Mental acuity helping Gregorio progress

Understanding of development process complements young righty's quality pitches

Mental acuity helping Gregorio progress

SAN FRANCISCO -- If knowledge is power, then right-hander Joan Gregorio is among the most mentally fortified pitchers in the Giants' farm system.

Gregorio, ranked seventh among Giants prospects by MLBPipeline.com, demonstrated during a recent interview that he has a firm grasp on what he must do to develop his skills and continue advancing toward the Major Leagues.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants clear any potential arbitration hurdles

Club agrees to 2017 terms with Nunez, Smith, Kontos

Giants clear any potential arbitration hurdles

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants completed salary-arbitration season without a fuss Friday by agreeing to terms with left-hander Will Smith, right-hander George Kontos and infielder Eduardo Nunez on one-year contracts.

The team thus avoided potentially adversarial arbitration hearings with all six of their players eligible for the process. Third baseman Conor Gillaspie, infielder Ehire Adrianza and right-hander Cory Gearrin made one-year deals with the Giants earlier this offseason.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Is Gorkys the Giants' 4th outfielder?

Beat reporter Chris Haft answers questions from fans

Inbox: Is Gorkys the Giants' 4th outfielder?

Who is the backup in center field when Denard Span needs a day off? It seems to me that not only is left field a question mark but so is the fourth outfield spot. I hope that the current guys on the roster are up to the task, but other than Gorkys Hernandez, none of them have center field experience. What do you see as the solution?
-- Chris K., Darmstadt, Germany

I believe you answered your own question. Right now, Hernandez appears to be the leading candidate to claim not only the backup center fielder's role but also the fourth outfielder's spot (they're kind of one and the same, right?). Hernandez, 29, has made 51 career appearances in center, starting 42, for the Pirates, Marlins and Giants while dividing his time between Triple-A and the Majors since 2012. He has not been charged with an error in 84 big league games.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants, Gillaspie avoid arbitration with one-year deal

Giants, Gillaspie avoid arbitration with one-year deal

The Giants have reached a one-year agreement with third baseman Conor Gillaspie, avoiding arbitration. The deal is worth $1.4 million according to MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman.

Gillaspie returned to San Francisco, the team that originally drafted him, last season. He has also played for the White Sox and Angels. The 29-year-old hit .262/.307/.440 with six home runs and 25 RBIs in 205 plate appearances.

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Manny Randhawa is reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants could make another bold move for '17

Additions at 3B or LF may be tempting before Spring Training

Giants could make another bold move for '17

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants realize they have a window of opportunity that must not slam shut on their fingers.

So nobody should be surprised if they sacrifice short-term fiscal prudence for the potential of a big long-term payoff and celebrate the end of the offseason by acquiring a proven third baseman or left fielder. Those are the positions where the club can particularly use an upgrade as the 2017 season approaches.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Spring is in the air: First workout dates announced

Spring is in the air: First workout dates announced

Despite the frigid temperatures throughout many big league cities, Major League Baseball's announcement Tuesday of the first workout dates of Spring Training should be enough to warm the hearts of baseball fans everywhere.

The following are the first Spring Training workout dates, subject to change, both for pitchers and catchers and full squads of the 30 Major League clubs. 

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See color footage of the Giants' final Polo Grounds game

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See color footage of the Giants' final Polo Grounds game

From 1883 to 1957, the New York Giants played their home games at the Polo Grounds -- a grand, sprawling stadium originally built for polo just north of Central Park in Manhattan. (Well, technically three different Polo Grounds -- the first two sites were eventually demolished -- but we digress.)

The team won 17 NL pennants and five World Series Champions and saw some of the game's most iconic moments played out on its hallowed grass. Then, in 1957, it all came to an end. Seeking a new stadium, majority owner Horace Stoneham found a suitor in San Francisco, and that summer, he announced his decision -- the Giants were headed west.

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Giants interested in Korean INF Hwang

Giants interested in Korean INF Hwang

The Giants continue to show interest in Korean free-agent infielder Jae-gyun Hwang, sources told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi on Tuesday.

Hwang, 29, is an unrestricted free agent and won't require a posting fee.

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Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Gillaspie deserving of everyday job?

Beat reporter Chris Haft fields questions from Giants fans

Inbox: Gillaspie deserving of everyday job?

Can Eduardo Nunez play left field while Conor Gillaspie starts at third base? It seems that Gillaspie deserves an everyday shot.
-- Obrey B., Beaumont, Calif.

Though Nunez is capable of filling in as a left fielder in a utility role, using him as a regular outfielder might be kind of risky. Of the 404 Major League games he has started, 18 were as an outfielder -- 15 in left, three in right. Left field at AT&T Park is the least challenging of the three outfield positions. But given their reliance on pitching and defense, the Giants can't afford to have any of their position players undergoing on-the-job training, which likely would be the case for Nunez if the Giants shoved him in left field.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pence once got way too intense about hot yoga

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Pence once got way too intense about hot yoga

Nothing in life is more important than friendship. That's the lesson of hundreds of movies, TV shows, and now, a story over at The Players' Tribune. Mark Melancon and Hunter Pence got to know each other when the two were teammates on the Astros, and when he signed with the Giants in December, Pence was one of the first players to reach out to him.

Of course, Melancon decided to repay this kindness by sharing an amazing story about Pence's experience with hot yoga. Pence accompanied Melancon to a class, and, well, we'll let Melancon tell you what happened. 

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Former Giants shortstop Spencer dead at 88

Former Giants shortstop Spencer dead at 88

SAN FRANCISCO -- Daryl Spencer, who hit the first home run in San Francisco Giants history, died Monday, according to a report in the Wichita Eagle. He was 88.

Playing shortstop and batting sixth, Spencer went deep against Los Angeles right-hander Don Drysdale with one out in the fourth inning at Seals Stadium in the inaugural Major League game on the West Coast. The date was April 15, 1958, less than a year after the Giants and Dodgers announced plans to leave New York for California.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Has Blanco's Giants tenure come to an end?

Has Blanco's Giants tenure come to an end?

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' recent outfield additions may have dashed Gregor Blanco's hopes of returning to the ballclub.

Blanco appeared in 649 games for the Giants from 2012-16 as a part-time starter and top outfield reserve. Though he's a free agent, he openly declared his loyalty to the Giants after last season ended. "This is my home," he said.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Watch Griffey, Bonds and Lofton dunk in these videos

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Watch Griffey, Bonds and Lofton dunk in these videos

There is a lot of pointless nostalgic navel-gazing for the '90s. Nobody really misses the "Macarena," snap bracelets and those giant baggy suits that made Agent Mulder look like three small children stacked on top of each other. 

This is not one of those. Because in the early '90s, there was the outrageously amazing and amazingly outrageous Foot Locker Slam Fest. Rather than a dunk contest featuring basketball players who are, you know, paid to dunk orange orbs, these events featured superstars from other sports like football, track and field, and, of course, baseball. 

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Seeking HOF push, Kent played game 'right way'

Seeking HOF push, Kent played game 'right way'

NEW YORK -- After Jeff Kent retired from baseball in 2008, Dusty Baker -- his manager for six years when both were with the Giants -- approached him and said, "I expect you to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame."

One could understand why Baker thinks highly of Kent. A five-time All-Star, Kent hit 377 career home runs, and is the only second baseman to have six consecutive seasons with 100 or more RBIs. (He reached the mark eight separate times). His .290 career batting average is higher than Hall of Famers such as Ryne Sandberg and Joe Morgan.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Left field, setup roles wild cards for 2017 Giants

Returns to form by Cain, Pence would help San Francisco's outlook

Left field, setup roles wild cards for 2017 Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants accomplished their primary offseason goal earlier this month by signing closer Mark Melancon to a four-year, $62 million contract.

Next comes an unavoidable challenge: generating enough leads for Melancon to protect.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

The Hall of Fame Case: Edgar Renteria

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The Hall of Fame Case: Edgar Renteria

The likes of Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines -- and even first-timers like Vladimir Guerrero or Pudge Rodriguez -- shouldn't have too much trouble racking up National Baseball Hall of Fame votes. But there are plenty of other players on the 2017 ballot who require a little more voter-cajoling. Players that may not have the on-field resume, but deserve an impassioned Hall of Fame case nonetheless. Players like …

Edgar Enrique Renteria.

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Dominant defense defines Giants' double-sided '16

Crawford, Posey, Cueto stand out as second-half bullpen blunders weaken first-half strength

Dominant defense defines Giants' double-sided '16

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' first-half swagger yielded to a second-half stagger in 2016, as the team with the Major Leagues' best record at the All-Star break barely qualified for the postseason before losing to the eventual World Series-champion Cubs in the National League Division Series.

San Francisco's season ended with a 6-5 loss in Game 4 against Chicago, which scored four ninth-inning runs against the Giants' helpless relievers. But the bullpen, which amassed a franchise-record 30 blown saves, wasn't the ballclub's lone source of trouble.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Is health essential to a championship?

Inbox: Is health essential to a championship?

Can the Giants win it all without any injuries?
-- Casey B., Nev.

Thank you for teeing up the question I try to address in each year-ending Inbox: The prediction for the upcoming season. At the very least, the Giants should be legitimate postseason contenders. Obtaining free-agent closer Mark Melancon should help, even if he merely approaches his effectiveness of recent seasons.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Most amazing National League games of 2016

Most amazing National League games of 2016

The 2016 season in Major League Baseball was one of inspiring feats of athleticism, ballparks packed with ecstatic fans and the undeniable drama that comes with America's pastime. At the end of the 162-game push and an amazing October, one team was standing: the Chicago Cubs, who broke a 108-year championship drought and won the World Series for the National League.

But 14 other NL teams played all season and had their own pinnacle moments. In consultation with each club's beat reporter, here is the game of the year for each club in the NL in 2016:

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Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pence holiday video has 'Game of Thrones' twist

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Pence holiday video has 'Game of Thrones' twist

Christmastime brings everybody together, and inspires many opportunities for festive recitations of classic poems and such. 

In his infinite genius, however, Hunter Pence sought to stand out from the crowd (as he so often does) with a holiday-inspired video he posted on behalf of himself and his wife ... and it features him loudly humming the dramatic "Game of Thrones" theme music.

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Bochy embraces chance to unwind with veterans

Bochy embraces chance to unwind with veterans

SAN FRANCISCO -- The general public knows the Bruce Bochy who perches in the corner of the Giants' dugout closest to home plate while peering at the diamond, searching for an edge and thinking three or four innings ahead.

Randy Houston received an opportunity to meet the other Bruce Bochy -- the one who revels in being outdoors, exchanging friendly insults and helping his fellow man.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rollins agrees to Minor League deal with Giants

Rollins agrees to Minor League deal with Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Hoping to add infield depth, the Giants agreed to a Minor League deal with Jimmy Rollins, the highly accomplished shortstop who's striving to extend his big league career to an 18th season.

Rollins, who will compete with Kelby Tomlinson, Ehire Adrianza and Conor Gillaspie, among others, for a reserve infield spot. This could require some adjustment from Rollins, 38. Except for one-third of an inning at second base in 2002, Rollins has played exclusively shortstop -- which, on San Francisco's roster, belongs to two-time Gold Glove Award winner Brandon Crawford.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Triple-A Sacramento hires Brundage as manager

Triple-A Sacramento hires Brundage as manager

The Sacramento River Cats, the Giants' Triple-A affiliate, named Dave Brundage the team's new manager on Thursday.

Brundage, 52, takes over for Jose Alguacil, who was promoted to the big leagues as the Giants' first-base coach last month. The rest of the River Cats' coaching and training staff will remain intact for 2017.

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jon Paul Morosi

Leyland: 'Big time' Crawford to join Team USA

Veteran skipper talks admiration for Gold Glove Award-winning shortstop

Leyland: 'Big time' Crawford to join Team USA

During the 2012 World Series, Jim Leyland watched from Detroit's dugout as Brandon Crawford's steady brilliance at shortstop snuffed out a succession of would-be Tigers rallies.

More than four years after Crawford's superb defense was a crucial factor in the Giants' sweep, Leyland will have the chance to manage him in the World Baseball Classic.

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Jon Paul Morosi is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants show support at service for Torres' wife

Former outfielder lost his spouse, Soannie, to cancer last week

Giants show support at service for Torres' wife

SAN MATEO, Calif. -- The Giants' family gathered Tuesday to embrace Andres Torres, literally and figuratively, at a memorial service for the former outfielder's wife.

Soannie Torres died of a rare form of cancer last Wednesday at 37. Standing at the pulpit at St. Matthew Catholic Church, the site of the memorial, Torres, 38, told the audience that he and Soannie met in Puerto Rico when he was 15 and she was 14.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

The Sharks wore SF Giants orange before a game

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The Sharks wore SF Giants orange before a game

On Saturday, the San Jose Sharks defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, but before the game they paid tribute to their Bay Area neighbors, the San Francisco Giants. The Sharks' warmup jerseys for the day were a reimagined version of the Giants' orange jerseys:

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Melancon, Giants see closer fitting in nicely

Melancon, Giants see closer fitting in nicely

SAN FRANCISCO -- At Friday's AT&T Park news conference to herald the Giants' signing of closer Mark Melancon, the right-hander remained exultant over joining his new team.

"From Day One," Melancon said, "I thought this was the best fit."

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Greene, 2-way talent highlight Top 50 Draft Prospects list

Greene, 2-way talent highlight Top 50 Draft Prospects list

For the second year in a row, MLBPipeline.com's early Draft Top 50 list is topped by a high school pitcher. There's still a long way to go between now and June -- last year's early No. 1 Jason Groome eventually went No. 12 overall to the Red Sox -- but there is no question that Hunter Greene is the best overall talent in the Class of 2017.

A two-way star at Notre Dame High School in Southern California (the same school Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton attended), Greene is preferred by some for his ability as a hitter and an infielder, but the vast majority think the right-hander has the chance to be an elite performer on the mound. A prep right-handed pitcher has never been the No. 1 overall pick in the history of the Draft, but does Greene and his stuff plus athleticism give him the chance to be the first?

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.