SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants and free agent
first baseman Ryan Klesko agreed to terms on a $1.75 million, one-year contract
Tuesday, giving the club another option at first along with
recently acquired Rich Aurilia.
The Giants plucked another player formerly with the rival San Diego Padres, the two-time defending NL West champions. San
Francisco also hired manager Bruce Bochy away from the Padres and
agreed to an $18 million, three-year contract with center fielder
Bochy and general manager Brian Sabean have said Aurilia, who
accepted an $8 million, two-year deal earlier this month to return
to the Giants, would be the primary first baseman -- though he can
play anywhere in the infield.
Klesko, also an outfielder, and Mark Sweeney are two left-handed
hitters who could be coming off the bench.
"He'll be playing some first base, he'll be playing some
outfield," Bochy said of Klesko. "He's done both and gives us
some flexibility there. He's a proven left-handed bat who also can
come off the bench as a power threat. It's nice to have two veteran
left-handed bats with the experience of the two."
The 35-year-old Klesko appeared in only six games in 2006 after
surgery on his left shoulder in April. He was bothered by soreness
in his throwing shoulder late in spring training and started the
season on the disabled list. He had three hits with a double and
two RBI in four at-bats. A left-handed hitter who also can play
the outfield, he spent the past seven seasons with San Diego after
playing his first eight years in the big leagues with the Atlanta Braves.
Bochy liked how Klesko was hitting batting practice late in the
season, saying: "It looked like the Ryan Klesko I knew two or
three years earlier. It's tough to play this game when you're
"I feel great or I wouldn't be playing. ... I kind of peaked at
the wrong time of the season last year," Klesko said. "I didn't
really have any doubts. When I had it done a few years ago on my
right shoulder, I came back without any problems."
Sabean said it's tough to find power hitters to play backup
roles, and he trusted Bochy's recommendation on this signing.
"He's fully endorsed by the manager," Sabean said. "He's a
winning player and that's why he's here."
Klesko could earn an additional $2 million in performance
bonuses based on plate appearances, getting the full amount if he
has 550. The Giants will donate $250,000 of his base salary to his
foundation, Blue Ryno.
Meanwhile, slugger Barry Bonds still had not scheduled a
physical with the Giants, who have reached a preliminary agreement
with the 42-year-old seven-time NL MVP on a $16 million, one-year
contract that could pay him up to $20 million. Finalizing Bonds'
contract has taken longer than Sabean expected after the sides came
to agreement Dec. 7 on the final day of the baseball winter
The GM said there was no update on Bonds' deal, though the
Giants are still searching for starting pitching.
"I think we'll be tweaking the roster right up through opening
day," Sabean said. "We are obviously in a geared-up mode to
address the pitching. We're still in the market, so that means
we've still got money to spend."