02/15/2013 7:56 PM ET
Villalona ready to focus on baseball, not past
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- First baseman Angel Villalona reported to camp Friday, bent on putting his controversial past behind him.
"The one thing I can say is I'm here to play, to give my all and to get back to playing baseball," the 22-year-old Villalona said through a Giants media relations official acting as an interpreter.
The Giants signed Villalona with a then-club record $2.1 million bonus in 2006. The 16-year-old was said to have prodigious power, and Felipe Alou compared him to Andres Galarraga in terms of slugging potential .
While playing for Class A San Jose in Sept. 2009, an injured Villalona returned home to the Dominican Republic to visit his family. A fatal shooting at a nightclub resulted in Villalona's arrest. He reportedly paid the victim's family $139,000 before charges were dropped for a lack of evidence.
Asked to address what happened on the night of the shooting, Villalona said, "I'd rather not talk about it. I'd rather just concentrate on playing baseball."
Villalona said that he trimmed 40 pounds, from 290 to 250, to prepare for Major League camp. His most recent baseball activity was a 44-game stint in the Dominican Summer League last year, when he hit .303 with seven homers and 34 RBIs in 44 games.
"I played very hard, but I am aware that here is a totally different type of baseball," Villalona said. "I know I have to work double because of the competition."
Manager Bruce Bochy sounded ready to welcome Villalona.
"I know it's been a long journey for him," Bochy said. "From what I gather, he has really rededicated himself and is excited about getting another opportunity."
Heston impresses onlookers with bullpen session
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Minor League right-hander Chris Heston's bullpen session impressed observers, including manager Bruce Bochy and catcher Buster Posey.
"He commands the ball well and has good sink on it," Bochy said of Heston, who finished 9-8 with a 2.24 ERA for Double-A Richmond last year. "I know it's just [throwing in the] bullpen, but this is his first big league camp."
Posey caught Heston and liked what he saw.
"He had good sink and run on his fastball to both sides of the plate, and he commanded his other pitches really well," Posey said.
Standing behind a fence, general manager Brian Sabean also appeared to be closely watching the 24-year-old Heston.
Bochy also liked what he saw from Tim Lincecum, whom Bochy said looked more comfortable than he did in his first bullpen session Wednesday.
"He looks great," Bochy said. "I thought the ball was coming out real nice today."
Ramirez's arrival remains delayed by visa issue
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Manager Bruce Bochy expects all 70 players invited to camp to be present for Saturday's initial full-squad workout with one exception: right-hander Ramon Ramirez, whose arrival remained delayed by visa problems.
Bochy wasn't overly concerned about Ramirez, who he expected will report to camp in another couple of days.
Position players will ease into full activity by taking batting practice against coaches, not pitchers. A week remains before San Francisco's Feb. 23 Cactus League opener against the Los Angeles Angels.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.