LaMonte Wade Jr.'s second at-bat of the spring provided a familiar sight for the Giants gathered on the top step of the dugout. Wade stayed on an elevated pitch and drove a low liner over the wall in left-center, and as he rounded first, he quickly turned and glanced at first base coach Antoan Richardson. S
It's a celebration Wade did 18 times in 2021, when he was the breakout offensive star of a stunning overall season. It's one that was mostly missing from the 2022 season, which was perhaps more disappointing for Wade than anyone else.
Never healthy, Wade played in just 77 games last year, batting .207 with an OPS+ that was 29 points worse than in 2021. The Giants responded by doubling down.
Brandon Belt was allowed to depart for the Toronto Blue Jays and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi did not bring in a replacement. He said all offseason that it was Wade's time at first base. When asked early in camp who he was excited to see this spring, manager Gabe Kapler smiled.
"I'm excited to see LaMonte," he said quickly. "Look, LaMonte has had a very focused offseason. He's been very driven, self-motivated, locked in on his own. Nobody is pushing him, he's just done all the right things without a lot of fanfare."