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The Big Five with … Giants 1B Aubrey Huff

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SAN FRANCISCO — Parade around the clubhouse in a victory thong, and the fact that you led the National League champions in homers, RBI, runs, slugging percentage and OPS can get lost in the shuffle. That’s Aubrey Huff’s fate these days, and he couldn’t be happier. He answers The Big 5 here:

So if Giants fans wear fake beards for Brian Wilson, long-haired wigs for Tim Lincecum and panda hats for Pablo Sandoval, what’s the  fitting tribute for you?

Through a slightly embarrassed smirk: “Wilson has been here his whole career, and he’s such a warrior out there; fans have grown to him. Timmy is the face of the franchise. This is my first year here; I’m just trying to fit in with these morons. I had to go over the top. I’m pretty tame compared to these guys. We’ve got a lot of characters. It’s strange to say, but the weirder you are, it seems the more you win.”

On playing in the post-season, and the pressure involved: “I’ve always been a guy who’s played the game kinda loose, not a lot of nerves. But I gotta tell you, there have been some nerves. Especially in Game 6 in Philly. That was probably the most-nervous I’ve been playing a baseball game.”

On growing up in Fort Worth as a Texas Rangers fan, and his favorite player: “I was at the final game at the old park, watched the ceremony when they moved (home) plate over to the new one. The next year, I went to the new park, and thought that was the most-unbelievable park I had ever seen. I remember $1 hot dog nights; 12-14 years old, sitting in the upper deck, eating $1 hot dogs all day. Now the World Series is coming up there, so it’s pretty cool.

“Nolan Ryan. I’m a hitter, but I grew up wanting to pitch. I had tickets to his sixth no-hitter (May 1, 1991 against Toronto), and my Mom was too tired from work that day to take us. He threw a no-hitter, and I was so upset.”

On the likely possibility of designated hitting in Games 3-5: “That’s up to Boch (Giants manager Bruce Bochy). He’s nailed the lineups all postseason. Obviously, I’m comfortable DH-ing. I’ve done it a lot. At this point, I don’t care where I am. If I’m hitting (in the) eight-hole, I’m fine with it. I’ve hit six-hole the last two nights, and it’s working. I’ll hit behind the pitcher; I don’t care right now.”

On postseason hitting hero Juan Uribe: “He’s so strong, and he swings so hard. He runs into so many balls late in games. It’s gotta be 8-9-10 homers late in games that have tied it or put us ahead. He’s really, really clutch. We love him as a teammate. He’s got a lot of energy. He’s a fun guy – if you can understand him.”

Editor’s note: Tony DeMarco is a contributor to NBCSports.com who has been covering the big leagues since 1987. He’ll interview a guest during each day of the World Series for HardballTalk.com.

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.

Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”

Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”

The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.

There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.

Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.