SAN FRANCISCO — Preparing for the possibility that they won’t re-sign Bengie Molina, the Giants have contacted the representative for Yorvit Torrealba, another free-agent catcher.
Giants general manager Brian Sabean said last Monday that the Giants wouldn’t offer Molina, their regular catcher for the previous three seasons, more than a one-year contract, given 22-year-old Buster Posey’s impending readiness for the Major Leagues. Sabean also reiterated his belief that at least one other team will offer Molina the multiyear contract he seeks.
Conceivably, if the Giants signed Torrealba, their backup catcher from 2001-05, he would handle the bulk of the playing time until Posey developed sufficiently.
Melvin Roman, Torrealba’s agent, confirmed the Giants’ interest. “They called and asked about him,” Roman said Monday. “But as of right now I have no other comment.”
Torrealba rejected a two-year, $4.5 million offer from Colorado earlier this offseason. The Rockies also declined to pick up a $4 million option on his 2010 contract, which made him a free agent. Torrealba is a “Type B” free agent, so though the Rockies would receive a “sandwich” draft pick if another team signed him, the signing team wouldn’t lose one of its selections.
– Chris Haft
SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants are eagerly waiting for Zack Wheeler to grow into a Major Leaguer before their very eyes, with an emphasis on “grow.”
Wheeler, 19, already stands 6-foot-4. One of his brothers also is 6-4 and another is 6-6. Their father, Barry, is 6-3 while their mother, Elaine, checks in at 5-9.
“I’m hoping to grow a half-inch,” said Wheeler, San Francisco’s No. 1 selection in June’s First-Year Player Draft who’s participating in the club’s conditioning camp that began Monday at AT&T Park.
Extending the measuring tape would give Wheeler a bigger frame to accommodate the 10 pounds he hopes to gain. Currently at 185, Wheeler should easily carry the extra weight even if he doesn’t grow a millimeter.
The added bulk would bode well for Wheeler’s fastball. The right-hander, who received a reported $3.3 million bonus after the Giants selected him sixth overall, learned this as an upperclassman at East Paulding (Ga.) High School.
“Between my junior and senior year I gained 15 pounds,” Wheeler said. Before the weight gain, Wheeler said, his velocity dwindled from 92 mph in the first couple of innings to the high 80s for the rest of the game. But Wheeler related that as a senior, he was able to touch 96 mph as late as the seventh inning.
– Chris Haft
SAN FRANCISCO — If the Giants can’t re-sign Bengie Molina, they ought to consider bringing back Yorvit Torrealba, who caught for them from 2001-05 before being sent to Seattle in the Randy Winn trade.
Torrealba was a capable backup for the Giants and has remained an effective performer with Colorado for the past four seasons.
Torrealba’s 31, but he’s far from physically eroded. He has played more than 100 games only once in his eight Major League seasons. He hit only two home runs in 213 at-bats last season with Colorado, but he batted .291 and recorded a .351 on-base percentage, north of Molina’s corresponding figures of .265 and .285.
Moreover, Torrealba’s likely to be affordable. He rejected a two-year, $4.5 million offer from Colorado. The Rockies also declined to pick up a $4 million option on Torrealba’s 2010 contract, which made him a free agent. Torrealba is a “Type B” free agent, so though the Rockies would receive a “sandwich” draft pick if another team signed him, the signing team wouldn’t lose one of its selections.
– Chris Haft
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