Bochy confident 'it's going to be easier' for Hwang

Bochy confident 'it's going to be easier' for Hwang

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Another day brought another three-run homer that generated a Giants victory.

Granted, none of this slugging actually counted. Nevertheless, two games into the Cactus League season, it appears possible that healthy competition could be developing among the right-handed batters competing for a spot on San Francisco's bench.

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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.

Melancon: 'Executed pretty well' in first SF outing

Melancon: 'Executed pretty well' in first SF outing

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Mark Melancon's initial Cactus League appearance as a Giant was exactly what the ballclub expected.

Three batters up, three down against the top third of the Chicago Cubs' batting order. A pair of ground balls, which Melancon specializes in coaxing with his cut fastball. In short, he delivered a thoroughly uneventful outing in the Giants' 8-6 Cactus League triumph.

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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.

Cain feels good after debut; searching for mechanics

Cain feels good after debut; searching for mechanics

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants right-hander Matt Cain sounded content after his Cactus League start Saturday against the Chicago Cubs, though he yielded a pair of runs and three hits in two innings. The Giants outlasted the Cubs, 8-6.

Second baseman Kelby Tomlinson bobbled Munenori Kawasaki's second-inning grounder for an error with a runner on third base, rendering that run unearned. Cain lacked swing-and-miss stuff, but wasn't concerned about that at this juncture of the spring.

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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.

Newcomer Hwang homers to lead Giants past Cubs

Newcomer Hwang homers to lead Giants past Cubs

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Jae-gyun Hwang lined a three-run homer in the sixth inning Saturday to seal the Giants' 8-6 Cactus League triumph Saturday over a split squad of Cubs.

The Giants broke a 3-3 tie in the sixth inning as Orlando Calixte singled, advanced to second base on Tim Federowicz's walk and scored on Austin Slater's opposite-field single to right. Up came Hwang, a non-roster invitee who hit 27 homers last year in Korea. Hwang, who struck out in both of his plate appearances in Friday's spring opener against Cincinnati, also found the opposite field, clearing the wall in right with his drive off Jim Henderson.

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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.

Bumgarner's start ends with Giants walk-off

Bumgarner's start ends with Giants walk-off

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Chris Marrero blasted a three-run, walk-off homer as the Giants rallied past the Reds, 6-4, in Friday's Cactus League opener at Scottsdale Stadium.

Marrero, who finished 2-for-3 with four RBIs after replacing first baseman Brandon Belt in the fifth, followed Orlando Calixte's walk and Christian Arroyo's single off Reds right-hander Kevin Shackelford.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Playing spring opener important step for Pence

Playing spring opener important step for Pence

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Do not underestimate Hunter Pence's enthusiasm.

Participating in the Giants' Cactus League opener Friday against the Cincinnati Reds was a top priority for the right fielder, who believed that he made a statement to all onlookers by digging in the batter's box for two plate appearances and playing three innings in right 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.

First start about building strength for Bumgarner

First start about building strength for Bumgarner

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In Madison Bumgarner's view, the less said about his outing Friday, the better.

Asked how he felt about his one-inning performance in the Giants' 6-4 win in the Cactus League opener Friday against the Cincinnati Reds, Bumgarner allowed himself a tiny smile and said, "I felt."

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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.

Marrero quick to add name to OF competition

Marrero quick to add name to OF competition

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Officially, the Giants' 6-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in Friday's Cactus League opener meant nothing. Unofficially, the decision can allow the Giants to imagine that they'll be more resilient this season.

Chris Marrero, a non-roster invitee, lined a three-run, ninth-inning homer to erase the Giants' 4-3 deficit and address one of their faults still lingering from 2016. San Francisco performed lifelessly a year ago when trailing entering the ninth inning, compiling an 0-62 record in those situations.

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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.

Better version of Panik in the making

Giants second baseman setting high standards for 2017

Better version of Panik in the making

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Given Joe Panik's array of accomplishments, improving means excelling.

Panik made the National League All-Star team in 2015. Last year, the Giants second baseman won a Gold Glove Award and established himself as the toughest player in the Major Leagues to strike out.

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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.

Tomlinson honing skills at multiple spots

Tomlinson honing skills at multiple spots

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Kelby Tomlinson doesn't need a spreadsheet to help him organize enough time to sharpen his defensive skills at the three infield positions he plays.

Years of playing second base, shortstop and third base have taught Tomlinson, the Giants' reigning utility man, how to allocate his attention to each spot as he strives to reacclimate himself around the diamond.

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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' spring opener previews duel for LF job

Giants' spring opener previews duel for LF job

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Given the widespread competition for jobs, each of the Giants' Cactus League exhibition games promises to be significant, beginning with Friday's opener against the Cincinnati Reds at Scottsdale Stadium.

The game, which will be started by Giants ace Madison Bumgarner and begin at 12:05 p.m. PT, can be streamed live with an exclusive video webcast or with Gameday Audio.

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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.

Prospect Arroyo soaking up big league advice

Giants' 21-year-old infielder doing what he can to hasten arrival

Prospect Arroyo soaking up big league advice

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The salutatorian of the Class of 2013 at Hernando (Fla.) High School, Christian Arroyo has taken his hunger for learning from the classroom to the clubhouse.

Almost everywhere he turns, Arroyo encounters people who serve as examples for him or possess wisdom he'd like to absorb to hasten his journey toward his inevitable destination: 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.

Will Smith out with elbow inflammation

Lefty reliever hopes to return before end of Spring Training

Will Smith out with elbow inflammation

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants learned Wednesday that left-hander Will Smith has inflammation in his throwing elbow, which is expected to sideline him for more than a month.

The ailment won't require surgery, just rest, which isn't such a bad thing for the Giants. Due to Spring Training's duration, which is longer this year due to logistics surrounding the World Baseball Classic, players are able to condition themselves at a more leisurely pace.

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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.

Arizona an early outpost of integration in MLB

Cactus League Hall of Fame inducts four pioneering African-American players

Arizona an early outpost of integration in MLB

The Major League Baseball landscape and the social fabric of the country were both going through a dramatic transformation when Spring Training baseball came to Arizona in 1947.

While the Brooklyn Dodgers and Jackie Robinson were preparing to break Major League baseball's racial barrier, the game was expanding to new western frontiers, with the Cleveland Indians and New York Giants moving their Spring Training camps to Arizona.

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Charlie Vascellaro is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

A cut above: Melancon brings stability to Giants' 'pen

Offseason acquisition expected to be major boost at closer

A cut above: Melancon brings stability to Giants' 'pen

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In their first Spring Training together with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013, catcher Russell Martin had a simple message for reliever Mark Melancon.

"Listen, we're going to throw that cutter all the time, and you're just going to stick to it," Martin said.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @richardjustice. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gillaspie ready for any role he's asked to play

2016 postseason star vows to maintain diligence throughout

Gillaspie ready for any role he's asked to play

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- As one of the Giants' key performers last October, it would seem Conor Gillaspie has no business mentioning the possibility of beginning this year at Triple-A.

Yet there he was the other day, raising the subject of a season-opening stint in Sacramento.

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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.

Bochy sees Rockies on rise in NL West

Giants manager comments on tough division, difficulties of repeat championships

Bochy sees Rockies on rise in NL West

PHOENIX -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy typically says before every season begins that the National League West is a thoroughly balanced division.

This year is no exception. Moreover, Bochy has good reason to view the Giants and their West rivals as a bunched 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.

MLB.com Columnist

Barry M. Bloom

Healthy Pence, Giants' success go hand in hand

Healthy Pence, Giants' success go hand in hand

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants right fielder Hunter Pence came to camp this year with two solid goals in mind -- winning the World Series again after a two-year drought and remaining healthy for the entire season.

For those who might have had any doubt in the matter, the Giants are a much better team with a fully ambulatory Pence in the lineup.

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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.

Hundley confident about playing at AT&T

Catcher studied Giants while playing for NL West rivals

Hundley confident about playing at AT&T

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Nick Hundley's presence on the Giants' roster demonstrates the lure of their reputation.

Except for a half-season stint with Baltimore in 2014, Hundley has spent his entire career with two of the Giants' National League West rivals, San Diego (2008-14) and Colorado (2015-16). When he became a free agent this offseason, he didn't have to think too hard when the Giants offered him a contract.

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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.

Baer: Baseball brings us all together

Baer: Baseball brings us all together

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- An effective president listens to his constituents. Larry Baer is no exception.

The Giants' president and chief executive officer, who has remained in the club's hierarchy since 1992, has made it a point to stay responsive to what fans want. It comes naturally for Baer, a fourth-generation San Franciscan who grew up rooting for the Giants and riding the Muni bus with his father to attend games at Candlestick Park.

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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.

Bochy may open season with 5 outfielders

Giants want to give Span, Pence time off to avoid injuries

Bochy may open season with 5 outfielders

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Sunday that he is "leaning toward" opening the regular season with a five-man outfield contingent. That's standard operating procedure for many teams, but not always for the Giants, who frequently find themselves adding extra pitchers, not position players.

However, the injury histories of center fielder Denard Span and right fielder Hunter Pence almost demand that the Giants reinforce their outfield with enough personnel to rest the pair of veterans when necessary.

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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.

Coleman's mission: Improve baserunning

Giants want to be more aggressive, smarter on bases

Coleman's mission: Improve baserunning

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Playing to win is different from playing not to lose.

Vince Coleman intends to help the Giants maintain the former approach more often in 2017.

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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.

Time with fellow All-Stars has Nunez ready to go

Giants third baseman spent offseason hitting with impressive group

Time with fellow All-Stars has Nunez ready to go

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When Eduardo Nunez sharpens his swing in the offseason, he does it in select company.

That's why you can bet that Nunez, the Giants' projected starting third baseman, will have a productive season. Otherwise, his hitting partners might not welcome him back.

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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.

Happy Glove Day: Giants get new leather

Happy Glove Day: Giants get new leather

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A fielder's glove can make a statement about its wearer, or it can serve as a fashion statement, or it can make no statement at all. Regardless of its function, it's taken seriously, for obvious reasons.

That's why a handful of Giants looked forward to Friday, when area representatives for Wilson Sporting Goods Co. visited the team's Spring Training headquarters at Scottsdale Stadium with dozens of gloves to distribute and sample.

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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 add veteran Hill to infield competition

Giants add veteran Hill to infield competition

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Continuing to chant their mantra of depth and experience, the Giants signed free-agent infielder Aaron Hill to a Minor League deal with an invitation to big league spring camp, the club announced Friday.

The Giants' Spring Training infield contingent includes Jimmy Rollins, 38; Hill, 34; Gordon Beckham, 30; and Michael Morse, 34, who'll be tested at first base as well as left field. Each has spent at least eight years in the Majors.

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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.

Hwang prepared to battle for roster spot in Spring Training

Power hitter looking to improve versatility

Hwang prepared to battle for roster spot in Spring Training

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Jae-gyun Hwang brought three different fielder's gloves to Spring Training. The Giants are probably more interested in whether he brought his bat.

Hwang, 29, hit 53 home runs over the past two seasons with the Lotte Giants of the Korea Baseball Organization, a sampling of power that San Francisco would welcome if he can make the Opening Day roster. However, accomplishing that could require Hwang to demonstrate some versatility. Hence the aforementioned trio of gloves which Hwang, primarily a third baseman, will use at first base and the outfield in an effort to enhance his value.

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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.