SAN FRANCISCO -- Though being one of the Giants' premier acquisitions will bring Evan Longoria considerable attention, his primary objective is to avoid it.Longoria was in the spotlight on Friday, when the Giants introduced him to local reporters during a news conference. This was Longoria's first official visit to AT&T
SAN FRANCISCO -- Though being one of the Giants' premier acquisitions will bring Evan Longoria considerable attention, his primary objective is to avoid it.
Longoria was in the spotlight on Friday, when the Giants introduced him to local reporters during a news conference. This was Longoria's first official visit to AT&T Park since the Giants acquired him in a five-player deal with the Rays on Dec. 20.
Longoria's performance and persona led him to become the player most synonymous with the Rays through most of his 10 years with the club. However, he had to alter his perspectives once Tampa Bay dealt him to San Francisco. The Rays' return included infielder Christian Arroyo, outfielder Denard Span, left-hander Matt Krook and right-hander Stephen Wood.
"The truth of the matter is, this is a veteran team and there are some very established faces," Longoria said of the Giants. He related that he told a group of fans, "I think I'm smart enough to figure out where I fit in. The goal is not to ruffle any feathers. ... The goal is to make this transition as seamless [as possible] for everybody. Because I've been through the process of having a lot of turnover over the years in Tampa and I know that it's difficult."
Lumping himself with outfielder Andrew McCutchen, the five-time All-Star outfielder who was acquired on Sunday from the Pirates, Longoria mused that the Giants' existing veterans should ease pressure on the new arrivals.
"We won't be the first one that's thought about," Longoria said. "It'll be [Buster Posey]. Or it'll be [Madison Bumgarner]. Or it'll be Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, those guys who have been here their whole career. They'll be the ones that'll be most likely be asked to answer [wide-ranging] questions. It takes some pressure off our shoulders."
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Giants general manager Bobby Evans echoed manager Bruce Bochy, who said that adding McCutchen, 31, and Longoria, 32, should upgrade team chemistry.
"We obviously had success with the strong presence of veteran players in this clubhouse," Evans said. "I think that there's a big load to bear, and it's nice to bring in guys who have big shoulders."
Blach in mix: Evans said that Chris Stratton and Ty Blach "probably have a leg up" on the competition for the club's fourth and fifth starter's spots.
Evans indicated that left-hander Andrew Suarez and right-hander Tyler Beede remain contenders for the vacancies.
"We feel confident that we have the makings of our fourth and fifth starter with Blach and Stratton really leading the way as we go into the spring," Evans said. "But we also want to allow Suarez and Beede to show us what their sense of timing is to contribute, because we believe that they're both going to help us at some point."
Bullpen bits: Evans said that closer Mark Melancon, who underwent forearm surgery, will be able to perform with no restrictions in Spring Training. Evans added that right-hander Derek Law is a favorite to claim a bullpen role, though rookie Reyes Moronta could draw attention.
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.