SAN FRANCISCO -- Gregor Blanco plans to break an old habit in hopes of becoming a new man.
Blanco said Sunday that he will decline to play in the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason for Tiburones De La Guaira, ending 11 consecutive seasons of performing for the club. This represents a major shift in Blanco's offseason approach. Just two winters ago, 2011-12, he was named the league's Most Valuable Player. He has hit .306 during his extensive Tiburones career.
Blanco intends to work out with second baseman and countryman Marco Scutaro in the Miami area. But Scutaro isn't the only teammate who's serving as an example for Blanco.
"I want to be able to be like Hunter Pence, " Blanco said. "That kind of player. Hunter brings consistency and energy, 100 percent, every day."
Blanco said he wants to concentrate on conditioning, paying particular attention to strengthening his legs. Blanco noted that his legs occasionally have felt fatigued, which might explain his stolen-base decline. He entered Sunday with 11 thefts in 17 attempts, compared with 26 in 32 tries last year.
"I'm excited about it," said Blanco, 29. "I want to put myself in a good situation, physically. I'll be better prepared."
Affeldt to ramp up rehab after throwing off mound
SAN FRANCISCO -- Emerging healthy from throwing off a bullpen mound Saturday, Giants left-hander Jeremy Affeldt has put himself on course to pitch a simulated game during the team's Sept. 2-4 series at San Diego, which could precede his reinstatement from the 15-day disabled list.
Affeldt, who hasn't pitched since straining his left groin July 20, will head for the Giants' Scottsdale, Ariz., training complex to intensify his rehabilitation and throw another bullpen session Monday, manager Bruce Bochy said.
Bochy noted that Affeldt, and thus the team, can benefit if he pitches effectively during the season's final weeks, "to have him in the right frame of mind for next year."
Bochy added that right-hander Matt Cain, who went on the disabled list for the first time in his career with a bruised right forearm, also will report to Arizona to hasten his recovery.
Bochy reiterated that the Giants will activate center fielder Angel Pagan from the DL on Sept. 1. The switch-hitter continued his injury rehabilitation assignment Saturday by playing nine innings with Triple-A Fresno, showing no ill effects from his surgically repaired left hamstring.
"He's showing no issues," Bochy said. "He has passed all the tests."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.