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Hembree 'most intriguing' among Giants' callups

SAN FRANCISCO -- Unlike 2012, when he participated in the Giants' instructional league program, and last year, when he performed in the Arizona Fall League, Heath Hembree will receive an immediate break after the season ends Sunday.

"This will be my first offseason where I get to relax a little more," said Hembree, ranked the Giants' No. 6 prospect by

He has earned the rest.

Hembree, 24, has made the most of his September promotion. After striking out two in a perfect seventh inning during Saturday's 9-3 loss to the Padres, the right-hander has allowed four hits in seven scoreless innings spanning eight appearances. Hembree preceded his callup by recording a team-record 31 saves for Triple-A Fresno.

The velocity on Hembree's fastball has dipped slightly, but his effectiveness hasn't.

"I don't care how it's coming out velocity-wise," said Hembree, who has relied increasingly on his slider. "I just want to make sure I hit my spots and make quality pitches."

As a result, Hembree has positioned himself to compete for a bullpen role in Spring Training next year. Asked to name the Giants' September callups who have distinguished themselves, general manager Brian Sabean cited Hembree.

"I'd say he's the most intriguing," Sabean said. "He's come a long way."

Chris Haft is a reporter for
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