Sports

Giants’ steady move toward home-grown talent pays off

The 2010 San Francisco team always will have a spot in the hearts of Giants’ fans.

Those players not only were the first to bring a World Series trophy across the Bay Bridge, they came out of nowhere to do it.

And from everywhere. When the 2010 Giants took the field for Game 1 of the World Series against Texas, there was one home-grown position player (Buster Posey) in the starting lineup.

The seven other position players came through the systems of other organizations en route to the majors, then joined the Giants either through trades or free agency.

It’s the expensive and dicey way to build a team, and it worked for San Francisco. At the same time, the Giants knew the best way to maintain success would be to develop their own players, and much to the organization’s credit, such has been the path since winning that first title.

By the time the Giants reached the 2012 World Series, they sported a Game 1 lineup that featured home-grown talent in four of the eight spots (Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford.)

Fast-forward to Monday, when seven of the nine players in the Giants’ starting lineup for Game 3 against Washington was home grown, with Hunter Pence (Houston) and Gregor Blanco (Atlanta) being the exceptions.

It’s not only a source of pride in San Francisco but sends waves of pride throughout the organization’s minor-league outposts.

“Seven of nine ... isn’t that a shock,” said Dick Tidrow, the Giants’ vice president and director of player personnel, whose major responsibility s overseeing the minor-league system. “We’ve certainly tried. It’s a credit to our scouting and our player development that we got better at one of those areas or both.

“It’s all about putting guys in the right position in the minor leagues so that they can be good at what they do.”

The Giants have a track record of fielding winning teams at the Class-A and Double-A levels, teaching players how to prepare to win at the lower levels. Then, they use the Triple-A team almost as a taxi squad for the majors, with the emphasis less on winning and more on making certain those players are ready to step into AT&T Park ready to play.

“We haven’t been good at Triple A, but that’s the team we use to support the major-league club,” Tidrow said. “When the big-league club runs into trouble and needs a player, the Triple-A club can run into trouble because they’re suddenly a player short.

“From Double A down, we have a lot of good, young players – the kind of players that other teams like to trade for. But we like it even better when they make it all the way here.”

When Petit was huge – Yusmeiro Petit was asked before Monday’s game how many innings he could pitch if called upon.

“I think I’m ready for three,” he said through an interpreter.

It would be difficult to doubt him, even though he threw 80 pitches in a six-inning relief stint Saturday, getting the victory when Belt homered in the 18th inning.

Belt’s homer made him the hero, but the night really belonged to Petit, who went to the ballpark Saturday afternoon knowing he had but a slim chance of pitching. But as the swing guy, the sometimes-starter, sometimes-long reliever, he had to be ready.

“I’m here to do what the team asks me to do,” Petit said. “If they want me to start, I’ll start. If they want me to be a reliever, I’ll be a reliever. But the bottom line is that I know what I can do, and I can do both jobs.”

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