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With Huff in fold, Giants offer Uribe arbitration

With Huff in fold, Giants offer Uribe arbitration

Nov. 24, 2010

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URBAN: HUFF SIGNING ENSURES CONTINUITY

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Aubrey Huff flew over San Francisco and was reminded again why he loves it so much.

Huff took a short break to decompressafter the World Series, then wasted little time accomplishing hisoffseason plan: re-signing with the Giants.

Huff is staying put with SanFrancisco just as he'd hoped, agreeing to a 22 million, two-yearcontract with the World Series champions Tuesday. He receives 10million in each of the next two seasons, and the Giants have a 10million club option for 2013 with a 2 million buyout.

"There was a big interest out there.But in the end, it wasn't going to take much to come back here for me,"Huff said at AT&T Park. "Some other team would have had to blow meaway with like a four-year deal or something and a lot, a lot of doughto stay away from here."

The Giants matched a similarly structured offer from another club - knowing full well Huff wanted to stay.

"We paid the piper, and you can'tlook back," general manager Brian Sabean said during a conference call."He was obviously underpaid for what he did for us last year. ... Hecertainly did his part and received a just reward for it."Later Tuesday, the Giants offeredinfielder Juan Uribe salary arbitration. Players offered arbitrationhave until next Tuesday to accept. Uribe batted .248 with 24 homers and85 RBIs in his second season with San Francisco.

Huff hit .290 with a team-leading 26home runs and 86 RBIs while playing in 157 games, then batted .268 withone homer and eight RBIs in the postseason as the Giants won theirfirst title since 1954.

Considering the mutual interest, itwas no surprise a deal got done quickly, less than a month after theclub beat Texas in five games to capture the city's first championshipsince moving West in 1958.

"Obviously with a big contract comesa big responsibility on the field and in the community," Huff said."I'll take pride in that."

The 33-year-old Huff reached theplayoffs for the first time in his 11-year big league career. He hit atwo-run homer in a 4-0 Game 4 World Series victory, then laid down hisfirst career sacrifice bunt in the clincher.

I've played nine years of losingbaseball for not-so-good teams and this is the most fun I've hadplaying baseball in my life," Huff said. "To be able to come back andtry to have a chance to defend this title which we earned this year,and to do it in this great city and this great organization, it'sactually a big moment for me."

San Francisco signed Huff - hislucky red rally thong also certain to come back in 2011 - to a 3million, one-year contract last January to provide a boost in themiddle of the batting order. And the Giants got it.

"He's a loose character but hedoesn't take himself too seriously. He takes the game seriously,"manager Bruce Bochy said. "He was such an important piece of the club.You don't have very many players who can do what Aubrey can do, playfirst and the outfield and the left-handed bat."

The Giants were counting on Huff returning to his 2008 form, when he hit .304 with 32 homers and a career-best 108 RBIs.

He certainly showed plenty ofimprovement, not to mention versatility playing both first and leftfield, in bouncing back from a career-worst .241 batting average in2009 with Baltimore and Detroit.

"Being flexible keeps you around the game longer," Huff said.

Bringing back Huff was an importantfirst step in keeping the winning roster largely intact to try to makeanother deep postseason run.

"It was critical for the lineup. Thegood teams, they really have continuity," Sabean said. "We want tocreate that through retention. The more of these guys we can keeptogether the more strength we have in numbers. It will be interestingto see what we can do to retain our own people to improve the lineupfrom what we started with at the beginning of the season."

Now, Sabean turns his attention tobringing back shortstop and third baseman Uribe. Sabean said the clubalso had discussions Tuesday regarding other available shortstops tofill the void left by departed World Series MVP Edgar Renteria, whomight retire.

"So this may take some time to getsorted out," Sabean said of Uribe. "I think both parties are willing todo something faster, we're just not talking the same language inballpark figures. You have to be patient because we like the player ...but you do have to do business at hand and that's why we're jugglingthe trade scenario. I really don't know what the outside world is goingto bring to him offer wise."

San Francisco also has eightarbitration-eligible players. While Sabean has said it would be nice totender contracts to all, that might not be realistic. Keeping Cody Rossis a priority. The NL championship series MVP, acquired on a waiverclaim from Florida on Aug. 22, hit .288 with three homers and sevenRBIs in 33 games and emerged as an unlikely postseason star.

His figure is not going to affectthe payroll," Sabean said. "We're willing to make that sacrifice to seewhat we can get done."

In addition, third baseman PabloSandoval, coming off a down year in his second full major leagueseason, has decided to train in Arizona during the offseason instead ofsplitting time between the team's spring training facility and SanDiego. The Giants want him to lose weight. The free-swinging Sandovalhit .268 in 2010 with 13 homers and 63 RBIs while striking out 81times.

'Piss poor' seventh inning haunts Giants at Dodger Stadium

'Piss poor' seventh inning haunts Giants at Dodger Stadium

LOS ANGELES — The Giants put together a long rally in the top of the seventh inning Friday, scoring three runs to take a 4-2 lead. In the bottom of the inning, Matt Moore walked the leadoff hitter on four pitches. 

“You don’t deserve anything really that good after something like that,” Moore said. “That’s piss poor.”

Nothing good came after the walk, as Moore expected. That man, Austin Barnes, would come around to score. Three more Dodgers would, too. It added up to a 6-4 win for the Dodgers. For the best team in the National League, this was a familiar feeling. For the most disappointing team in baseball, the same was true. 

The Giants have played so well against the Dodgers this season, but in one inning at Chavez Ravine, they fell apart. They looked exactly like the team that has bottomed out over the last calendar year, and none of the pitchers who threw in the inning were spared. 

Moore had a good night in general, and his second half is showing signs of promise. But he was left angry with the result, and much of that anger was directed at himself. An hour after it happened, Moore was still stewing over the four pitches to Barnes and the double he gave up to Joc Pederson.

“You’ve got to make him earn his way on there,” Moore said of Barnes. “I’ve got to be better than that in the seventh.”

Moore’s night ended when Yasiel Puig entered the on-deck circle. Puig hasn’t hit lefties this year, but Bruce Bochy didn’t like the look of some pitches Moore had thrown in the inning, and he was pulled after 96 pitches. George Kontos entered and got Puig, a righty-destroyer, to hit an RBI grounder to short. Then he hung a 3-2 slider to Chris Taylor that was knocked into left for a game-tying double. 

“He’s been very good at times,” Bochy said of Kontos. “But the breaking ball that he’s left up, that’s the one that’s hurting him.”

Josh Osich was called upon and put a curveball on a tee. Corey Seager blasted it and that was that. The Giants sent Steven Okert down to the minors last weekend, leaving Osich as their lefty in the ‘pen. Bochy reiterated that he needs more from the young pair. Neither has taken hold of a long-term job since Will Smith went down to Tommy John surgery. 

“It’s their time,” Bochy said. “We need one of them to step up.”

Perhaps another reliever has. Kyle Crick struck out two in an impressive eighth, lowering his ERA to 1.88. It was an inning with less at stake, and that’s been the norm for Crick. He has pitched 12 times in the big leagues and 11 of the games have been losses. The lone win was a 9-2 blowout. 

The Giants have said they want to get Crick into higher-pressure spots. The inning before his on Friday night might have accelerated that plan. 

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's fifth straight loss

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's fifth straight loss

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND — While the Minnesota Twins are looking to claw their way into Wild Card contention, the A’s immediate goal is to get manager Bob Melvin his 1,000th career victory.

That is proving quite task, as Oakland lost its fifth consecutive game Friday since their skipper posted win No. 999. Rookie Daniel Gossett didn’t make it out of the fourth inning in a 6-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins before 17,727 fans at the Coliseum. The A’s also squandered a bases-loaded opportunity with no outs in the second, a bad omen as the home team lost for the ninth time in the past 11 games.

Twins lefty Jaime Garcia, making his first start since being acquired earlier in the week from Atlanta, worked 6 2/3 innings to get the victory. There is speculation about whether Minnesota, which came in having lost seven of its past 10, might turn around and flip Garcia to a contender. That remains to be seen.

The A’s have decisions to make themselves as Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline approaches, the main one being whether to deal No. 1 starter Sonny Gray, who is scheduled to pitch Sunday’s series finale against former Athletic Bartolo Colon.

GOSSETT’S STRUGGLES: Gossett is trying to prove he should stick in the rotation as Jharel Cotton and Kendall Graveman near a return to the rotation. But the right-hander lasted just 3 2/3 innings and gave up nine hits and four earned runs with three walks and two wild pitches. Gossett’s ERA rose to 5.74 after his ninth start since being recalled from the minors.

JEKYLL AND HYDE ‘D’: What to make of this A’s defense? On Friday, third baseman Matt Chapman turned in one of the finest plays of Oakland’s season, making a diving backhand stop of Miguel Sano’s sharp grounder and beginning a dazzling 5-4-3 double play. Second baseman Adam Rosales made a strong throw to home to complete an 8-4-2 putout. Matt Joyce made a great running catch in right field. But the A’s also committed two errors. That included a fourth-inning sequence where Marcus Semien sailed a throw to first base for what could have been ruled an error. Ryon Healy’s throw home was in time to get Brian Dozier, breaking from third, but catcher Ryan Lavarnway couldn’t hold on to the ball to make the tag.

A LONG TIME COMING: The A’s cut into a 5-0 deficit in the fourth when Lavarnway doubled home two runs. It marked Lavarnway’s first major league hit since Oct. 4, 2015, when he was with Atlanta. He was called up from the minors Thursday when Josh Phegley joined the 10-day disabled list with a strained oblique.

GETTING CLOSER: Graveman is scheduled to start Saturday for Triple-A Nashville, and Melvin hinted that his Opening Night starter could come off the disabled list after that outing.

NOT THAT YOU ASKED, BUT …: When the A’s lost four straight in Toronto, it marked the second time they’ve been swept in a four-game series this season. That hadn’t happened since 1997, when Oakland got swept in three different four-game series.