Wearing a big smile as he goes through pregame fielding drills at first base or waits his turn to take batting practice, Angel Villalona is enjoying the most basic aspects of being back on a baseball field.
Playing professionally again at last, he is delivering at the plate and with his glove, going about his business with a quiet professionalism - thankful for a second chance in the San Francisco Giants' organization at age 22 after four years away dealing with a dismissed murder charge that nearly derailed his career.
''First of all, I'm thankful to God. Each day I'm confident and thank the Giants for all the hard work we've been doing,'' Villalona said before a game last week, speaking through San Jose hitting coach Lipso Nava. ''I'm positive each day and working hard. It's good to be playing here and getting a fresh start. If I have a good day or a bad day, I know the fan support is going to be there.''
From the moment Villalona showed up at spring training five months ago, h...