Posey unseats Wright as 2015 'Face of MLB'

Giants All-Star catcher beats Mets star in Network's social-media vote

Posey unseats Wright as 2015 'Face of MLB'

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The newest "face of MLB" wore a day-old beard and a mildly amused expression as he discussed his latest honor Thursday morning.

Giants catcher Buster Posey emerged victorious in MLB Network's "Face of MLB" competition, which was determined by a widespread fan vote. The Network announced Thursday that Posey beat out Mets third baseman David Wright, baseball's reigning "face," in the finals.

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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.

All-Star? Crawford focused on consistency

Giants shortstop unfazed by talk of Midsummer Classic potential

All-Star? Crawford focused on consistency

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants general manager Brian Sabean wasn't issuing a challenge when he said earlier this month that the club envisioned "an All-Star-type season" from Brandon Crawford. Sabean simply was rendering his opinion of the shortstop's potential.

Anybody who has seen Crawford wield his line-drive swing, unleash searing throws and display the range of a hawk would know that Sabean's thoughts were planted firmly within the realm of the possible.

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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 feels on track after first mound session

Hudson feels on track after first mound session

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Tim Hudson took what he considered to be a significant step toward retaining a spot in the Giants' starting rotation with a 25-pitch throwing session off a bullpen mound Wednesday.

Hudson threw his first pitches off a mound -- all fastballs -- since Game 7 of the World Series last Oct. 29. The next major baseball-related event in Hudson's life occurred Jan. 2, when he underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his right ankle. That procedure raised concerns that Hudson, 39, would not recover in time to open the regular season. But he expressed optimism after Wednesday's exercise.

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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.

Giants get briefed on pace, domestic violence

MLBPA executives visit as part of Spring Training camps tour

Giants get briefed on pace, domestic violence

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The impending attempt to improve the pace of play was among the top issues that Major League Baseball Players Association officials discussed with the Giants on Wednesday.

Executives of the union, including executive director Tony Clark, began their annual tour of all 30 Spring Training camps by visiting the reigning World Series champions. Clark said the subjects discussed included "anything that has made a headline over the course of the last three months."

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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.

Pain-free Pagan eyeing full healthy season

After back surgery, Giants outfielder ready to 'be myself' in the field

Pain-free Pagan eyeing full healthy season

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Angel Pagan said that at the height of his back pain, the discomfort contorted his body so much he "looked like a 'Z' every time I got up."

Pagan intends to look more like an exclamation point this year.

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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 says Pence admits rest would help

Giants right fielder has played in 383 consecutive games

Bochy says Pence admits rest would help

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants right fielder Hunter Pence probably won't play all 162 games this season.

Manager Bruce Bochy revealed Tuesday that he and Pence discussed the wisdom of an occasional rest. Pence, who has appeared in 383 consecutive games, admitted to Bochy that he should have excused himself occasionally late last season due to a sore back.

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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 ready to test ankle on mound

Hudson ready to test ankle on mound

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Healing at an encouraging pace, Giants right-hander Tim Hudson said Tuesday he will try to throw off a bullpen mound Wednesday for the first time since undergoing ankle surgery last month.

Hudson, 39, had bone spurs removed from his right ankle on Jan. 2. But he has been throwing on flat ground and said he felt good enough to progress to the mound, which is more physically stressful.

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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.

Aoki reassesses plan to wrestle MadBum

New Giants outfielder has fun at first formal workout

Aoki reassesses plan to wrestle MadBum

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Outfielder Nori Aoki said Tuesday that his first official workout with the Giants was "a lot of fun," though he had second thoughts about wrestling Madison Bumgarner.

When Aoki was introduced in a news conference at AT&T Park after signing a one-year contract with the Giants as a free agent last month, he made a playful remark about going to the mat with Bumgarner. At 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds, Bumgarner stands 8 inches taller and weighs 55 pounds more than Aoki.

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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

With new and returning faces, Giants looking ahead

Loss of Sandoval, third-base coach will have impact on champs

With new and returning faces, Giants looking ahead

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants worked out on the main field at Scottsdale Stadium on Tuesday, bringing together the full squad for the first time since winning the World Series for the third time in five years this past October. It was a day to bring in the new and remember some of the old.

They head into their ninth season under manager Bruce Bochy, trying to win it all again with a new combination at the hot corner. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval and third-base coach Tim Flannery are gone, replaced by Casey McGehee and Roberto Kelly, respectively.

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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.

Frame job: Posey an artist at coaxing strikes

Giants catcher skilled at getting close calls to go pitchers' way

Frame job: Posey an artist at coaxing strikes

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Buster Posey possesses a skill that's undetectable to most observers. To the Giants, it's as obvious as a scoreboard.

It's Posey's ability to frame pitches, a talent that requires a catcher to employ deft hands, remain limber physically and exercise sound judgment. A successfully framed delivery typically travels on the fringes of the strike zone. It's the catcher's duty to receive the ball in a way that erases any doubt the pitch is a strike.

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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.

Cain continues slow, steady progress in camp

Recovering righty throws another bullpen session; Hudson close to drills

Cain continues slow, steady progress in camp

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- For now, the Giants are continuing to give Matt Cain two days' rest between throwing sessions, contrasting with the every-other-day regimen pitchers typically follow.

Cain, who threw off a bullpen mound last Friday, repeated the exercise Monday. Manager Bruce Bochy indicated that Cain, who's recovering from right elbow and ankle surgeries, would not throw again until Thursday.

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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

Giants' bullpen still best in NL West

Veteran trio of Casilla, Romo, Affeldt get nod over Dodgers, Pads

Giants' bullpen still best in NL West

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Considering all the roster moves the Padres and Dodgers made during the offseason, the defending World Series-winning Giants still have the best bullpen in the tough National League West and perhaps the best manager in Major League Baseball to utilize it.

"I like our bullpen, and I should considering the job they've done for us," said that manager, Bruce Bochy. "[I like] their experience and they're so good at picking each other up. They're versatile. I have the flexibility of moving them around a little bit. It's a nice luxury to have. I don't know about the other bullpens, but I know I like my bullpen."

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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.

Madison Bumgarner is the legendary Paul Bunyan

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Madison Bumgarner is the legendary Paul Bunyan

Paul Bunyan was a large, strapping man who chopped down trees with his bare hands, hung out with enormous oxen and looked great in flannel plaid shirts. 

Add in the ability to blow massive snot rockets and shut down teams through the postseason and what do you get? Madison Bumgarner. 

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Feeling good, Bochy returns to oversee Giants

Manager grateful for doctors, well-wishers after heart procedure

Feeling good, Bochy returns to oversee Giants

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy rejoined the team Sunday after being treated for a heart problem, declaring that he has "another 200,000 miles on me."

Bochy, 59, was hospitalized after Thursday's opening workout for pitchers and catchers to have two stents placed in arteries near his heart. He was released from the hospital Friday. Though the procedure relieved what Bochy called a 90 percent blockage, he said his malady "wasn't a widow-maker."

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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.

Four-midable: Giants relievers unparalleled

Affeldt, Casilla, Lopez, Romo have been bullpen backbone since 2011

Four-midable: Giants relievers unparalleled

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Individually, they're above-average yet hardly unique. Collectively, they're peerless.

The Giants owe much of their success to the relievers known as the "Core Four" -- Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo. In an era when economics or fluctuations in performance force many teams to replenish or revise their bullpen personnel almost annually, the Giants' stability and excellence are truly singular.

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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

Bochy puts focus on another championship run

Giants manager feels great, won't dwell on health issues

Bochy puts focus on another championship run

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The sounds of Waylon Jennings, with an occasional offering from Dwight Yoakam and Jamey Johnson and even a version of Jimmy Dean's "Big John" rang out over the public address system at Scottsdale Stadium on Sunday. Bruce Springsteen was put back on the shelf.

Three days after having two stents placed in a heart artery that was 90 percent blocked, Bruce Bochy, the Giants' field boss, is back. And his tunes were back on the sound system.

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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.

Kline relishing life as Minor League pitching coach

Former Major League reliever enjoying role even more than playing

Kline relishing life as Minor League pitching coach

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Anybody who knew Steve Kline during his 11-year Major League career as a reliever would use the term "fun-loving" to describe him. Though Kline has entered the coaching realm, he's having more fun than ever.

Kline, who was promoted from Class A Augusta to Double-A Richmond as pitching coach, is in his first Major League camp in a coach's role. He's helping guide the pitchers, many of whom performed for him during his six years at Augusta or are about to join him at Richmond.

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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

Phil Rogers

Peavy enjoying a triumphant second act

Peavy enjoying a triumphant second act

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It's too bad the television show "Pimp My Ride" has gone off the air.

A cable car is indeed coming to the Southern Falls Plantation in Alabama. Jake Peavy wouldn't have it any other way.

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Romo unconcerned about sore shoulder

Romo unconcerned about sore shoulder

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants reliever Sergio Romo believes the mild discomfort in his throwing shoulder soon will be just a memory.

"I think I'll be throwing off a mound by sometime next week," Romo said Saturday.

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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.

Belt pulling for 'American Sniper' at Oscars

Giants' resident movie buff expects 'Selma' to take top prize

Belt pulling for 'American Sniper' at Oscars

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Brandon Belt is prepared for a letdown when he watches Sunday night's Academy Awards telecast.

Belt, the Giants first baseman and resident film aficionado, raved about "American Sniper." Said Belt on Saturday, "That's one of the best movies I've ever seen." However, Belt doubted that enough Oscar voters will agree with him.

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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.

Cain looks smooth, feels good in first bullpen session

Giants right-hander reports more effortless throwing in return from surgery

Cain looks smooth, feels good in first bullpen session

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Friday was right-hander Matt Cain's turn to generate the optimism that typifies Spring Training as he threw impressively off a bullpen mound.

"This is probably the best my arm strength has felt, shoulder-wise and everything," Cain said. "Everything just feels really good."

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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 plans to rejoin Giants on Sunday

Giants manager feeling 'really good' after insertion of stents to relieve heart trouble

Bochy plans to rejoin Giants on Sunday

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy was released Friday from the hospital where he underwent a procedure to relieve heart trouble and said in a text message that he'll rejoin the club Sunday.

Bochy, 59, vowed in the text that he'll be "ready to go."

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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 gets positive reviews after throwing

First bullpen session goes well for Giants right-hander

Lincecum gets positive reviews after throwing

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It was merely his first bullpen session of Spring Training, but Tim Lincecum passed the eyeball test Friday.

He appeared to repeat his delivery -- a must for any pitcher, but often a challenge for Lincecum, who relies heavily on his physical synchronization to derive the force he applies to each pitch. His body remained aligned as he drove toward home plate, recalling the look he maintained when he won two National League Cy Young Awards, led the league in strikeouts three times and made four All-Star teams.

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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.

Bumgarner not worried about innings buildup from 2014

Giants ace has no plans to alter approach in camp

Bumgarner not worried about innings buildup from 2014

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It was all the same to Madison Bumgarner. That's why he is who he is.

Bumgarner threw off a mound wearing a Giants uniform Thursday for the first time since last Oct. 29, when he completed his wondrous postseason performance with five shutout innings on two days' rest in Game 7 of the World Series. But this was just a bullpen session in virtual solitude at Scottsdale Stadium, not a turbocharged crowd at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium. His task was to prepare himself for the regular season, not settle a championship.

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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.

Giants being cautious with Cain, Romo

Starter easing in after surgery; reliever feeling shoulder soreness

Giants being cautious with Cain, Romo

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants right-handers Matt Cain and Sergio Romo skipped their scheduled throwing sessions Thursday for precautionary reasons.

Mindful of future workout schedules, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said that Cain would throw his first bullpen session Friday, delaying it by one day. Bochy mentioned that Cain, who underwent surgery on his throwing elbow in August for removal of bone spurs and chips, wasn't quite ready to begin throwing every other day, as pitchers typically do early in Spring Training.

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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

Anthony Castrovince

Lincecum enters camp with renewed confidence

Father, son repair mechanics, relationship in effort to reclaim starting role

Lincecum enters camp with renewed confidence

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There were times this winter when the father had to step outside for a cigarette, figuring it better to rip a heater than to let an argument with his son get too heated. And in those moments, the son would air out his own frustration by firing fastballs at an empty net.

This was how the Lincecum men -- father Chris and son Tim -- learned how to let their differences dissolve as quickly as they'd arise. A quick smoke break for dad, and then it was back to the business of repairing a two-time Cy Young Award winner who had lost his way.

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rotation pieces in place for champion Giants

Pitchers, catchers report to camp as quest for repeat title begins

Rotation pieces in place for champion Giants

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy made himself clear without being specific: Madison Bumgarner will start the April 6 season opener at Arizona. Additionally, the rest of the pitching rotation, in alphabetical order, will consist of Matt Cain, Tim Hudson, Tim Lincecum and Jake Peavy.

Bochy refrained from formally announcing that Bumgarner, San Francisco's World Series hero, will pitch his second opener in a row. Nor did Bochy officially name the foursome who will follow Bumgarner.

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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.

Lighter Sanchez ready to win back catcher's spot

Giants' backup backstop sustained pair of concussions

Lighter Sanchez ready to win back catcher's spot

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The pleasure that Hector Sanchez derives from catching exceeds the pain it has caused him.

Such is the paradox of playing behind the plate, where catchers are susceptible to foul tips that can cause concussions. Sanchez endured not one but two concussions last year, limiting him to 66 games with the Giants and seven at Triple-A. Meanwhile, Andrew Susac wrested the backup catcher's job from Sanchez.

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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.