Giants

Sabean: 'There won't be a big splash'

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Sabean: 'There won't be a big splash'

The Giants will not go after big-name free agents like Jose Reyes, Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder, according to GM Brian Sabean.

On a conference call with reporters following the announcement of extensions for the Giants' GM and manager Bruce Bochy, Sabean said that San Francisco will not pursue the aforementioned 'Big Three' players of the 2012 free agent class.

"There won't be a big splash," Sabean said. "We are in concert with team president and incoming CEO Larry Baer and our partnership that our pitching is our gold standard. Whatever we attempt we have to make sure we take care of that commodity first."

While Sabean said that talks with two of his biggest commodities -- Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain -- are in progress, he offered no significant details about the negotiations.

"We've had an exchange of ideas and some conversations about numbers but with so many other things going on timing has not advanced very far down the road," vice president of baseball operations Bobby Evans said.

The one big free agent bat the Giants may still go after is midseason acquisition Carlos Beltran. Sabean sent top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler to the New York Mets for Beltran, who is now reportedly receiving interest from American League teams that can offer him more years with the security of the designated hitter rule.

While Sabean expressed interest in retaining Beltran's services, he also made it clear that the Giants have to be careful with long-term contract offers.

"The best way to phrase it is, he is a consideration but terms will be an issue with anybody we pursue," Sabean said. "Whether its Beltran or anybody else, we have a very definitive game plan on each conversation on what we think is a reasonable length.

If the Giants don't bring back Beltran, Sabean and Bochy both made it clear that they expect a marked improvement from a historically bad offensive output in 2011. The reason for those expectations surround the return of Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez and the assumption that Aubrey Huff will bounce back from his disappointing second season in San Francisco.

Sabean also acknowledged that the limited options available for the Giants in free agency means the team will have to lean more on its homegrown talent for help.

"Our priority is more offense," Sabean said. "In finding more offense we have to explore more options within, give due consideration to our players here first, our younger players, see whether they're ready to take over."
Rael Enteen is a web producer with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @RaelEnteenCSN

Giants' Austin Slater ready to take big step in rehab from groin injury

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USATSI

Giants' Austin Slater ready to take big step in rehab from groin injury

SAN FRANCISCO — Austin Slater is quietly one of the fastest players in the Giants organization, but at some point this week, he will hope for the best from a slow jog. 

Slater is nearly to the point where he’ll be cleared to start running, and if that goes well, the Giants will increase his activity and start to target a rehab assignment. The rookie outfielder has missed 35 games with a right groin strain but the Giants are confident Slater will return in September. Originally, there was some thought that he would be out the rest of the year. Slater should begin running this week. 

“Running is the biggest hurdle,” Slater said. “I’ve been throwing and swinging. I’m swinging at 100 percent. That’s where the optimism comes in.”

Slater will take batting practice with the team on Friday. It’ll be his first time doing that since he went down in the second week of July. He has mostly been doing agility work in recent days and said it has gone well. 

Elsewhere on the injury front, there is good news and bad news. Miguel Gomez had a setback with his knee and he won’t start a rehab assignment as hoped. Gomez is in a holding pattern for now, but Bochy believes the Giants are fine on the infield. In an emergency, Buster Posey can play first and Ryder Jones can back up other infield positions. Orlando Calixte also provides coverage. 

The good news is that Johnny Cueto will throw another bullpen session on Friday. He could pitch a rehab game soon. Also, here are updates on Brandon Belt and Joe Panik. 

Will Brandon Belt return this season for Giants after yet another concussion?

Will Brandon Belt return this season for Giants after yet another concussion?

SAN FRANCISCO — It has been nearly two weeks since Brandon Belt walked out of AT&T Park with yet another concussion. On Friday he could take a big step. 

Belt will do some light cardio in hopes of ramping up the rehab process. That is generally the biggest step for concussed players. Often times, that cardio session leads to a longer shutdown when the player feels discomfort from activity. The Giants are hopeful that Belt will report only positive signs. 

“He seems to be doing a little better,” manager Bruce Bochy said. 

There is no timetable for Belt’s return, but the club hopes to get him back in the heart of the lineup down the stretch. That leads to an obvious question: Why would the Giants play him? Belt has suffered four concussions in the last eight years and he is a member of a last-place team that’s in a fight for the first pick in the draft. Doesn’t it make sense to just shut him down, make sure he gets fully healthy, and prepare for 2018? 

“I know there’s talk about it, but I know for Brandon, he would like to get back,” Bochy said. “You hate to go into the offseason with six or seven weeks of not playing again, but at the same time we’ll make sure he’s completely recovered. If not, we won’t put him out there.”

Part of the shame of all this is that regardless of when Belt returns, he will have missed an opportunity to really put his stamp on a nice season. Belt leads all first baseman in defensive runs saved (12) and he would have had a very strong argument for his first Gold Glove Award. It’s possible he gets back in time to hold off Paul Goldschmidt and Anthony Rizzo. It’s also possible he gets back in time to shatter his career-high in homers. Belt is at 18 for the second time in three years, and before he went down he was on pace for about 30. The Giants will have a better idea of Belt's ability to return on Friday. 

As for the other concussed Giant, there was less information about Joe Panik. He will be reevaluated on Friday.