Refreshed Giants outfield looks to catch fire
Going into the offseason, two of the San Francisco Giants’ main goals were to upgrade the pitching staff and outfield.
When injuries decimated their outfielders all season — Angel Pagan, Nori Aoki, Hunter Pence, and Gregor Blanco all missed significant stretches due to injury — the Giants realized they needed an impact signing for their outfield, and did what they could to find the right guy.
That need was filled by free agent center fielder Denard Span, who, at the Giants media day Friday, said he saw and felt how interested the Giants were when they courted him in the offseason:
“They sent their head trainer all the way down to Florida. That’s not a short flight. The team showed the interest that they really wanted me.”
With all three projected starting outfielders — Blanco, Pence, and Span — returning from season-ending injuries in 2015, there is cause for concern.
Pence and Span missed the majority of the season last year due to injury but now, with both in seemingly good health, they figure to feature in an outfield that could become a strength for the Giants.
Pence missed the majority of the season, but declared himself fit and ready for the year Friday:
“Everything has been better than ever so we’re good to go. I’m totally unrestricted, I’ve had more flexibility and more access than I’ve ever had.”
Span dealt with hip issues last year, and also cast aside any injury concerns:
“I haven’t played a game yet but training wise I’ve done everything that I would normally do if I didn’t have offseason surgery. I feel great, there is no reason why I should be held back.”
With injury worries behind him, Span is up for the challenges that AT&T Park’s center field can bring, especially the right-center gap, one of the more unique outfield features in baseball:
“Right center is tough man but it plays right into what I like to do you know, I like to really go get the ball in the outfield and I’m looking forward to that. I’ll need a lot of help from Hunter, Angel, and Gregor because they’ve played out here more than me but I’m ready for the challenges of this outfield.”
Span seemed eager and ready to emphasize defense:
“That’s what wins championships. We’re solid across the diamond, solid up the middle, solid in the infield, were just athletic all over the field. I’m excited just to be an addition to how great this defense and team has been.”
Pence also had high hopes for the season — it is, of course, an even year — and said he believes the new signings and players returning from injury can make for a huge year in san Francisco:
“We have some incredible talents, some incredible minds, coaches that put together everything for us to give us the opportunity to exceed expectations and anything we need to get better. I think all those things add for the potential to have a historic season.”