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11/19/11 2:15 AM EST
Villalona among Giants' 40-man roster additions
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- First baseman Angel Villalona, a 21-year-old hitting prospect who has endured legal trouble, was among six players the Giants added to their 40-man roster before Friday night's deadline. Right-handers Hector Correa and Dan Otero, second baseman Charlie Culberson and outfielders Tyler Graham and Roger Kieschnick joined Villalona on the roster, giving them protection from being taken in the Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings on Dec. 8. Center fielder Darren Ford, who starred briefly but spectacularly in the Giants' 2010 postseason bid, and right-hander Waldis Joaquin, who has spent parts of the last three seasons with San Francisco, were removed from the roster and designated for assignment. Villalona, who received what was a club-record $2.1 million signing bonus in August 2006, hasn't played professionally since 2009. In September of that year, Villalona became a suspect in the murder of Mario Felix de Jesus Velete. He was released on bond two months later but still faced the murder charges. The victim's family asked a judge to drop the case and received a reported $139,000 settlement with Villalona, who remained free on bond but had his U.S. visa revoked. Villalona filed a $5 million breach-of-contract lawsuit against the Giants earlier this year, but dropped the suit after the organization reinstated him to its farm system. In 254 Minor League games, none above high-Class A San Jose, Villalona has hit .268 with 31 home runs and 144 RBIs. Ford, 26, hit .286 (4-for-14) in 26 games for San Francisco this year. Grateful Giants fans shall forever remember him for his dash around the bases on Sept. 1, 2010, against Colorado. Pinch-running for Mike Fontenot, Ford scored the winning run by speeding to third base on Ubaldo Jimenez's wild pitch and coming home on catcher Miguel Olivo's throwing error. Joaquin was 1-0 with a 4.26 ERA in five relief appearances for the Giants. Graham hit .273 in 127 games with Triple-A Fresno and set a club record with 60 stolen bases in 72 attempts. Otero divided his season between Fresno and Double-A Richmond, finishing 4-4 with a 2.31 ERA in 56 relief appearances. Kieschnick hit .255 with 16 homers and 65 RBIs in 126 games for Richmond. Culberson batted .259 with 10 homers and 56 RBIs for Richmond. Correa split his season between San Jose and Richmond while posting a 7-2 mark with a 2.55 ERA. The moves brought the Giants' roster to its full 40-man complement.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.