Urban: Bochy's faith in Huff rewarded for a night

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Urban: Bochy's faith in Huff rewarded for a night

Aug. 9, 2011

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Mychael Urban
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SAN FRANCISCO -- The easy mark on Bruce Bochy's back, the one disgruntled fans want to pepper with poison darts when their boys in orange and black are laboring through one of the inevitable slogs of slop that mark every big-league team's 162-game grind, is the one with "I Heart Veterans" in red cursive flowing over it, lower-left to upper-right.It's been widely viewed as the man's Achilles' Heel since he arrived in San Francisco. He sticks with the long of tooth too long. Gives them too many chances. Too much rope. Doesn't trust anyone who grew up with a Sony Playstation in their bedroom.RELATED: Giants Insider gallery -- Grateful for a win
It's not an unfair tag, either. Ask any Giants fan to throw out the name of a salty vet that Bochy's stood by to his detriment over the years and you'll get a rat-a-rat-tat of Roberts-Klesko-Winn-Rowand.This year, those fans have added a Huff. As in Aubrey, the man who endeared himself to the region with a red thong and a red-hot bat in 2010, but quickly worked his way out of favor in 2011 with a bat that hasn't yet justified the 22 million raise he got in the afterglow of the World Series.

Bochy sticks to his guns, though. Just like he sticks to his veterans. And while he never got the return for which he hoped in investing his own hope and faith in Roberts-Klesko-Winn-Rowand, you have to admit that since the midpoint of last season he's ended up looking smart in the end on pretty much everything he's tried.Might that ring true with Huff? For a night, a relatively easy win over the visiting Pirates, it sure did.RECAP: Bumgarner, Huff leads Giants to 6-0 victory
After chatting with the media during his daily session prior to batting practice Tuesday, Bochy still seemed in a talkative mood. Taking advantage of such, I asked if he had a minute. He had about seven, and maybe four of them -- four minutes is longer than you think -- were spent talking about Huff.About how much he still believed in him. About how much he liked his swing of late. About the quality of his at-bats being obscured by the team's overall struggles."I'm really not worried about Aubrey," Bochy said. "He's gonna be fine. You watch."If you watched Tuesday's game, you watched Huff's first big game since the first game after the All-Star break. Run-scoring double, towering homer, rally-extending single.Bochy wasn't the only one who called it, either.Monday during batting practice, after Huff put together a particularly impressive round, he responded to a quick compliment with, "I feel pretty good in there now. Finally."That's probably what Giants fans were thinking: Finally.

Source: Kings, Pelicans have discussed possible Cousins trade

Source: Kings, Pelicans have discussed possible Cousins trade

Nothing is ever a sure thing when it comes to the Sacramento Kings. After digging deep into negotiations with DeMarcus Cousins on a new five-year, $219 million contract extension, a source has confirmed to CSN California that Sacramento has had discussions with the New Orleans Pelicans on a possible trade for the All-Star big man.

No deal is imminent, but according to a person with knowledge of the situation, talks between the Kings and the Pelicans took place over the weekend and there is a 50/50 chance that something will materialize before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.

The Kings went to great lengths a few weeks back to ensure Cousins that rumors of a potential trade were false, even meeting with the 26-year-old big and his agents in Sacramento to crush published reports.

Sacramento's GM Vlade Divac even went as far as to tell ESPN’s Marc Stein, “We’re not trading DeMarcus.”

Cousins spoke glowingly of Sacramento in his media sessions at All-Star weekend in New Orleans, reiterating to reporters that he would love to finish his career in a Kings uniform.

The Pelicans are a strange trade partner. Anthony Davis is the only blue chip player on the roster, but there is no way New Orleans is giving up their superstar in a deal. There are other assets that Sacramento might be interested in.

According to sources, the Kings attempted to move up in the 2016 NBA Draft to select shooting guard Buddy Hield, and point guard Jrue Holiday has admirers in the organization. The Pelicans also own all of their first-round draft picks moving forward.

Any team trading for Cousins would likely want assurances from the center/forward that he intends to sign an extension during the summer. But they would be limited to a four-year deal, not the “designated player” five-year extension Cousins has been looking to sign in Sacramento.

Cousins is having his best season in Sacramento, averaging 27.8 points, 10.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists under Dave Joerger.

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical was first to report the potential deal.

A's spring training update Day 6: Davis savors winter in Oakland

A's spring training update Day 6: Davis savors winter in Oakland

MESA, Ariz. — Khris Davis enjoyed quite an offseason travel itinerary, checking out Toronto, taking in the beaches of Hawaii and dining on lobster in Belize.

However, it was the time spent in his adopted hometown of Oakland that most struck a chord with the A’s left fielder. After finishing his first season with the A’s, Davis followed through on his plan to make his offseason home in Oakland, and he was glad he did.

“I got to just feel the heart of the city,” he said upon arriving at camp Sunday. “That was basically the purpose of why I was there. … I wanted to feel Oakland. I love it, honestly. I love the city.”

He trained at Dogtown Athletic, a gym in West Oakland. He took part in the A’s holiday party for kids at the Oakland Zoo, joined by A’s Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, who grew up in the city.

“Just to feel these kids’ happiness,” Davis said. “They didn’t look at me as a baseball player. They just looked at me as a role model kind of.”

It should be music to the ears of A’s fans that the team’s most dangerous hitter has a love affair with the city he plays in. If the A’s ever entertained the idea of trying to sign Davis to a multi-year extension, and that’s purely hypothetical here, it would help that Davis feels comfortable in his surroundings.

Even when he described Oakland in edgy terms, such as when he said it “has its dark side,” he seemed to find it endearing.

In return, Davis felt the love from the fan base in 2016, hitting a career-high 42 homers with a team-best 102 RBI. That was despite the awful start he got off to, hitting .143 and mustering just one RBI over his first 12 games.

Obviously, any chances the A’s have of improving last year’s American League-worst offense rely on the 29-year-old Davis having another big year. But over-analysis is one thing he tries to avoid.

“I don’t want to get caught up in last year — the slow start and the strong finish, whatever,” he said. “However it was, I’m just ready to do this year.”

Davis decided to back out of his plan to play for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, saying his main priority was preparing for his A’s season.

“My main focus is to perform for the organization,” he said. “I feel like I want to get off on the right foot this year.”

NOTEWORTHY: Heavy showers continued to pelt Mesa on Sunday, spoiling the A’s first full-squad workout. The hitters were relegated to swinging in the cages and playing catch, while pitchers were scheduled for a day off from throwing on the mound anyway.

“If ever there was a day, at least for the pitchers, that you don’t need to (work out), it’s today,” manager Bob Melvin said. “But when you have everybody there on the first day, you wanna get out on the field and do everything. Hopefully we can incorporate everything tomorrow.”

The A’s have a whopping 70 players in camp, more than in any other spring Melvin can remember as a big league manager. He addressed the full team in a meeting Sunday morning.

His message?

“We’re gonna have to outwork, out-hustle everybody like we have in the past,” he said, “and get back to playing the game with the same tenacity that we did a couple years ago.”

FAMILIAR FACE: Longtime A’s second baseman Mark Ellis is back for the second year in a row as a spring infield instructor. The plan is for Ellis to spend a week with the team now, then another week later in camp.

“I’ll take Mark Ellis as many days as I can have him,” Melvin said.

LIGHTER SIDE: Nursing his broken right foot, starting pitcher Daniel Mengden has been making his way through the clubhouse on a knee scooter in order to keep pressure off his foot.

Apparently, it looks more fun than it really is.

“I contribute to society Friday, when I can start walking again,” Mengden quipped.