SAN FRANCISCO -- With the Giants deciding to keep rookie Hector Sanchez as their backup catcher, veteran Chris Stewart was dealt to the Yankees and will open the season on their roster instead.In exchange for Stewart, the Giants received right-handed pitcher George Kontos, who was reassigned to the Yankees' Minor League camp on March 20 and is expected to begin the season with Triple-A Fresno. Kontos, 26, went 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in five Spring Training contests with the Yankees. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound right-hander was a fifth-round pick in 2006 and has gone 25-33 with a 3.33 ERA in 137 games, including 77 starts, during his Minor League career. Kontos made his Major League debut last Sept. 10 and wound up allowing two runs in six innings over seven appearances. The Northwestern University product went 4-4 with a 2.62 ERA in 40 games, including four starts, with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last season, posting 91 strikeouts while walking just 26. Stewart, 30, joined the Giants last May after Buster Posey went down with his season-ending leg injury. Stewart batted .204 in 162 at-bats with three homers and 10 RBIs in 2011 and then batted .229 in 18 games this spring.
"Stew did a great job for us last year," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We lost Buster and Stew and [Eli Whiteside], we ham-and-egged it with those two. He stayed at first base for a while, but he did a great job with the pitching staff, he's a great thrower and he really did a lot to contribute to our club last year. I thanked him for that."
Building stamina, Zito faces Minor Leaguers
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Tweaking his pitching delivery yet again, Giants left-hander Barry Zito worked six innings Wednesday against a collection of Minor Leaguers to build stamina for his scheduled start Monday at Colorado.Zito, who allowed two runs, had lasted only 5 1/3 innings in his final two Cactus League outings. He also allowed 10 runs and 16 hits while walking five in those games. That combination prompted the Giants to create an environment which would guarantee extended activity for Zito, such as Wednesday's intrasquad affair. Zito also made a slight adjustment in his motion, keeping his weight back over the pitching rubber before driving forward.
"It allows my arm to get through more," Zito said. As a result, Zito believed he had better command of his fastball, which he needs to complement his breaking pitches.Zito also welcomed the opportunity to face farmhands from the lower rungs of the Minors.
"It's good to pitch against these guys because they're really aggressive," Zito said. "So you mix all your pitches well."Another Major Leaguer participating in this game was second baseman Freddy Sanchez, who will begin the season on the disabled list while continuing to recover from a dislocated right shoulder. This marked Sanchez's third appearance of the spring on defense. Though Sanchez wasn't tested by any overly challenging plays, he said, "It's coming along. Hopefully, the more reps I get out there, the quicker I can get back."
Giants, city unveil Mission Rock project plans
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants and the city of San Francisco have unveiled plans for Mission Rock, a proposed 27-acre project that will bring residential and office buildings as well as entertainment and public space to the area directly south of AT&T Park.Mayor Ed Lee made the announcement about the project in conjunction with the Giants and the Port of San Francisco at a Wednesday news conference at the site, which is currently identified as Seawall Lot 337 and Pier 48. "Mission Rock will be one of the largest urban mixed use projects in America and will become an enormous economic boost for our city," said Mayor Lee. "It will create thousands of construction and permanent jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues while creating much-needed housing and open space for a growing neighborhood and office space for companies starting or expanding in San Francisco." The Mission Rock proposal was submitted by the Giants and the Cordish Companies and will include eight acres of open space along with waterfront residences, shops, restaurants and a refurbished pier. There is 3.5 million square feet of development space planned for the site, which will bring an estimated thousands of construction jobs over the next several years and 7,000 permanent jobs upon completion. "The San Francisco Giants and our partners at The Cordish Companies have been working over the past 18 months to refine and fully develop plans for the Mission Rock Project, and we are thrilled to be entering into the next stage of development," said San Francisco Giants CEO and President Larry Baer.
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.