Huff ready to return to Giants in 2011
AP Baseball Writer
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Aubrey Huff won a World Series with the San Francisco Giants and he wants to stay put right where he is.
The free agent first baseman was back at the ballpark Wednesday after raising his lucky red thong for thousands of fans during a downtown victory parade. He said that he hopes to return to the Giants for 2011 and beyond.
“Oh, absolutely, without question,” Huff said. “I won a World Series here. I’ve been in last place my whole life. I won a World Series. The fans are crazy. You’d be an idiot not to want to come back here. I love it. I’ve been on five different teams. I liked them but I didn’t love them. I love this place.”
The 33-year-old Huff reached the playoffs for the first time in his 11-year big league career in his first year with the Giants. He hit a two-run homer in a 4-0 Game 4 victory.
San Francisco signed Huff to a $3 million, one-year contract last January to provide a boost in the middle of the batting order. Huff hit .290 with a team-leading 26 home runs and 86 RBIs while playing in 157 games. The Giants were counting on Huff returning to his 2008 form, when he hit .304 with 32 home runs and a career-best 108 RBIs.
He certainly showed plenty of improvement, not to mention versatility playing both first and left field, in bouncing back from a career-worst .241 batting average in 2009 with Baltimore and Detroit. He wound up with 15 homers and 85 RBIs in 150 games between the two teams last year.
Huff feels at home in the Bay Area after only one season.
“I didn’t know San Francisco had that many fans, that many people,” Huff said. “That was something, man. The schools were out, most of the people were off work. It was unbelievable.”
Even the rival Oakland Athletics, who swept San Francisco in the 1989 World Series, showed their appreciation for the Giants. The A’s took out a full-page ad in The San Francisco Chronicle saying, “Like everyone else, we’re inspired.”
Also Wednesday, World Series MVP Edgar Renteria, who hit a three-run homer off Texas ace Cliff Lee in the seventh inning of Monday night’s 3-1 clincher, said he isn’t ready to decide if he will retire. Injured most of the season, he said he is going to give himself a chance to rest for a while before determining his future.
Renteria spent three stints on the disabled list and finished the year playing with a torn biceps.
“It’s always hard to think about retiring,” Renteria said. “I want to rest. Whew, I feel great.”
Ace Tim Lincecum, who beat Lee in the opener and again in the Series clincher, doesn’t plan to rest for long. He said he would return home to Seattle – where he plans to buy a new place – and take three weeks off before resuming his offseason workout program.
The two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award winner altered his routine to focus more on leg strength and core work during a career-worst five-star losing streak in August.
The shaggy-haired pitcher is still soaking in the fact he just won a World Series ring, the city’s first championship since the franchise moved West in 1958. When he hopped the dugout rail to celebrate after the final out at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, he was in disbelief.
“It hadn’t really settled in,” the 26-year-old Lincecum said. “You’re just kind of standing there waving your hands and screaming, kind of more in shock than anything. Like, this really happened, can you believe it, that’s what you’re asking everybody and asking yourself. It hasn’t really set in yet, maybe a little more today just because of the fans and getting to watch their reaction to seeing us. I’m still waiting for those tears. I’ll see when those happen.”