Huff Has Belt, Pill Looking Over His Shoulder
35-year-old Huff has stiff competition for 1B.
35-year-old Huff has stiff competition for 1B.

Posted Feb 18, 2012

1B Aubrey Huff is entering the second year of his two-year, $22 million contract, and he's not guaranteed a job.

He'll get competition from Brandon Belt, last year's Opening Day first baseman who had a rocky road, and Brett Pill, whom the Giants want to keep for right-handed pop off the bench. All three could get action in left field in spring training as manager Bruce Bochy considers all options.

--RHP Matt Cain entered spring training without a contract extension, but the Giants are hoping to have something done before the season opener. Cain will make $15 million this season and certainly would receive a raise on the open market. The top free-agent starter in the offseason was RHP C.J. Wilson, who got $77.5 million over five years from the Angels. Cain is expected to command more.

--RHP Ryan Vogelsong was asked if his out-of-nowhere story in 2011 was similar to Jeremy Lin's NBA emergence. He drew comparisons. "The coolest thing is the fans' response and the way he picked up teammates," Vogelsong said of Lin, the Knicks' point guard. "Absolutely, I think there are similarities. I'm definitely older, and I came back to the big leagues." Vogelsong was out of the majors for four years, three of which he spent in Japan, before returning last year and making the NL All-Star team.

--OF Justin Christian is back in the organization after he was designated for assignment Feb. 8. He cleared waivers and re-signed and will enter spring training as a non-roster invitee. Christian played for the Giants in September and hit .255 in 18 games. He's expected to open 2012 at Class AAA Fresno.

--RHP Ramon Ortiz, 38, and LHP Travis Blackley, 29, were added to the list of non-roster players invited to spring training. Ortiz made 22 appearances for the Cubs last season and is in his second go-round in the Giants' organization. He was in camp with the 2009 Giants. As for Blackley, an Australian native, he also returned to the Giants, for whom he pitched in 2007. He has been in six organizations.

BY THE NUMBERS: 570 -- runs scored by the Giants last year, 127 fewer than in 2010.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm very, very confident that this is the team to beat." -- New Giants outfielder Angel Pagan, suggesting the Giants, who finished second to Arizona in 2011, are tops in 2012.

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