Friday, April 18, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
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5 things to know about Giants for spring training

SAN FRANCISCO — Here are five things to know about the San Francisco Giants, who report to spring training Friday and hold the first workout for pitchers and catchers a day later:

HUDSON’S HEALTH: The Giants have no concerns about new pitcher Tim Hudson’s arm. It’s his ankle the training staff and coaches will monitor closely early in spring training, easing him in when appropriate as not to rush him back too soon.

“He’s on target,” athletic trainer Dave Groeschner said.

In November, Hudson received a $23 million, two-year contract to join the Giants after his 2013 season with the Braves was cut short by a broken right ankle that required surgery. He went 8-7 with a 3.97 ERA in 21 starts last year for Atlanta.

Hudson was hurt July 24 in New York when the Mets’ Eric Young Jr. inadvertently stepped on the back of the pitcher’s lower right leg while Hudson covered first base.

Everybody is eager to see him healthy, and in a new uniform.

“A guy like Hudson fits in great, the fact that he’s a talented pitcher but also a guy who’s probably going to make the other pitchers better,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “First and foremost we want him to concentrate on pitching.”

DURABLE PENCE: Hunter Pence wants to play — each and every day.

Bochy has already given Pence the warning: San Francisco’s durable right fielder might not duplicate his impressive feat of playing every game last season. Bochy mentioned to Pence late last season he might need a rest day here and there.

“Absolutely not,” Pence said, noting it’s ultimately Bochy’s call. “My expectation right now is to go out there and play and do whatever. I’m grateful that I get the opportunity to play. I’m lucky.”

SANDOVAL SLIMDOWN: Pablo Sandoval has posted photos of his new svelte self. Yes, again. Sandoval’s slimdown — he’s apparently weighing in some 40 pounds lighter — is a hot topic once more this spring training as the slugging third baseman enters a possible contract year.

General manager Brian Sabean said earlier this month that Sandoval, the 2012 World Series MVP, could earn himself a new long-term contract before the start of the season if he indeed shows the club what it expects from him in terms of improved fitness and discipline.

“Watching him playing games down in Venezuela in the playoffs, he looks good,” Bochy said. “It’s evident he’s put in a lot of hard work, has lost some weight, and he looks stronger to me. I’m excited about seeing him. I know that was his mission this offseason, to shed some pounds and get back in the type of shape that he was in in 2011.

“He’ll be a better player, we’ll be a better team with him in this kind of shape. It’s a big year for him.”

ROTATION INTACT: Little did Bochy know he would have Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong back in the rotation for 2014. Lincecum signed a $35 million, two-year contract in late October, while Vogelsong earned a $5 million, one-year deal in early December.

“It makes my job easier,” Bochy said of the returners, a group that also includes lefty reliever Javier Lopez.

PAGAN’S RETURN: Fresh off a new $40 million, four-year contract, energetic center fielder and leadoff hitter Angel Pagan was limited to 71 games last season because of a left hamstring injury. He returned late in the season, but his absence hurt the 2012 World Series champions.

“Getting Pagan back healthy, we really missed him,” Bochy said. “That showed up even more than I thought it would.”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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