SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Chase d'Arnaud knows the rush of performing at a high level and holding a crowd spellbound until it bursts into applause.Doubly lucky -- and talented -- d'Arnaud can derive that sensation not just from playing baseball, but also as a guitarist and lead singer for his eponymous
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Chase d'Arnaud knows the rush of performing at a high level and holding a crowd spellbound until it bursts into applause.
Doubly lucky -- and talented -- d'Arnaud can derive that sensation not just from playing baseball, but also as a guitarist and lead singer for his eponymous band.
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A non-roster invitee to the Giants' Spring Training camp who's competing for a utility role, d'Arnaud possesses enough athleticism to have played parts of six seasons in the Major Leagues. His ability to carry a tune earned him a gig as the opening act for Lady Antebellum and brought him to the stage at Bonnaroo, the annual four-day summer music festival in Manchester, Tenn., in 2016 during a fortuitously scheduled off-day.
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Like other musically inclined Giants of the past, such as Tim Flannery, Jake Peavy and Barry Zito, d'Arnaud realizes when and how to prioritize his pursuits. Currently, picking grounders out of the infield dirt is infinitely more important than picking sweet sounds from his guitar. d'Arnaud, 31, must be at his best to remain in the field of utility candidates, including Kelby Tomlinson, Orlando Calixte, Josh Rutledge and Miguel Gomez, among others.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy remained properly noncommittal about d'Arnaud's chances while acknowledging some of his assets.
"He plays with a lot of energy," Bochy said. "We have some good candidates. But with his experience and the fact that he can move around ... it's going to be a tough call."
During the Giants' 11-4 Cactus League loss Thursday to the Los Angeles Angels, d'Arnaud demonstrated that he'll play ferociously until the club's brain trust selects its bench players. After lining a third-inning single, d'Arnaud eschewed the option of stopping at second base after a wild pickoff throw and proceeded to third, where he dove headfirst and was thrown out. d'Arnaud left the field with a filthy jersey and a clear conscience, knowing that he had given his all.
"I'm up here to be dangerous," d'Arnaud said. "As dangerous as I can be."
Having played for five big league teams, d'Arnaud knew what he wanted to see from his sixth as he entered Minor League free agency. He told his agent, Joel Wolfe, that he wanted to join a team that "values winning."
d'Arnaud noticed this quality during a brief stint with the Red Sox last year.
"All they talked about was winning," he recalled. "They all played for each other. They had already proven to themselves that they belonged in the big leagues. They had good leadership, and I see the same thing here."
d'Arnaud predicted a "magical year" for the Giants. "Look all over the field," he said. "You have superstars, like Hunter Pence. [Andrew] McCutchen. Austin Jackson. [Buster] Posey behind the plate. [Brandon] Crawford. [Joe] Panik. Pablo Sandoval. [Evan] Longoria. At first base, you have [Brandon] Belt and guys who have some thump."
d'Arnaud won't totally abandon music during baseball season. He said that he and Jackson, a hip-hop enthusiast, might lay down some tracks in their spare time. Mostly, however, d'Arnaud will focus on his game -- which, he figured, is the best thing to do right now for himself, his wife and their 8-month-old son, Jagger.
Music, d'Arnaud said, "is something that I can always revisit if I want to after baseball. Hopefully, that time doesn't come for a while."
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.