Gregory Bull Associated Press Hunter Pence greets Giants teammate Gregor Blanco after the latter scored in the fifth inning on a Pablo Sandoval double. Blanco scored four runs.

Bay Area notes: Giants’ Blanco refreshed after skipping winter ball

Published: Saturday, Mar. 8, 2014 - 10:54 pm
Last Modified: Sunday, Mar. 9, 2014 - 12:25 am

After the Giants’ season ended last Sept. 29, outfielder Gregor Blanco decided he needed to treat the offseason differently than in years past. So he worked out almost daily near his Miami home and spent a lot of time with his family.

“And I let go of baseball for a little while,” Blanco said. “I didn’t touch a bat or a glove until almost February.”

Blanco said a reporter’s inquiry last season alerted him that for the better part of a decade he had gone straight to winter ball after the season, leaving little time in the offseason for recovery.

“That’s a lot of playing time, and I’ve done it for like 10 years in a row,” Blanco said. “I said to myself (last year), ‘I’m a human being. I’m not a machine. I need to take some time off and prepare myself physically and let my mind rest, too.’ 

Blanco, who batted .265 in 141 games last year shifting between left and center field, said the rest has him in a better place this spring both mentally and physically. He went hitless in two at-bats Saturday to drop his Cactus League average to .200 (3 for 15), but he has hit the ball hard and said he feels “great.”

“I feel ambitious again, hungry,” Blanco said. “And that’s good. My will to compete is great right now, so it’s good to feel like this again.”

The Giants’ signing of Michael Morse to play left field this winter means the 30-year-old Blanco enters spring as a projected fourth outfielder. He will likely rotate to give players days off and may be used as a late-game defensive replacement for Morse.

“I’m OK with everything. I’m ready to go,” said Blanco. “If it’s to play every day, I think I’ve prepared myself for that. If it’s not, I’m prepared for that, too.”

Rough outing – Ryan Vogelsong said of his line Saturday – 21/3 innings, six hits, seven runs (five earned), two home runs – “It wasn’t as off as it looked.”

Vogelsong was roughed up by the Seattle Mariners in the Giants’ 18-3 loss, but offered a simple explanation: After working this winter to change his delivery, on Saturday he “got kind of stuck in between the old way and the new way and just couldn’t get myself to do what I wanted to do.”

For that reason, Vogelsong didn’t sound too concerned.

“The ball is coming out good, so that’s a good sign,” Vogelsong said. “Just need to fine-tune a little bit and realize what I need to do to make adjustments on the fly.”

Et cetera – The Giants have two split-squad games today, with most of the regulars set to travel to Glendale to face the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw. Manager Bruce Bochy said, though, that they may be without several starters.

Michael Morse has a sore calf and could miss “a couple days,” Bochy said, while Hunter Pence felt soreness in his left elbow on a swing Friday and will be evaluated again today. Shortstop Brandon Crawford, meanwhile, was absent Saturday for the birth of his second child and won’t be available again until today, Bochy said.

A’s notes – Brett Anderson pitched three positive innings in his first start against his former team, helping the Colorado Rockies to a 5-4 victory over Oakland in Scottsdale.

The left-hander allowed one run on three hits and struck out one.

Anderson was Oakland’s Opening Day starter last year. But he spent four months on the disabled list, was demoted to the bullpen and then traded in December.

A’s manager Bob Melvin was ejected in the seventh for arguing a strike call. He wasn’t around when Shane Peterson lost Ben Paulsen’s fly ball with two outs in the ninth. It fell in front of him, and Cristhian Adames scored from first to win it.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read more articles by Matt Kawahara



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