignment at Double-A Arkansas later this week. If all goes well Paxton could return after the Mariners' upcoming eight-game road trip. ... OF Mitch Haniger (strained right oblique) will also likely start a rehab assignment this week.

UP NEXT

White Sox: RHP Miguel Gonzalez (3-4, 4.29) starts in Chicago's series opener at Arizona. Gonzalez is 0-4 with a 6.94 ERA in his last four starts.

Mariners: Seattle has a day off Monday. RHP Christian Bergman starts Tuesday at Washington. Bergman is coming off the best outing of his career, when he held Oakland scoreless over 7 1/3 innings with a career high nine strikeouts.