Monday, February 14, 2011

Chris Haft Says...Relaxed and Ready and Reunited

Relaxed and ready: Champion Giants reunite

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- If the Giants don't repeat as World Series champions, complacency won't be a reason.
Pitchers and catchers reported to camp Monday, as scheduled. They were joined by a slew of position players -- including Pat Burrell, Cody Ross, Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and Freddy Sanchez -- intent on getting a jump-start on their workouts. Most of them, of course, already had been training for weeks. Position players are due to report Friday, with the initial full-squad workout slated for Saturday.
Left-hander Jonathan Sanchez wasn't surprised by the big turnout.
"After last year, you want to be back hanging out with the guys," said Sanchez, the pitcher of record in the 2010 regular-season finale that clinched the National League West title for the Giants before they surged through the postseason.
As always when players reunite, the atmosphere was relaxed, with a dash of hilarity. Right-hander Tim Lincecum provided some humor when he explained the absence of the wispy mustache and soul patch he sported at FanFest last week.

"My dog licked it off," Lincecum said.
As the Giants strive to become the first National League team since the 1975-76 Reds to win consecutive World Series, they face the same delicate balance that confronts all titlists in every sport.
"I think we have to, in a way, carry some of the stuff that we did last year with us, but we also have to wipe the slate clean," right-hander Matt Cain said.
The Giants will be scrutinized more closely than most defending champs. Major League Baseball Productions and the Showtime cable network are collaborating on a series that has been billed as an inside look at the team. The Giants attracted this attention not just with their success, but also with their assortment of expressive players. Closer Brian Wilson's beard acquired a life of its own. First baseman Aubrey Huff gained fame with his crimson "rally thong." Lincecum sported flowing locks that he trimmed once, maybe twice, all season.
"Everybody got to see who we were," Lincecum said. "Everybody came in doing different things: the rally thong, the beard, the hair, what have you. I think it's going to be something that we stick with."
The show's producers have assured the team that neither their privacy nor their concentration will be breached.
"We're not worried about having a couple of extra cameras around," Cain said.
That's partly because nobody will have to look far for a friendly, familiar face. Everybody from the postseason roster is back except for infielders Juan Uribe and Edgar Renteria, whose three-run homer provided all of San Francisco's scoring in its World Series-clinching Game 5 triumph over the Texas Rangers. That doesn't include left-hander Barry Zito, who spent all season on the 25-man roster, or left-hander Dan Runzler and utility man Mark DeRosa, whose seasons were interrupted by injuries.
The Giants' few new faces are significant ones. Shortstop Miguel Tejada is expected to fill the void created by the departures of Uribe and Renteria. Right-hander Jeff Suppan, a 14-year veteran, hopes to provide depth. Rookie first baseman-outfielder Brandon Belt, a non-roster invitee like Suppan, will receive a chance to win a spot in the Opening Day lineup.
Health is a significant issue for only two players: DeRosa, who's eager to prove that he has recovered from left wrist surgery, and second baseman Freddy Sanchez, who believes that he'll be ready to participate in Cactus League exhibition games in early March after undergoing left shoulder surgery last December.
Lincecum, Cain and left-handers Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner will be supervised closely after the postseason forced them to exceed their career-high workloads by an average of 43 innings apiece.
Said an unruffled Cain, "I think we have a group of guys who aren't afraid to work hard and do the things we have to do to repeat."

Posey reported Monday with the rest of the Pitchers and Catchers
Chris Haft is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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