SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Giants introduced Nori Aoki to the media at a press conference on Jan. 20. A day later, Gregor Blanco arrived in San Francisco for a physical that made official a two-year deal worth $7.5 million.
Blanco clearly wasn’t bothered by the addition of another starting outfielder. He said Monday that only one issue mattered as he instructed his agent to buy out his final two arbitration years.
“I always say, I’m so glad, man, so grateful for what the Giants have done for me,” Blanco said. “I just want to play here, man. It doesn’t matter how I help the team win. If that means I’m on the bench, that’s fine. After 2012 and what they did for me, I wanted to stay here. I have two rings.”
Before the 2012 season, Blanco had just 710 big league at-bats spread over three seasons with the Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Royals. He was in danger of washing out of the league, but he made the Giants roster with a strong spring performance in 2012 and got 1,238 at-bats in his first three years in San Francisco. Blanco has played at least 141 games each of the past three seasons, practically becoming a full-time player because of injuries to Angel Pagan and the 2012 Melky Cabrera suspension.
Blanco said he’s not concerned about a dip in his playing time, and manager Bruce Bochy has called the outfield rotation “a workable situation.” Pagan has had trouble staying on the field and Bochy intends on giving Hunter Pence additional days off this season to keep him fresh.
No matter what the lineup looks like in March, the Giants always seem to find about 400 at-bats for the player nicknamed the White Shark. On that note, Blanco said his Instagram followers might soon see photos of a unique experience. He was vacationing in Punta Cana this winter when given the opportunity to actually swim with sharks.
“My wife told me I should do it and at first I said no,” Blanco said. “But she pointed out that a lot of people call me a shark.”
Blanco was in a metal cage that was lowered out into the ocean. He said he’ll post photos soon.
Speaking of water, the Giants got rained out today, so not much to talk about at Scottsdale Stadium …
HEALTH WATCH: Matt Cain said he felt great day after throwing to hitters. He remains on track to start a Cactus League game on or around March 10. Tim Hudson threw a bullpen session — his third of the spring — in an indoor batting cage. All is good with the other rehabbing right-hander.
ICYMI: Over the weekend, I posted stories on Christian Arroyo and Bumgarner vs. Posey. Also, Casey McGehee liked what he saw when he stepped in against Tim Lincecum, who will throw an inning tomorrow.
LIGHTER SIDE: Matt Duffy — the middle infielder nicknamed “Duffman” — tweeted out a photo of his new bat decals. The company that makes them for Duffy, Pro Helmet Decals, sent him a sheet with spring training-themed stickers.