Wilson's agents talking to many clubs, but not Giants

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Wilson's agents talking to many clubs, but not Giants

NASHVILLE – The Giants are keeping the door open to re-sign Brian Wilson, but they expect the popular three-time All-Star closer to roam the market for awhile to assess his value.

Giants vice president Bobby Evans said he had two phone conversations with Wilson’s agent, Dan Lozano, following the GM meetings a month ago. But they haven’t spoken about Wilson at the winter meetings here at Opryland Resort.

Lozano told the San Francisco Chronicle that seven teams have shown interest in Wilson as either a closer or setup man; the agent didn’t specify whether the Giants were counted among those teams.

Evans stressed that the Giants want to remain engaged, and that has been communicated to Lozano and Co.

“He hasn’t been out there long. He needs time to see what his options are,” Evans said. “There’s clearly an understanding we have interest to keep the door open and bring him back.”

The market for Wilson remains difficult to gauge. On one hand, Joakim Soria, another closer who had his second Tommy John surgery in April, just received a two-year, $8 million deal with an option for 2015 from the Texas Rangers. On the other hand, some officials privately expressed concern with Wilson’s eccentric personality, and wonder if the act will become a distraction if plans go awry and he ends up pitching in a losing environment.

One rival GM suggested Wilson’s best course would be to re-sign with the Giants, where they know him and understand him and would be patient if he struggles to regain his form.

Health remains a major question for Wilson, who underwent his second Tommy John surgery on April 19. Although recovery from a first reconstructive elbow surgery is a full 12 months, and typically even longer following a second procedure, Wilson has vowed to be ready by opening day.

Evans acknowledged that goal is far from a guarantee, though.

“Being out there opening day is a great goal, and I wouldn’t put it past him, if his medical team supports that,” Evans said. “But it’s more important you be there for the last out in the second half of the season. … Brian understands that.

“Whether it’s us or anybody else who signs him, you have to prepare for him not to be out there if it’s not in his best interests. It may mean some alternative plans at the beginning of the year. We’ll have to wait and see.”

Just moments after the distillation of those comments were posted on Twitter, they apparently elicited a rapid response by way of Yahoo! Sports reporter Tim Brown:

“Source: Brian Wilson has been told by surgeon James Andrews that he will be cleared for spring training and ready by opening day,” Brown posted to his Twitter account.

Yes, it's clear the Giants and Wilson don't agree on much these days. Expect more back-and-forth between Wilson’s camp and the Giants, who non-tendered the right-hander on Friday rather than offer him a contract that would net him a salary of no less than $6.8 million through arbitration. Wilson was said to feel jilted by that decision, even though he pocketed $8.5 million for throwing just 56 pitches last season.

Harder to quantify is Wilson’s legacy in San Francisco and the residue of his contributions in 2010, when he contends he sacrificed his arm down the stretch before throwing the final pitch to clinch the franchise’s first World Series title since moving from New York in 1958.

With Wilson currently a free agent, the Giants’ current plan would be to use 2012 postseason hero Sergio Romo as the closer, augmented by Jeremy Affeldt and Santiago Casilla.

On a side note, prominent agent Scott Boras touched on the Giants bullpen during his annual briefing with reporters on Wednesday, saying it was an anomaly for a club to succeed without a stable, established presence in the closer role.

Boras is representing bullpen ace Rafael Soriano, of course.

Giants notes: Belt gets start in left field; Span 'day-to-day'

Giants notes: Belt gets start in left field; Span 'day-to-day'

DENVER -- Brandon Belt spent some time Sunday morning playing balls off the wall at Coors Field to get accustomed to life as a left fielder. He used to borrow Javier Lopez's glove, but with Lopez retired, Belt snagged a Chad Chop BP glove. It's an outfield glove that Chop said was a gift from Tim Lincecum, and it's apparently from Japanese Nike, whatever that means. 

Belt looked back fondly on his one day in left field last year in Arizona. 

"I was amazing," he said. "I had one Defensive Run Saved."

It's true, he did. Belt made a nice running catch that he brought up as reporters were talking to Denard Span.

"I don't remember that," Span said. 

"I ran into the fence but I stayed in the game," Belt replied. 

Span smiled and admitted he had no comeback. An X-ray came back negative after Span's collision Saturday, and he's hopeful he'll only miss a few days. If it's more than that, the Giants will put him on the 10-day DL. Span had a similar issue with his SC joint in 2012 and missed several weeks. 

"It's a little sore," he said. "Right now I'm day-to-day. The good thing is I've got range of motion."

Span said he immediately thought of Jarrett Parker as he hit the wall. He knew the injury wasn't as bad as Parker's, but "I knew something didn't feel right."

With Span out, Gorkys Hernandez starts in center and Hunter Pence is the backup there. This could be the start of some serious roster juggling. Bochy said the staff has talked about getting Belt more time in left so Buster Posey and Nick Hundley, who is swinging it well, can both start. Eduardo Nuñez is one possibility. Michael Morse and Mac Williamson are not ready yet. Drew Stubbs could be the first one up; he has looked great, according to the reports Bochy is getting. 

"We'll go day-to-day and see how it goes," Bochy said. 

--- If you missed it last night, Bochy isn't thrilled with his starting pitchers, and for good reason. You can talk about Hernandez and Chris Marrero and all that until you're blue in the face, but the resources have been spent on the rotation, and it's been an issue on and off field.

 

In series of roster moves, Mariners call up former Giants pitcher

In series of roster moves, Mariners call up former Giants pitcher

Chris Heston is back in the major leagues.

The former Giants pitcher was recalled as part of a flurry of roster moves by the struggling Mariners prior to Sunday's game against the A's in Oakland.

First baseman Dan Vogelbach was also recalled, while outfielder Leonys Martin was designated for assignment and pitcher Chase De Jong was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma.

Heston was traded by the Giants to Mariners in December for a player to be named later.

In parts of three seasons with the Giants, Heston went 13-12 with a 4.16 ERA and 148 strikeouts in 188 innings.