05/01/2007 12:54 PM ET
Klesko: New team, new role
"As a veteran player, it's great to come to a veteran team because this team is really built to win now," says Ryan Klesko (right) of the Giants. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)
I've been a regular player for most of my career, but my role with the Giants is as a spot starter. I might play two or three days in a row, but I'm mostly here to fill in for Barry Bonds and to play some first base when Rich Aurilia is off playing other positions in the field.
Coming off shoulder surgery, I knew it would be difficult to get a job as an everyday player this past offseason. So I'm here now to see what I can do with the number of at-bats I get. Mostly, though, I'm just happy to be back in a uniform. I missed nearly a full season last year and just being able to come out and contribute is a great feeling.
I've been in the game a number of years but I had only played for two other clubs -- the Padres and the Braves -- before coming to the Giants, so I'm still adjusting to a new environment.
So far, being a part of this team this year has been exciting. I've always enjoyed coming to San Francisco and the Bay Area as a visiting player. Now, I've already come to realize this is a first-class organization. I like the team we've put together and the tradition that comes with playing for the Giants.
As a veteran player, it's great to come to a veteran team because this team is really built to win now. That was very attractive to me when I was a free agent this winter. When you look around the clubhouse, there are a lot of guys who have proven themselves. They know how to get themselves ready to play. There's also some good young pitching.
I know the division from having been in San Diego the last number of years. That's helped me with my transition here. It's a good, competitive division with a lot of good players. I've enjoyed playing in the NL West. Being familiar with the manager, Bruce Bochy, from our time together with the Padres has also helped make the transition easier for me.
San Francisco made its dedication to winning clear by bringing in a manager the caliber of Bochy and signing quality free agents in the offseason. I signed right before Barry Zito did, but knowing that the deal with him was close really helped cement my decision to come here.
Ryan Klesko, who can play first base or the outfield, has long been one of the NL's top left-handed hitters. Entering this season, Klesko had compiled a lifetime .280 batting average with 316 doubles, 272 home runs and 943 RBIs in 1,620 career games with Atlanta (1992-99) and San Diego (2000-06).