Q&A with Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy

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Q&A with Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy

Nov. 5, 2010GIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEO
VIDEO: PART 1 PART 2 PART 3SANFRANCISCO (AP) Giants general manager Brian Sabean and the World Serieschampions have reached out to the representatives for first basemanAubrey Huff and infielder Juan Uribe about bringing them back in 2011.Yet Sabean doesn't figure eithersituation will be resolved soon because he expects both players want torelish in the team's improbable title for a while - and get somemuch-needed rest. Huff said Wednesday he would be "an idiot" not towant to return."It doesn't appear that they're intoo much of a hurry, which is understandable," Sabean said Friday atAT&T Park. "They want to soak this in. I hope it's if and when, butyou don't know how the outside world is going to present itself. Ourbiggest challenge will be to decide how many years and for how muchmoney. It will be definitive, but I can't predict what the action willbe from the outside world on both of those players."San Francisco's payroll should exceed100 million for next season, assuming the Giants are able to reachagreements with all eight of their arbitration-eligible players - leftypitcher Jonathan Sanchez, center fielder Andres Torres, right fielderCody Ross, infielder Mike Fontenot and relievers Ramon Ramirez,Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez and Chris Ray. That doesn't factor inthe possibility of re-signing Huff and Uribe.Pablo Sandoval, coming off a downyear in his second full major league season, will show up for springtraining without a starting job. After batting .345 in 2008 and .330with 25 home runs and 90 RBIs last year - when he was the last playerleft out of the All-Star game - the free-swinging Sandoval hit .268 in2010 with 13 homers and 63 RBIs while striking out 81 times.The 24-year-old has battled hisweight and the Giants consider conditioning to be one of his problemsat the plate and on defense. This offseason, he isn't headed home toVenezuela to play winter ball. Instead, he will work out in San Diegoand then report to the Giants' Scottsdale, Ariz., training complex inJanuary.A year ago, San Francisco embarked onan "Operation Panda" fitness and nutrition routine for the out-of-shapeslugger - after his nickname of Kung Fu Panda. The new health habitswere hard to maintain, though Sabean also points to some tough times inSandoval's personal life. He went through a divorce and custody fightthat took him back home for a few days during the season.Sabean said the Giants won't put thesame kind of offseason expectations on other young players in thefuture. Namely: rookie catcher Buster Posey."I think we learned a lesson as anorganization that we probably put him too far out there in ouroffseason with the "Panda Inside" banner and we learned that can put alot of pressure on a player or, in fact, maybe in some ways it workedagainst him having to live up to that hype," Sabean said. "The reason Imention this is we're not going to make that same mistake with Posey.We're going to try to let these guys fly under the radar, because weknow the second time around they are marked men. ... This kid right nowis a hole card and he doesn't really have a position until he gets hisact in order."Manager Bruce Bochy, who still livesin San Diego, said he will be in close contact with trainers workingwith the infielder in the coming months.Sandoval played in six games thispostseason, starting at designated hitter in Game 3 of the World Seriesand going 0 for 3 with a strikeout and also grounded into a doubleplay. He made two starts in the NL division series against Atlanta andtwo more in the NLCS versus the Phillies.Sandoval grounded into an NL-high 26 double plays during the regular season for the NL West champs."It's obvious it didn't quite workout like we had hoped. And there comes a time where he's got to takeresponsibility to get himself into the type of shape he needs to bein," Bochy said. "His priority is to get back in the type of shape heneeds to be in to play third base or wherever he plays. He knows what'sat stake and there was some tough love involved here. I think the worldof Pablo, but at the same time, he's got some work to do. He knows it.If he wants to play in the major leagues he's got to get in bettershape. I was up front with him and he understands."While Sabean didn't rule out makinga run at left-handed hitter Carl Crawford, he doesn't see the Giantsbeing able to compete with the front-runners of the Angels, Red Sox andTigers.Still, he hopes players will consider San Francisco a desirable spot following the team's first title since moving West in 1958."I'll start by saying what thenation saw from our crowds, our fans and how it worked both waysbetween the people in the clubhouse and the fans and the fact that wetake great pride in saying San Francisco's a baseball town," Sabeansaid. "It can only be bigger and better and help. It's not only keepingour own players that we want to re-sign, but it's got to be adestination for a lot of people. It can only help. We hope that's afactor."

Giants Notes: Marrero hopes to be back; Posey faces Romo

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Giants Notes: Marrero hopes to be back; Posey faces Romo

SAN FRANCISCO — About 45 minutes after the Giants announced that Chris Marrero had been designated for assignment, the left fielder walked up to the locker of one of the newcomers. Marrero patted Christian Arroyo on the back and shook his hand, congratulating him for his first call-up to the big leagues. 

“That’s my boy,” he said later. “I was really happy for him.”

The Arroyo promotion and the addition of Drew Stubbs signaled the end of Marrero’s April run in the lineup. He was cut and Aaron Hill was put on the disabled list, clearing two roster spots. Just as Arroyo forced his way up with three huge weeks in Triple-A, Marrero forced his way onto the opening day roster with a monster spring that included eight homers. He had just five hits in 38 at-bats before Monday’s moves.

“The team is struggling and we’ve got to make some moves,” Marrero said. “I believe in myself and I’ll go down and get back to how I felt in spring training. This is what I’ve worked for my whole life. I lost the feel that I had in the spring. Things were a little rushed. I came in and worked hard every day to try and find it. I’m going to keep working. I haven’t lost confidence in myself.”

Marrero was put in a bit of a tough spot. He played just about every day in Scottsdale because he was trying to win a job, and when he finally did make it, some Giants coaches felt he was a bit worn down. The team’s brutal start to the season put a glaring spotlight on left field, and this move became obvious over time.

Marrero said he likes it here, and that if he isn’t claimed, he will go to Triple-A Sacramento and try to find that spring swing and get back up here. Count Bruce Bochy among those hoping it goes down that way. 

“We thought a lot of him and still do,” Bochy said. “He’s a good hitter.”

--- Arroyo had a 4.4 GPA in high school, so the Giants knew he was smart. He’s savvy, too. There’s nothing like picking up the longest-tenured player on the team, literally. After snagging a ricochet in the fourth inning last night, Arroyo kept running and lifted Cain off the grass. They then chest-bumped. 

“That just kind of happened,” Arroyo said. “He hit it, I looked at Cain going down and saw the ball, went running and got it, instincts took over. I made a throw and got the guy. It was a fun play. In that moment, I was just pumped up. It’s one of those plays you get excited over.”

Arroyo said he heard Cain yelling and he thought he was hurt, so that’s why he ran over. Cain did have an X-ray on the foot that got hit but it came back negative. 

“Christian did a great job handling himself,” Cain said. “He picked me up big-time.”

The best part of the play came hours after it was made. As Cain talked to reporters, Brandon Crawford — who was in position to scoop the grounder in the fourth — was standing at his locker, a few feet away.

“Let it go through next time,” he said softly.

--- Denard Span was out on the field Monday afternoon, but he’ll miss another two to four days with that right shoulder injury. This will truly be a day-to-day situation. If at any point the Giants feel they need coverage, Span can be put on the 10-day DL. 

--- Hill apparently felt discomfort after playing long toss on the road trip. He can swing a bat but he was going to be kept from throwing for three to four days, so he was put on the DL.

--- This spring, Posey was asked about facing Sergio Romo. Here was his long tendencies-filled answer. Posey faced Romo in the eighth and flied out. 

"It was a little weird, I'm not going to lie," he said. "I caught him for so long. It's definitely interesting being in the batter's box instead of being the plate."

Was there a nod or "hey what's up" look between the two?

"I've caught him long enough to know you don't look at him," Posey said, smiling. 

--- If you missed it, the standing ovation for Romo was a very, very cool moment. Also, here's my story on Madison Bumgarner, who spoke for the first time since his injury. And here's the first story on Arroyo, with a fun anecdote about his mom. She'll be in the stands Tuesday. And finally, my game story from last night. 

Lynch: There's interest in 49ers' No. 2 overall pick

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Lynch: There's interest in 49ers' No. 2 overall pick

The 49ers have narrowed their list of potential draft picks for the No. 2 overall selection on Thursday evening but they are also keeping alive the possibility of a trade.

“I can tell you with the No. 2 (pick), there have been calls. There’s been interest, but, I think, nothing specific,” 49ers general manager John Lynch told reporters Monday at team headquarters in Santa Clara.

“It’s coveted. When you have a pick that high, I think that’s natural.”

Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, running back Leonard Fournette and several options at defensive back are among the options most often linked to the 49ers at the No. 2 overall pick.

“We’re going to listen right up until draft day,” Lynch said. “But otherwise we’re going to pick a player at two that we feel is a cornerstone for this franchise for years to come and we’ll be very passionate about that pick and what that player can do for us moving forward.”

The 49ers have two veteran quarterbacks – Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley – currently under contract. Lynch said the 49ers have not ruled out the possibility of selecting a quarterback with the team’s top pick.

“I think we’ve stated from the beginning that a franchise quarterback is something we believe is essential to winning in this league,” Lynch said. “We hope that Hoyer and Barkley come in, and they were both brought in for a reason, but we feel like we’ll continue, always continue, to try to improve ourselves at that position.”

The coaching staff will get its first opportunity to evaluate the current roster, beginning Tuesday. With new coach Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers are allowed to conduct a voluntary three-day minicamp before the draft.

“We have a good understanding of where we are and what we’re looking for,” Lynch said. “In terms of just getting a look real quick, and whether that will change our mind on anything, but you would hate not to give guys an opportunity to go show what they are doing before you went out and did that.

“We’ll use it for what it’s worth. I don’t know how much value. I think more than anything our coaches are just really excited to get guys out on the field, so we’ll use it as such. We’ve got a couple players in here on a tryout basis and so we’re happy for that, to see if we can add some things. We’ll evaluate but continue to work on the draft process as well.”

Lynch said the 49ers have implemented changes to the team’s grading process for the draft, drawing on a model the New England Patriots set up. Vice president of player personnel Adam Peters worked in the Patriots’ scouting department before advancing to director of college scouting with the Denver Broncos. Shanahan is also familiar with the grading system from his time with the Atlanta Falcons under general manager Thomas Dimitroff, formerly a Patriots personnel executive.

“I think we tried to create an environment that’s collaborative, where people can be confident in sharing their opinions, and we had strong opinions,” Lynch said. “They didn’t always agree, but we’ve gotten to a point where there’s consensus. Ultimately, it will be Kyle and I together making those decisions and that’s kind of where we are this week.”