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.

A's find themselves in decent shape with Graveman, Gray possibly returning

A's find themselves in decent shape with Graveman, Gray possibly returning

OAKLAND — Some 10-9 records are better than others, and so it is that the A’s can hit the road for a nine-game trip feeling pretty good about themselves.

Their just-completed homestand began with Opening Night starter Kendall Graveman leaving a game early and landing on the disabled list. That was coupled with news that shortstop Marcus Semien would be lost for two months or more with a fractured wrist.

The A’s responded to those developments with a five-game winning streak that was halted by Sunday’s 11-1 rout at the hands of the Seattle Mariners.

The A’s went 5-4 on the homestand, holding their ground after a heavy dose of injury misfortune, and now the outlook changes just a bit. The focus shifts from the players joining the D.L. to those that could soon return to provide a boost.

Graveman, who has a strained right shoulder, is scheduled to throw off the mound Monday. If that goes well, expect him to be activated sometime in the early portion of the upcoming trip. Sonny Gray, who has been out since injuring a side muscle early in Cactus League games, is set to throw Thursday for Triple-A Nashville after an encouraging rehab outing Saturday for Single-A Stockton.

If Gray comes out of Thursday’s start well, look for the 2015 All-Star to join the active roster and pitch sometime against Minnesota in the final series of this road trip. Nothing can be taken for granted until both pitchers actually return healthy, but it’s a promising scenario to possibly add two starters of their caliber as April turns to May.

“I think any time you look up and you’re over .500 and you’ve had a great homestand and you’re missing your best two pitchers, that’s something to be pleased about,” catcher Stephen Vogt said. “Getting Kendall back is huge. And Sonny obviously did great last night, and felt great, which is more important than the results.

“We’re excited to get those two guys back but in the meantime, we’re gonna continue to keep playing the way we are because we’re playing really good baseball and we’ll just keep things rolling.”

It was clear early on Sunday that a five-game winning streak wouldn’t reach six. The Mariners led 2-0 in the third when Andrew Triggs missed location on a 1-0 sinker and Taylor Motter launched a grand slam over the wall in left-center.

Triggs, who excelled at missing the fat part of bats over his first three starts, didn’t have the feel for his cutter Sunday. When he fell behind to Motter, the cutter is normally a pitch he would have gone to had it been working for him.

“I wasn’t commanding well,” he said. “I didn’t wanna go 1-0 to 2-0. I felt better going with the sinker. I got it down, but missed location in and out. In a perfect world, the cutter would have been great to get a groundout.”

But to this point, the A’s rotation has held firm without Gray and with the short-term absence of Graveman. Perhaps the biggest test moving forward is whether an offense that is tied for the American League lead in extra-base hits can continue to produce consistently with Semien’s absence, particularly without anyone having established themselves as the regular leadoff man.

A’s manager Bob Melvin likes what he’s seen from his team in light of the injuries.

“Every game we go out there there’s an expectation to win,” Melvin said, “and when you win multiple games in a row, you get that feeling and it’s a little more significant. So hopefully we can carry that on to the road trip. As a group, we’ve been able to manage these injuries here recently, and once we start getting guys back it’s gonna be a good thing for us.”

Instant Replay: Mariners mash Triggs, A's win streak ends at five

Instant Replay: Mariners mash Triggs, A's win streak ends at five

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND – That pristine ERA wasn’t going to last forever for Andrew Triggs, and it was no secret why things took a wayward turn for the A’s right-hander Sunday.

His command deserted him in the top of the third against Seattle, and that led to a disastrous inning that told the story in an 11-1 loss that halted the A’s five-game winning streak.

Triggs, who hadn’t allowed a single earned run in winning his first three starts of 2017, walked Robinson Cano to load the bases in the third, then issued another free pass to Nelson Cruz that forced in a run and put the Mariners up 2-0. After striking out Daniel Vogelbach, Triggs caught too much plate with a 1-0 pitch and Taylor Motter drilled it for a grand slam that made it 6-0 and put this one out of reach with the way Yovani Gallardo was pitching.

Gallardo (1-2) gave up just four hits over 6 1/3 innings as the Mariners prevented the A’s from completing their first home sweep of a four-game series since July 3-6, 2014, when they took four from Toronto.

Seattle turned it into a rout as Nelson Cruz belted a three-run homer in the seventh off Raul Alcantara, who was left in to eat up innings and surrendered two***more runs in the ninth.

Triggs (3-1), in a season-opening rotation for the first time in his major league career, opened the year by throwing 17 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run. That was the longest such season-opening streak by a starting pitcher in Oakland history. His ERA went from 0.00 to 2.42 with Sunday’s outing.

The A’s (10-9) finished 5-4 on their nine-game homestand that was shortened by one game due to a rainout Easter Sunday.

Starting pitching report

The first batter of the game was a bad omen for Triggs as he hit Jarrod Dyson to put the speedster on base. Dyson stole second and Cano knocked a run-scoring single to right field that quickly brought Triggs’ earned-run streak to an end. The right-hander was charged with six earned runs over 4 2/3 innings. He gave up five hits with four strikeouts and the two walks.

Bullpen report

Daniel Coulombe entered in relief of Triggs in the fifth and provided 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Then Alcantara, who was replaced in the rotation by Jesse Hahn on the last road trip, was left in to soak up three innings to save the bullpen any more wear and tear in a lopsided game. He gave up five runs in three innings and walked two.

At the plate

The A’s, after falling behind early, couldn’t muster anything against Gallardo, who the Mariners acquired in an offseason trade from the Orioles. Their only run came in the seventh, when Ryon Healy led off with a double, moved to third on Trevor Plouffe’s single and scored on Matt Joyce’s sacrifice fly off reliever Tony Zych.

In the field

Neither team committed an error, making it five games in a row that the A’s have gone errorless. Gallardo was aided by an outstanding diving snag by third baseman Mike Freeman in the sixth. Matt Olson, drawing a start in right field for the A’s, made a sliding catch that turned into a double play when Daniel Vogelbach wandered too far off first base.

Attendance

The homestand finale drew 24,165 fans.

Up next

The A’s take Monday off and then begin a nine-game road trip against the Angels on Tuesday. The opener pits Jesse Hahn (1-1, 3.00) against J.C. Ramirez (2-2, 6.46). On Wednesday, it’s Sean Manaea (1-1, 4.43) against Matt Shoemaker (0-1, 4.98). Then Jharel Cotton (2-2, 4.76) matches up against Ricky Nolasco (1-2, 4.76) in Thursday’s finale. All three games begin at 7:05 p.m. and air on NBC Sports California.