Five things we learned at Giants HQ: Buster Posey on Aubrey Huff, Pablo Sandoval ‘under construction’ and more

SF Giants catcher Buster Posey declined to elaborate on the team's decision to tell Aubrey Huff he would not be invited to the upcoming 2010 World Series reunion

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA – FEBRUARY 16: San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey (28) gets ready to bat during spring training at Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020. (Randy Vazquez / Bay Area News Group)
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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — When the San Francisco Giants won the 2010 World Series, Aubrey Huff was the team’s leading offensive player.

Ten years later, Huff’s social media commentary makes him the most offensive player from that club, too.

The Giants informed Huff earlier this month that inflammatory comments on Twitter crossed several lines and the former first baseman would not be welcome at Oracle Park when San Francisco hosts a 10-year reunion for the title-winning team on August 16.

In a statement provided to The Athletic and later obtained by the Bay Area News Group, the Giants said Huff has “made multiple comments on social media that are unacceptable and run counter to the values of our organization.”

Catcher Buster Posey and infielder Pablo Sandoval are the only members of the 2010 World Series club in Giants camp this spring and on Tuesday, Posey was asked about the organization’s decision.

“The simple answer for me is I think you guys know I pretty much stay out of pretty much anything that’s not involved with baseball here on the field,” Posey said. “That’s kind of the way I’ll leave it and defer to the people that make the decisions and I’ll leave it at that.”

Posey said members of the Giants’ organization had conversations with him about the decision when Huff made misogynistic and vulgar statements on Twitter this offseason, but he indicated he did not attempt to influence anyone’s opinion on the matter.

When asked what he remembers about being Huff’s teammate, Posey highlighted Huff’s clubhouse presence but noted that people change over time.

“It’s been so long, it’s been a long time,” Posey said. “Things change, people change over the course of 10 years. When Aubrey was here, he kept it pretty loose, enjoyed playing the game and he was definitely prone to being a jokester at times.”

Pablo Sandoval’s swing is ‘under construction’

One of the primary reasons the Giants were excited for Sandoval to return this season was because of the leadership presence and energy he brings to the clubhouse, the dugout and the field.

When players arrived in the clubhouse on Tuesday, Sandoval greeted a few while wearing a bright yellow construction vest, a hard hat and a declaration that his “swing is under construction.”

As Sandoval continues to progress in his recovery from his September Tommy John surgery, he has taken swings on the main field at Scottsdale Stadium. The veteran corner infielder made an impression on manager Gabe Kapler Tuesday as he was eager to swing at fastballs and breaking pitches alike during the first live batting practice session of the spring.

Sandoval faced right-handed prospects Luis Madero and Tyler Cyr on Tuesday and Kapler noticed how Sandoval “took aggressive swings on everything Madero threw up there.”

Jaylin Davis wearing technology during batting practice

Giants outfielder Jaylin Davis is one of the players eager to make use of the new technology the team has at its disposal.

During batting practices this spring, Davis will wear a “blast sensor” that tracks his swing path, exit velocities and other metrics that aid the coaching staff in providing the slugger with feedback on his approach at the plate.

“It kind of just shows me when I’m going good, what am I doing and then when I’m going bad, it kind of gives me a baseline too,” Davis said.

The feedback from the technology isn’t instant, but it gives the coaching staff points to emphasize with Davis when he reviews video of his swings. One of the keys the Giants’ new hitting coaches have outlined for Davis is to create a better launch angle and hit more balls in the air so he can take advantage of his mammoth power.

The former Twins prospect who was acquired at the July 31 trade deadline says that after an offseason of adjustments, the changes he’s making are already paying dividends.

“With Donnie (Ecker) and Justin (Viele), I feel like my plane is a lot better now than it was last year just by tweaking minor things,” Davis said.

Longoria responds to Manfred’s comments

The Giants don’t have any strong connections to the Houston Astros and the cheating scandal that has shaken baseball to its core, so few members of the team have voiced strong opinions on the matter.

Third baseman Evan Longoria has taken to Twitter to share his thoughts on the state of the sport, but when asked if he wanted to expand on his thoughts this week, Longoria chose not to go into detail.

The 13th-year veteran did respond to comments commissioner Rob Manfred made over the weekend when he called the World Series trophy a “piece of metal,” in an interview with ESPN.

“I think everybody that plays the game knows that it’s not just a piece of metal. It’s the blood, sweat and tears that go into the 175 games or whatever it takes to win a World Series,” Longoria said. “The sacrifice and all of that.”

Several MLB stars spoke out and expressed frustration with Manfred’s comments and while Longoria didn’t want to focus too much on the state of the game, he clearly isn’t the only player frustrated by how the commissioner has handled the scandal.

“I don’t know if he said that to make a funny or what, but (the trophy) is obviously representative of something much bigger than that,” Longoria said.

Two pitchers take big steps

A pair of Giants pitchers took big steps in their respective rehab processes on Monday and are expected to continue making strides this week.

Reliever Reyes Moronta played catch for the first time since undergoing shoulder surgery to repair his labrum in September. Moronta isn’t expected to be able to return to the Giants until August, but shoulder injuries are often considered more serious than elbow injuries for pitchers so it’s a positive sign that he’s progressing well.

Left-hander Tyler Anderson, who was acquired on waivers during the offseason, threw his first bullpen on Monday after undergoing knee surgery in June. The surgery to correct a chondral defect in Anderson’s left knee was initially expected to sideline him until the middle of this season.

Anderson said he doesn’t have a new timetable for his recovery, but he felt strong and healthy after throwing 25 fastballs in a bullpen and is optimistic a Giants coaching staff that’s making use of new technology to emphasize coaching points will be able to help him maximize his abilities this season.

The former Rockies pitcher posted an above average ERA+ in each of the first three seasons of his pro career and could be a valuable option in the Giants’ rotation when he’s ready to pitch again.

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