Bochy talks to NL All-Star skipper La Russa

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Bochy talks to NL All-Star skipper La Russa

PITTSBURGH -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy spoke by phone with NL All-Star skipper Tony La Russa, but they didn't spend most of the conversation talking about Matt Cain's case to start or Buster Posey's ability to catch the knuckleball.

La Russa wanted to know about Melky Cabrera.

"We spent a lot of time on the outfield situation," Bochy said.

La Russa lacks an everyday center fielder in his starting lineup of Cabrera, Carlos Beltran and Ryan Braun. Cabrera has played center in the past, as has Beltran. La Russa wanted to get a feel for which player would be more comfortable in that spot.

It's likely that the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen, a starting center fielder, would enter the game before long.

As for choosing a starting pitcher, La Russa told Bochy that it remains a topic of conversation. with former Cardlinals pitching coach Dave Duncan.

"He did say they're still debating, he and Duncan," Bochy said.

With Yadier Molina out of the game, it's likely that Buster Posey could end up working with Cain, New York Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and perhaps someone like the Nationals' Stephen Strasburg.

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In other pregame news, Bochy said Santiago Casilla's status was the same as Friday. He is technically available but Bochy would prefer to stay away from him because of a blister on his pitching hand.

Sergio Romo, despite pitching 2 13 innings over the last two games, is available to pitch and likely would serve as closer again, subject to matchups.

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Bochy indicated he's leaning toward having Hector Sanchez work with Tim Lincecum for the fourth consecutive time on Sunday. That's a move dictated by the weather, more than anything. It's 97 degrees and smoking outside; the coaches hustled the players off the field after a very abbreviated batting practice session.

Bochy didn't want to overtax Posey by having him catch consecutive games in these conditions, especially when he won't get much of an All-Star break. It's 101 degrees in Kansas City, too.

Evans: Giants want to give Parker, Williamson chance to play, but...

Evans: Giants want to give Parker, Williamson chance to play, but...

While the Giants aggressively pursue a new closer, they haven't been aggressive for a new left fielder.

Angel Pagan is a free agent and isn't likely to come back. That leaves talented, but unproven youngsters Mac Williams and Jarrett Parker.

And for GM Bobby Evans, who is always looking for ways to improve the roster, it appears he is content going into the 2017 with Williamson and Parker filling the void in left field.

"Our mindset has been to keep an open mind in any way we can improve the club offensively. But that said, I feel like we've got a starting lineup today that we don't have to adjust or improve upon. I'd always like to find ways to improve it. I think there are some big market options, but we've got two young guys that we want to get a good evaluation on, and you can't really do that until they get major league at-bats. That's Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker and both of them are really in-waiting for an opportunity to get everyday playing time and show what they can do," Evans told ESPN's Buster Olney on Friday.

But Evans is keeping an open mind regarding acquiring a left fielder.

"That said, I also have to make sure that if we have an opportunity to improve or solidify our lineup in some way, I want to take advantage of it. But I can't lose sight of the benefit of developing our own guys and giving them a chance and not locking ourselves into keeping them from playing time in the next two to three years" Evans said.

Evans: Giants still in 'search mode' for closer, but 'it's progressing'

Evans: Giants still in 'search mode' for closer, but 'it's progressing'

As the Winter Meetings get set to begin in Washington, D.C. on Monday, the Giants still haven't crossed off the top item on their offseason wish list.

The closer role remains vacant.

Names like Mark Melancon and Greg Holland have been linked to the Giants over the last few weeks, but nothing has materialized.

On Friday, GM Bobby Evans provided an update while speaking with ESPN's Buster Olney.

"There's been a lot of signings and a number of trades. In many ways, more done prior to the winter meetings than in the last couple of years. We still are in process, relative to trade options, relative to free agent options, to be clear who's pitching the ninth inning for us. So we feel we have the makings of a good bullpen, we just need to be clear who's pitching the ninth. And we'd like to solidify that through the trade market or free agent market. It's progressing. We're a month into this process, so we have a lot more information. But ultimately, until we have a closer, we're still in the search mode.

There's a nice balance between both. It's just that, they both have costs. Relative to a trade, sometimes you're giving up, in some cases, one or more of your top prospects and other prospects below that. In the way of free agency, it's obviously an expenditure for a certain number of years that is elavated more on the supply and demand side. That said, there are some middle tier late inning options as well that may not be as demanding as some of the bigger names. Again, it's a balance of options trying to measure all three."