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.

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.

Vogelsong gives up pair of homers against Indians

RBI doubles from Maxwell, McGehee in four-run third not enough

Vogelsong gives up pair of homers against Indians

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Outfielder Jerry Sands showed off some impressive power Tuesday night, launching a tape-measure home run off San Francisco's Ryan Vogelsong to help the Indians claim a 9-5 Cactus League victory over the Giants at Goodyear Ballpark.

Sands' shot came in the third inning, when he crushed a 3-0 pitch from Vogelsong to deep center field, where the ball easily cleared a roughly 55-foot-tall batter's eye behind the wall. The blast was the first of Spring Training for Sands, who is competing for a spot on Cleveland's bench as a utility man.

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cain progresses, but admits to lingering discomfort

Giants pitcher adjusting to throwing at full force as he rehabs from surgery

Cain progresses, but admits to lingering discomfort

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Matt Cain's recovery from elbow surgery continued to progress Tuesday. However, he admitted that lingering discomfort occasionally gives him pause.

Cain took another step toward rejoining the Giants' season-opening starting rotation by throwing 75 pitches over five innings in a Triple-A exhibition against the Chicago Cubs. The right-hander looked effective while striking out four, walking none, hitting a batter and allowing six hits, mostly on weak ground balls. Cain allowed a pair of unearned runs, only because a popup was dropped.

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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.

Pagan says back feels good enough to play in games

Giants outfielder will start first Major League spring game since March 14

Pagan says back feels good enough to play in games

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Tuesday night that center fielder Angel Pagan, satisfied with the condition of his balky back, will play in Wednesday's game against the Colorado Rockies.

Pagan, who has been bothered by back spasms, felt comfortable earlier Tuesday in a five-inning stint against a Triple-A contingent of Chicago Cubs, the same game right-hander Matt Cain started. Pagan went 1-for-4 with a single and was robbed of at least a double by an outfielder's difficult catch. Pagan himself made a nice running catch and glided smoothly from first base to third base on John Bowker's fourth-inning double. The ball temporarily appeared catchable, preventing Pagan from scoring.

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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 find offense against familiar foes

San Francisco scores four off Volquez, defeats World Series opponent

Giants find offense against familiar foes

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants batted around to score four second-inning runs during a rare offensive outburst Monday as they outlasted the Kansas City Royals, 8-3, in a rematch of last year's World Series.

San Francisco entered the game batting .231, next-to-last in the National League. But the reigning Series champions swung lively bats against Royals right-hander and No. 3 starter Edinson Volquez, who lost to the Giants in last year's Wild Card Game as a member of the Pirates.

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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.

With 'tons of confidence,' Belt ready to soar

Strong postseason has Giants first baseman anticipating big season

With 'tons of confidence,' Belt ready to soar

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants first baseman Brandon Belt is standing at the intersection of youth and experience, which is an enviable spot for any athlete.

Belt, who turns 27 on April 20, still has the capacity to improve -- and, as his performance has hinted, enough skill to accomplish this. Having played nearly four Major League seasons at a relatively early age, he can draw upon the savvy he has gained to help him sustain his ascent.

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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.

Posey's tip gives Peavy new pitching weapon

Catcher urges veteran to try throwing four-seam changeup

Posey's tip gives Peavy new pitching weapon

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- After making 337 career starts across 13 Major League seasons, Jake Peavy is still learning.

Peavy used the modest setting of Monday's Royals-Giants exhibition at Scottsdale Stadium as a personal classroom. At catcher Buster Posey's urging, Peavy tried throwing a four-seam changeup for the first time in his life. The right-hander estimated he flung at least five of them in the dirt before throwing a couple of them effectively, including one on his final pitch that struck out Lorenzo Cain to end the fifth inning and strand the potential tying run at second base. Peavy left the game with a one-run lead as the Giants proceeded to win, 8-3.

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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

Lyle Spencer

Giants' double-play combo boasts special bond

Crawford's calm a positive influence on Panik

Giants' double-play combo boasts special bond

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The first time they got together in what was destined to be a long-term relationship in the heart of the Giants' infield, Brandon Crawford saw something in Joe Panik, the kid from St. John's University, in the 2011 Arizona Fall League.

"He reminded me of Buster [Posey] in the way he would go about things," Crawford recalled. "I specifically remember his approach at the plate, hitting a lot of line drives up the middle. As I got to know him, he reminded me of Buster in his mental approach as well."

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

MLB Pipeline checks in from Giants camp

Shortstop Arroyo impresses; righty Beede discusses transition to professional level

MLB Pipeline checks in from Giants camp

Every Spring Training, prospects get a chance to show what they can do as they prepare for the season ahead. Some are competing for jobs in big league camp, others are prepping for the season as they vie for spots at Minor League affiliates up and down a team's system. MLBPipeline.com will be visiting all 30 camps this spring. Today, we check in on the San Francisco Giants.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The organization that brought you Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum -- not to mention three World Series championships in the last five seasons -- has more pitching on the way.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Longtime Giants beat reporter Peters dies at 75

Longtime Giants beat reporter Peters dies at 75

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Nick Peters, who covered more Giants games than any other writer in the franchise's West Coast history, died Monday after a long illness. He was 75.

Peters reached the pinnacle of his profession in 2009, two years after his final season as a Giants beat writer, when he won the J.G. Taylor Spink Award in balloting among members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. The honor reflects meritorious contributions to baseball writing and is the BBWAA's most prestigious award given to a writer.

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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: 'All pitches are feeling good' as season nears

Bumgarner: 'All pitches are feeling good' as season nears

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Madison Bumgarner says there's still some work to be done in his final Spring Training starts, but if Sunday was any indication, he appears to be ready for Opening Day.

"I feel close," Bumgarner said when asked if he's ready for Opening Day. "I won't start honing in on that start until after my last Spring Training start."

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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.

Pagan focused on being ready for Opening Day

Pagan focused on being ready for Opening Day

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Angel Pagan will likely get back in the lineup early next week, but it's not a return to the Cactus League the outfielder is focused on.

Pagan's sights are set on April 6 -- Opening Day in Arizona.

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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.

MadBum shows ace form over six in Giants' loss to Halos

Lefty allows one hit, retires final 16 batters faced in split-squad tilt

MadBum shows ace form over six in Giants' loss to Halos

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When Madison Bumgarner is at the top of his game, he can be a nightmare for hitters, and that was case Sunday afternoon at Scottsdale Stadium.

The Giants' ace threw six strong innings, allowed just one hit and retired the final 16 batters he faced in the Angels' 3-2 win.

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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.

Aoki, Crawford each knock two hits in Giants' loss to KC

Aoki, Crawford each knock two hits in Giants' loss to KC

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- When last seen by Royals fans, Nori Aoki was playing right field for the Kansas City club in last October's seven-game loss to the Giants in the World Series. Aoki went 1-for-14 in the Series.

He returned to Surprise Stadium on Sunday and played left field for a Giants split-squad and went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk, the two hits coming against former teammate and left-hander Danny Duffy. Duffy allowed only four other Giants hits and two runs through 5 2/3 innings as the Royals won, 4-2.

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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.