EXTRAS: Pill gets third chance

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EXTRAS: Pill gets third chance

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. The Giants consider Brett Pill a part of themix at first base along with Aubrey Huff and Brandon Belt. But youll findseveral more fielding gloves in Pills locker, and all of them will get a fairamount of use this spring.

Pill took some ground balls at third base during Tuesdaysworkout and also will get tested at second base and left field, Giants managerBruce Bochy said. Its all part of the plan to make Pill as versatile aspossible.

Well move him around, Bochy said. Hes got a window inthe workout where he can take some ground balls.

Pill has appeared at third base in just six career games inthe minor leagues and received six total chances. In his only chance lastseason, at Triple-A Fresno, he made an error.

Pill wasnt a dynamo at second base when he saw time therefor the Grizzlies last season, either. The Giants tried that experiment becausethey wanted to keep Pills bat in the lineup after first baseman Brandon Beltwas optioned to Fresno. But even if Pill was no better than serviceable at secondbase, he made an impression on management by showing no hesitation aboutlearning a new position. He shows up every day ready to punch the clock, with not a peep of a complaint.

If Pill makes the Giants opening-day roster, barring injuries to others, itll be as aright-handed pinch hitter and reserve player. Club officials believe that Pillcould be an asset in a bench role because his right-handed swing is simple andrepeatable. It doesnt rely on any complicated weight shifts or timingmechanisms. So he wouldnt gather rust as easily as someone like Belt, whoneeds to play every day to stay sharp.

Theres one more reason to give Pill some work at thirdbase: The Giants dont have a plethora of backup options to Pablo Sandoval.Bochy mentioned Ryan Theriot as a candidate to get innings there. EmmanuelBurriss is expected to play third base as part of his projected utility role,too.

Here are some other quick updates from Day 10 in Scottsdale:

--Freddy Sanchez (right shoulder surgery) still isntparticipating in workouts with the rest of the team. He was held out Mondaybecause his back flared up, Bochy said. Sanchez was improved enough to taketwo dozen ground balls and play catch Tuesday. But theres still no timetable for Sanchezto begin making throws to bases or participate fully in workouts; the best-casescenario calls for him to appear as a designated hitter after the first week ofexhibition games.

--Ryan Vogelsong (lower back strain) played catch for thesecond consecutive day and continues to make progress, Bochy said. He wasexcited to get his spikes on, the manager said. The hope is that Vogelsong canbegin throwing off a mound in another week. Although Vogelsong appears to bemoving past his back injury, any further setbacks would endanger his ability toopen the season as the No.4 starter.

--Matt Cain has a nice, fat welt just below his left kneefrom where Hector Sanchezs line drive pelted him on Sunday. But he took histurn throwing live batting practice on Tuesday with no issues, Bochy said.Jeremy Affeldt also threw to hitters, and managed not to tickle anyones ribcage this time.

--Prospect Heath Hembree throws hard and doesnt always knowwhere its going. "Now they know how Robb Nen used to throw, yelled outspecial assistant Shawon Dunston.

--Great observation by beat colleague Alex Pavlovic of BayArea News Group: At 22 years old, Madison Bumgarner is the youngest pitcher onthe roster. Not only that, he still ranks as the youngest pitcher in camp.Amazing.

--Buster Posey's last big league at-bat was so long ago, it came against a guy who no longer exists. Posey hit a single in the ninth inning May 25 against Florida Marlins closer Leo Nunez. The world found out in September that Nunez's real name is Juan Carlos Oviedo and he's had a few more slices of birthday cake than he was letting on. Impressively, the good folks at baseball-reference.com already updated all the box scores, replacing references to Nunez with Oviedo. Names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent, I suppose.

--It wouldnt be spring training in Scottsdale withoutWillie Mays and Mike Murphy sitting at the same circular clubhouse table,shooting the breeze. Its always neat to see a new crop of rookies stare in aweas they walk past with their equipment bags.

Most are too shy to say anything. Not top center fieldprospect Gary Brown, though.

Hi Willie, how are ya? said Brown, as he rushed through the clubhouse.

Notes: Ex-Giants not getting much traction, not expected to return

Notes: Ex-Giants not getting much traction, not expected to return

SOMEWHERE IN THE AIR, United States — On the first day of the Winter Meetings, I discovered that my hotel room for the week was a few doors down from a section of rooms and suites dedicated to the Chicago Cubs. So either I have a lot of juice with Marriott or the Cubs have very little juice. 

They were a happy group as they came in and out, and for good reason. The Cubs are the reigning champions and they’re the heavy favorites going into 2017. Every other team at the Gaylord National Resort was chasing Theo Epstein and his guys. The Giants, after landing closer Mark Melancon, feel they have the firepower to compete with the Cubs. 

The Melancon move is the big one of the Giants’ offseason and it obscured just about everything else. Here are some other notes, quotes and rumors from five days at the Winter Meetings: 

--- Bobby Evans said the Aroldis Chapman deal ($86 million) came in right around where the Giants expected. The two sides never met in person, and while the Giants kept tabs on the Chapman market, he was always viewed as an unlikely choice. Part of that has to do with a 30-game suspension last season for a domestic violence incident. Evans said the off-field stuff was “not lost on us.” The Giants knew many of their fans were strongly opposed to a Chapman deal. 

“Our hearts and minds were really focused on one guy,” Evans said as he discussed the closer market. It was Melancon, and the Giants got the guy who will now head a bullpen that blew 30 saves during the regular season. 

Evans took some good-natured shots at that number, by the way. He pointed out that many of those “blown saves” came in the sixth or seventh innings and the Giants won a lot of those games. The more important number for the front office was ninth-inning blown saves that led to losses. The Giants lost nine such games, including five in September. 

“That’s the difference,” Evans said. “If you reduce that number to five or four, then that’s maybe the difference in your division.”

The Giants finished four games behind the Dodgers.

--- Joe Maddon said his biggest fear in the postseason was facing Johnny Cueto in Game 5.

--- Angel Pagan was not at the ballpark for the final game of the season. He had an injection in his injured back and was allowed to stay home to try and recover. The Giants told Pagan to prepare for a Game 5, but some team officials believe his postseason was probably over regardless of how far the Giants got. 

--- It was a little surprising, by the way, how little mention there was of Pagan and other Giants free agents. Pagan was briefly connected to the Orioles at one point but otherwise his name has not come up. There are no Gregor Blanco rumors, and nothing significant with Sergio Romo, Jake Peavy, Javier Lopez or Santiago Casilla. 

Giants people who have talked to Romo say he has at least a couple of offers and he’s confident he’ll find a good fit. Lopez is said to be headed for retirement unless an East Coast team (he lives in Georgia) makes a great offer. Peavy is said to be ready to fight for a job as a non-roster invitee in spring training. It seems the majority of the ex-Giants might have to go the non-roster route. Currently, none are expected to return to San Francisco. 

--- Gordon Beckham is technically a “Giants free agent” and several people in the clubhouse approacedh management to relay what a positive impact Beckham had in his week there. He is the kind of energetic, ball-busting presence that helps over a 162-game season, and everyone in the organization loved having him around, but they’re looking for power bats right now when it comes to the bench. 

--- Ramiro Pena is close to a deal to return as a non-roster invitee. The Giants will also add a catcher for Triple-A depth. They’re selecting from a group that includes former Dodgers and Cubs catcher Tim Federowicz. 

--- There will be new managers up and down the minor league system. The affiliates are expected to announce those choices soon. 

--- At the risk of wiping out a bunch of future "The Player to be Named Later has not been named" tweets, here's how it works: The Giants gave the Mariners a small list of prospects they'll watch in spring training, and they'll scout them and choose one player as the return for Chris Heston. It will not be a significant prospect. 

--- Under Armour will be the exclusive uniform provider of MLB starting in 2020, and all jerseys will have a small Under Armour logo on the chest. No exceptions, from the awful Diamondbacks jerseys to the Yankees pinstripes to the Giants. It was bound to happen eventually. The Giants have some of Under Armour’s most prominent baseball players, including Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and Joe Panik. 

--- The Giants never had any intention of pursuing a reunion with Pablo Sandoval. If they can add depth at third, they will, but for now Eduardo Nuñez is slated to be the opening day starter. Keep in mind, too, that Christian Arroyo will primarily play third base in the minors from now on. 

--- Bill Hayes, who was relieved of his duties as first-base coach, will stay with the big league staff. His exact role has not been determined. Roberto Kelly will not return in a different role. 

--- CSN did a bunch of one-on-one interviews this week, and two of them — Evans and Bruce Bochy — are available here as podcasts. If you’re a fan of the podcast, please consider hitting subscribe on iTunes. It’s good for the pod. 

--- In case you missed it: Here's an explanation of why the Giants are unlikely to add an expensive outfielder. The Giants currently have four players set for the WBC. Hensley Meulens will manage the Netherlands. Ryan Vogelsong helped Melancon choose the Giants. Bochy on if he has any postseason regrets. 

--- Melancon will be introduced at a 1 p.m. press conference on Friday. It will air on CSN Bay Area and you can stream it on this website. 
 

Wife of former Giants outfielder Andres Torres passes away

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Twitter/BengieMolina1

Wife of former Giants outfielder Andres Torres passes away

Former Giants outfielder Andres Torres lost his wife on Wednesday evening.

Soannie Torres passed away from cancer.

Andres played for the Giants from 2009 to 2011 and again in 2013.

During the Giants' World Series run in 2010, he hit .268 with 16 home runs and 63 RBI over 139 regular season games.

In the World Series against the Rangers, he batted .318 and hit a home run.

Torres was the 2010 winner of the Willie Mac Award, -- given annually to the Giants' most inspirational player.

To donate to the Soannie Torres Memorial Fund, click here.