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Berman brings levity, perspective to Giants camp

Broadcasting icon joins club as guest manager against Dodgers
MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Asked whether he knew the names of the pitchers he exchanged in the seventh inning of the Giants' 9-3 Cactus League setback at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chris Berman didn't hesitate.

"Oh, yeah. [John] Burkett and [Bill] Swift," Berman replied, citing the Giants' pair of 1993 20-game winners.

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Asked whether he knew the names of the pitchers he exchanged in the seventh inning of the Giants' 9-3 Cactus League setback at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chris Berman didn't hesitate.

"Oh, yeah. [John] Burkett and [Bill] Swift," Berman replied, citing the Giants' pair of 1993 20-game winners.

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That prompted laughter from everybody who heard Berman's remark. Such was the general mood around the club on Sunday as Berman, the longtime ESPN announcer who happens to be an ardent, lifelong Giants fan, served as honorary manager.

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For all the hilarity Berman generated, his appearance was a poignant one. He happened to be visiting the Giants in the visitors' clubhouse at New York's Citi Field last May when he learned that his wife, Kathy, had died in an automobile accident.

During the offseason, Giants manager Bruce Bochy and director of baseball operations Brian Sabean arranged Berman's special visit. Clad in a full Giants uniform, Berman wore jersey No. 83, symbolizing the year when he and Kathy met -- 1983.

Berman a natural as guest manager

"I know he's been through a lot in the last calendar year, and he gave us a little speech when he was inside [the clubhouse]," Giants right-hander Jeff Samardzija said. "[He] equated it -- obviously, his situation was a lot more serious than ours was last year -- to down times and how you respond to them."

Video: LAD@SF: Berman on providing inspiration, managing

Injury update
Right-hander Mark Melancon, having recovered from forearm surgery, is scheduled to pitch Wednesday against San Diego.

Up next
Shortstop Brandon Crawford (right index finger), who has been limited to four games as a designated hitter, is expected to play in Monday's exhibition against the Texas Rangers. Left-hander Ty Blach will start for San Francisco against ex-Giants lefty Matt Moore. The 12:05 p.m. PT matchup will be available via an exclusive audio webcast on SFGIants.com.

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.

San Francisco Giants, Jeff Samardzija