Giants, A's are banking on chemistry as spring training begins

Published: Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 - 6:37 am

Pitchers and catchers report this week to big-league camps in Arizona and Florida, signaling the beginning of spring training, with the A's and Giants looking decidedly similar to when their fans last saw them.

After winning their divisions in the same season for the first time since 2003, both teams opted to retain during the winter rather than reload.

The A's bring back 20 players from their 25-man American League Division Series roster. The Giants return 21 members from the roster that was last observed celebrating the team's second World Series title in three seasons.

"The unity we had, you can't replace that," Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong said last week. "And I think people recognized that who make the decisions around here."

They trumpeted clubhouse chemistry in Oakland, too, as the low-budget A's rallied to clinch the A.L. West on the season's final day.

This spring, both teams find themselves sharing a division with free-spending rivals to the south. The Dodgers are expected to have baseball's highest payroll after bolstering their rotation with free-agent prize Zack Greinke. The Angels landed slugger Josh Hamilton and reshaped their starting rotation.

Asked at the Giants' FanFest event about the Dodgers' flurry of big-name additions in the past year, Giants first baseman Brandon Belt answered: "All I can say is, you can't buy chemistry."

In the Bay Area, they'll be hoping they can re-capture it.

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