Duffy's homer helps back Bumgarner in win

Infielder knocks third spring home run as lefty gets in final tuneup

Duffy's homer helps back Bumgarner in win

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- San Francisco's Matt Duffy continued to make his case to make the Major League club on Wednesday, launching a two-run home run to lead the Giants to a 5-2 victory over the Indians at Scottsdale Stadium.

Indians right-hander Corey Kluber took the loss despite facing the minimum through the first three innings. The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner allowed three runs on five hits and struck out five in 4 2/3 innings in his final spring tuneup before Opening Day.

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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.

After final tuneup, Bumgarner turns attention to opener

Southpaw fanned four batters over four innings in last spring start

After final tuneup, Bumgarner turns attention to opener

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Madison Bumgarner had an easy final Spring Training tuneup Wednesday at Scottsdale Stadium in the Giants' 5-2 victory over the Indians.

The Giants lefty threw only four innings, allowing one run on five hits while striking out four. The short outing was planned, and Bumgarner said he feels good -- even though he swung so hard at the first pitch he saw as a batter he fell to a knee after the swing.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Lyle Spencer

Pagan's friendship with Mays a source of confidence

Since joining Giants in 2012, outfielder has found legend's presence a guide

Pagan's friendship with Mays a source of confidence

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Angel Pagan has had a little ritual involving Willie Mays at San Francisco's AT&T Park since coming to the Giants from the Mets in 2012.

"Before I go out on the field to play," Pagan said, "I go in his office and get my blessing. I shake his hand. It gives me a sense of confidence going out on the field. I have a blessing to be with the best player in history, to me.

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Lyle Spencer is a national reporter and columnist for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @LyleMSpencer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Keeping defending champs hungry key to Bochy

Skipper stresses importance of motivation as Giants gear up for Opening Day

Keeping defending champs hungry key to Bochy

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Bruce Bochy appears destined for the Hall of Fame, given the Giants' three World Series triumphs in the past five seasons. But the San Francisco manager is squarely focused not on past accomplishments or possible future glory, but on current events -- keeping the Giants competitive in what promises to be a challenging National League West. Bochy recently shared his thoughts with Chris Haft, MLB.com's Giants beat reporter. A transcript of their chat follows:

MLB.com: Balancing last year's success with the need to make the transition to this year is a challenge for any champion. How do you feel like you guys have handled that so far?

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bochy hints roster may almost be finalized

Duffy continues to make case as Ishikawa's health remains up in the air

Bochy hints roster may almost be finalized

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Although not yet official, the Giants' Opening Day roster appears to be close to finalized, hinted manager Bruce Bochy on Wednesday.

The biggest issue is Travis Ishikawa's sore lower back. The first baseman/outfielder hasn't played since leaving Sunday's game, and the idea of Ishikawa opening the season on the 15-day disabled list is a possibility, Bochy said.

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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.

Lincecum confirmed as starter after final spring outing

Maxwell earns roster spot following three-hit, three-RBI game

Lincecum confirmed as starter after final spring outing

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Tim Lincecum officially claimed a spot in the Giants' starting rotation Tuesday by working a spring-high 5 2/3 innings as the Giants squeezed past the Colorado Rockies, 4-3.

Lincecum left the game with the Giants trailing, 3-2, but they rallied for a pair of eighth-inning runs on RBI singles by Justin Maxwell and Matt Duffy. Maxwell clinched a spot on the Opening Night roster by going 3-for-3 and driving in three runs.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hitting work earns Maxwell roster spot with Giants

Outfielder batted .349 this spring; Brown designated for assignment

Hitting work earns Maxwell roster spot with Giants

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- As a youth, Justin Maxwell occasionally filled the margins of his notebook paper at school by doodling the interlocking "SF" logo that's familiar to every Giants fan.

Now the outfielder can proudly continue to wear that insignia on his cap.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Winning formula simple for Giants: score four

Stellar pitching means more than three runs usually translates to victory

Winning formula simple for Giants: score four

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- If the Giants approached their job with a golfer's mentality, every game would be a par 4.

Four, that is, as in runs.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Barry M. Bloom

Once baseball's best, Giants' rotation faces questions

Once baseball's best, Giants' rotation faces questions

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants open defense of their third World Series title in five seasons with their usual strong and dependable starting rotation seemingly in a tad of disarray.

Matt Cain is rebounding from right elbow surgery, Tim Hudson from right ankle surgery, Jake Peavy from a bit of a dead arm, and Tim Lincecum from a stiff neck and delivery issues that landed him in the bullpen this past September and October.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Duffy wins Giants' award for spring newcomer

Infielder battling for reserve spot on Major League roster

Duffy wins Giants' award for spring newcomer

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants infielder Matt Duffy appreciated winning the Barney Nugent Award on Tuesday, though he's preoccupied with more pressing issues these days.

Duffy, 24, is competing for a reserve infielder's role on the Giants' season-opening roster. Though Duffy has outperformed his two closest rivals for the job, Ehire Adrianza and Joaquin Arias, they have no Minor League options left. Duffy does. To preserve personnel depth, the Giants likely might option Duffy, who was batting .385 through Tuesday, to Triple-A Sacramento. Meanwhile, Adrianza (.244 this spring) and Arias (.167) would remain with San Francisco.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Panik homers in back-and-forth sixth inning

Hudson allows four runs in 4 2/3 frames; Carbonell drives in two

Panik homers in back-and-forth sixth inning

MESA, Ariz. -- Chris Coghlan and Tommy La Stella each hit RBI doubles, and Starlin Castro delivered a tiebreaking RBI single in a three-run sixth to lift the Cubs to an 8-5 victory Monday over the Giants in front of a sellout crowd at Sloan Park.

Joe Panik hit a solo homer and Daniel Carbonell added a two-run double to spark a five-run sixth for the Giants. Starter Tim Hudson served up 10 hits and walked two over 4 2/3 innings in his worst spring outing. The right-hander had given up 11 hits over 12 innings in his four previous starts.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Intangibles major reason for Posey's success

Giants pitchers widely credit catcher for their excellence on mound

Intangibles major reason for Posey's success

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Statistics cannot measure the core of Buster Posey's excellence. It consists of intangibles, manifested in behavioral and motivational tools that benefit the Giants' accomplished pitchers.

Pitching is baseball's currency, and the Giants have enjoyed a wealth of it while winning three of the past five World Series. Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Sergio Romo and their brethren created much of their own success during the seasons and postseasons when the Giants loomed over the game. But in many ways, Posey surveyed and supervised San Francisco's pitching ensemble from his director's chair behind home plate, a catcher who gives perhaps more than he receives.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sergio Romo's diving flip starts a 1-2-3 putout

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Sergio Romo's diving flip starts a 1-2-3 putout

Cubs' catcher Welington Castillo may have thought he laid down a near perfect bunt when the Cubs tried a safety squeeze in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Giants. Not only would he score the runner from third, but maybe -- just maybe -- he put the ball the perfect distance between the pitcher and catcher to give him enough time to make it to first base. When he saw Giants pitcher Sergio Romo diving to toss the ball home, he probably grew certain of it.

But that's not what happened. 

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Ishikawa sidelined several days by back stiffness

Fundamentals elude Giants; starting rotation still under wraps

Ishikawa sidelined several days by back stiffness

MESA, Ariz. -- Giants first baseman/left fielder Travis Ishikawa likely will remain sidelined until Thursday with back stiffness, manager Bruce Bochy said Monday.

After a hot start against Cactus League pitching, Ishikawa's batting .191 (9-for-47) with one homer and six RBIs.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Panik, Duffy lead Giants' big day on offense

Infielders collect three hits each; Cain allows three runs in four innings

Panik, Duffy lead Giants' big day on offense

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Emerging from a spring hitting hiatus, Joe Panik went 3-for-3 and scored three runs Sunday to help the Giants defeat a Los Angeles Dodgers split squad, 11-9, in a Cactus League game.

Panik, who lifted his batting average from .154 to .200, doubled and scored in the first inning to open the Giants' scoring. He also doubled and scored in the fifth, when San Francisco's three-run outburst broke 3-3 tie, and singled before scoring in the sixth.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Giants pleased with Cain rounding into form

Right-hander enjoys another successful, healthy outing vs. Dodgers

Giants pleased with Cain rounding into form

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Finally, good news for the defending World Series champion Giants.

Matt Cain can be declared healthy. While he may not be quite ready for the season to start, he is close enough to give the Giants and Cain every reason to feel he'll be just fine after he makes that one more exhibition appearance in next weekend's Bay Bridge Series against the A's.

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Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants send 11, including Susac, to Minors

Giants send 11, including Susac, to Minors

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants took a major step toward shaping their season-opening roster Sunday by reassigning or optioning 11 players to the Minor Leagues.

This was no ordinary round of roster cuts. The list included three players from last October's World Series roster: catcher Andrew Susac, right-hander Hunter Strickland and outfielder Juan Perez. All were optioned to Triple-A Sacramento, along with infielder Adam Duvall and outfielder Gary Brown.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gritty offense lifts up uneven Peavy against Mariners

Maxwell homers, drives in three runs; Blanco goes 2-for-3 as Giants rally late

Gritty offense lifts up uneven Peavy against Mariners

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Right fielder Justin Maxwell -- who hit a three-run homer in the fourth -- keyed the Giants' five-run rally in the ninth to edge the Mariners, 9-8, in Cactus League action at Peoria Stadium on Saturday.

Mariners catcher Mike Zunino cracked a pair of solo home runs, and third baseman Kyle Seager added another on a mid-90-degree day where the ball was flying.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Slater, Beede make Giants' future look bright

Second baseman goes yard off Petit, righty tosses scoreless frame in prospects' game

Slater, Beede make Giants' future look bright

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Two members of the Giants' 2014 Draft class deepened the organization's optimism on Saturday.

Performing for a team comprised of prospects from Minor League camp, Tyler Beede, San Francisco's No. 1 (21st overall) selection in last year's First-Year Player Draft, pitched a scoreless second inning. Second baseman Austin Slater, an eighth-round pick, belted an opposite-field, fourth-inning homer off Giants starter Yusmeiro Petit. Those were among the highlights in a 2-2, nine-inning tie at Scottsdale Stadium between "The Future Giants," as Beede, Slater and their mates were dubbed, and a San Francisco split-squad.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Prospect Slater goes yard in Giants' Futures Game

San Francisco prospects, big league split-squad play to tie

Prospect Slater goes yard in Giants' Futures Game

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A split-squad of Giants played to a 2-2, nine-inning tie Saturday against a collection of the organization's Minor League prospects, dubbed "The Futures," at Scottsdale Stadium.

For six innings, the Futures used a different pitcher each frame to blank a Giants lineup that included projected regulars Nori Aoki, Joe Panik, Angel Pagan, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Heston leaves impression with six strong innings

Giants' Minor League pitcher also hits RBI double and Susac homers

Heston leaves impression with six strong innings

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Andrew Susac slugged a homer off reliever Yimi Garcia in the sixth inning as the Giants came from behind Friday night to beat the Dodgers, 8-4 at Camelback Ranch.

Dodgers starter Zack Greinke hit his pitch limit after 3 2/3 innings. Two of the four runs Greinke allowed were unearned on an error by left fielder Carl Crawford, who earlier had an RBI single.

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Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com.

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

MadBum builds pitch count in sharp Minor League outing

Penultimate spring appearance for ace proves he's ready for season

MadBum builds pitch count in sharp Minor League outing

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The World Series wasn't on the line and millions weren't watching, but Madison Bumgarner was just as dominant pitching in late March as he was in late October.

Five months ago the left-hander was dominating the Kansas City Royals under the bright lights as he led the Giants to a World Series championship. Friday, he was pitching under a hot Arizona sun in a Minor League game against the A's with fewer than 100 fans in attendance.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Barry M. Bloom

Dedicated to craft, Peavy evolving with age

Dedicated to craft, Peavy evolving with age

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Give Jake Peavy credit for constantly trying to adjust. At 33 years old and at this point in his career, the Giants right-hander's fastball isn't what it used to be. But whose is at an advanced baseball age? Just ask Justin Verlander and Tim Lincecum.

As recently as 2007, when Peavy won the National League Cy Young Award and the league's pitching Triple Crown for the Padres, Peavy's fastball topped out at 100 mph, and his average was 94. Last year, his top velocity was just a tad over 93, and his average was only a skosh under 90.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Happy birthday to Matt Harvey and Buster Posey

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Happy birthday to Matt Harvey and Buster Posey

On Friday, Matt Harvey turned 26 and Buster Posey turned 28 (Mariah Carey also turned 45 and Fergie turned 40, but that's beside the point). The two 20-somethings are among the brightest stars in the league, so it's fitting that they share a birthday together. Maybe they'll celebrate together? Maybe they'll invite Fergie?

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Concussions behind him, Sanchez working hard

Concussions behind him, Sanchez working hard

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants catcher Hector Sanchez has gone from feeling awful to a feel-good story.

Last year, Sanchez wasn't completely sure he'd play baseball again. The lingering effects of two concussions, which he sustained in a span of less than a month, brought the robust 25-year-old to his knees. When he kneels these days, it's to say grateful prayers.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lincecum racks up 7 K's in solid start against A's

Giants righty goes spring-high five innings; Sanchez, Crawford drive in runs

Lincecum racks up 7 K's in solid start against A's

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Eric Sogard's two-run triple snapped a sixth-inning tie and led the A's to a 6-4 Cactus League victory over the Giants on Thursday night.

San Francisco, the reigning World Series champions, fell to a Major League-worst 6-19 this spring. The Giants have dropped nine of their last 11 games.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bochy concerned with defense, situational hitting

Bochy concerned with defense, situational hitting

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Aside from the Giants' sloppy defense, spotty offense and lack of a definitive batting order, manager Bruce Bochy didn't have a care in the world Thursday night.

Bochy never criticizes individual players publicly. But he revealed several concerns in his remarks following the Giants' 6-4 Cactus League loss to the A's.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hudson delivers quality start against Rockies

Recovering from ankle surgery, veteran allows three runs in six innings

Hudson delivers quality start against Rockies

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Wednesday's Giants-Rockies Cactus League game featured two starters working on both ends of the career spectrum: rookie right-hander Eddie Butler is still vying for a spot in Colorado's starting rotation and veteran Giants right-hander Tim Hudson is trying to begin what he says is his final season in good health.

Butler made a case for himself by pitching five innings of one-run, five-hit ball in Colorado's 5-2 victory. Hudson pitched three perfect innings before allowing Troy Tulowitzki's two-run homer and Nolan Arenado's RBI double in the fourth. Tulowitzki had two hits against Hudson, including a sixth-inning single.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bumgarner is also a mechanic in new Giants ads

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Bumgarner is also a mechanic in new Giants ads

At this point, I'm pretty sure that Madison Bumgarner is a character from a romance novel come to life. He's a tall, handsome, professional ballplayer with a World Series MVP, who is also a Southern cowboy and rancher with a dreamy drawl. 

Turns out, he also knows his way around an engine. As Bruce Bochy tells us in this new Giants ad, when the team's bus broke down, Bumgarner hopped off and, within a few minutes, had it back on the road. 

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Aoki gathering speed heading into season

Giants outfielder raps RBI triple, could be San Francisco's leadoff man

Aoki gathering speed heading into season

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Something essential to know about Giants outfielder Nori Aoki is that he possesses a healthy sense of humor.

Aoki conducted an interview Wednesday with Bay Area-based Giants beat writers by relying on his translator, Kosuke Inoji. But when asked for his opinion of Tim Hudson's ponderous baserunning when the pitcher doubled during the third inning of the Giants' 5-2 Cactus League loss to the Colorado Rockies, Aoki answered the question himself in perfect English.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.