Even with star pitchers Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto turning down a combined $100 million-plus, the San Francisco Giants are once again a team on the rise, after missing the playoffs for the first time in 21 years last season.
It's a position that Aubrey Huff, who was a key reason for the Giants' success in 2007 when they won the World Series, has noticed since being released by the Philadelphia Phillies in August.
"I've been talking to my agent a lot lately," Huff said at the annual Tinseltown Hollywood Benefit for Little League on Thursday at Paramount Studios in Hollywood. "The Giants have had a real resurgence. If it wasn't for me, they wouldn't be having a reunion with me."
Huff signed a minor league contract with the Phillies on Aug. 28 after joining the club July 22. He finished with a .241 average and 11 home runs in 91 games. At age 37, Huff was released and agreed to a minor league deal with the Giants three days later.
"It wasn't necessarily a deal of me wanting to be the front-runner or something like that," Huff said. "I just thought it was best for me to get out of Philly. When the opportunity came up to go down there, I wanted to take it."
Now he's the Giants' third-string designated hitter, first baseman and utility infielder. He is batting .276, with three home runs and 13 RBIs in 30 games. "I'm just trying to be the player I used to be, with the amount of time I have," he said.
The benefit of having two top-notch, young starting pitchers isn't lost on Huff. He said after last season, it is clear that the Giants' front office is committed to retooling.
"We don't want to repeat the mistakes we made last year," he said. "We're moving on."
The former USC quarterback seemed much more relaxed Thursday, his head held high. He was welcomed at the party by his ex-teammates such as Angel Pagan, Kevin Frandsen, Rich Aurilia and Omar Vizquel. He said it's good to be back in the entertainment business as a baseball analyst on Fox Sports West and KNBR radio in San Francisco.
And he's certainly not holding a grudge against the Giants for his demotion.
"I have a pretty good relationship with manager Bruce Bochy," he said. "I don't hold grudges. It's the rules."
Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks
■ City Councilman Richard Alarcon presented Councilman Paul Krekorian with a Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks check for $80,000 for the program Our City Program. Krekorian joined with Alarcon to lead the successful campaign to secure $70 million from last fall's ballot measure Measure M, for a historic partnership to improve youth recreation parks. Measure M dedicates half the annual taxes collected by Measure T, which expired in 2013, to rehabilitate and restore city recreation facilities and facilities. The funds will also be used to build new facilities.
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