EXTRAS: Cabrera's cannon, Bochy's lineup plans, etc.

EXTRAS: Cabrera's cannon, Bochy's lineup plans, etc.
March 4, 2012, 1:35 am
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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera did somenice things in their first game as the Giants 1-2 punch.
Pagan singled and stole a base in the Giants 9-6 loss toArizona at Scottsdale Stadium. Cabrera debuted with a double, an RBI and alaser beam throw from left field.Pagan and Cabrera will bat in the Nos. 1-2 spots again forSundays split squad against the Diamondbacks, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.Thats the way well play it, Bochy said. Until (FreddySanchez) comes back, thats what youre going to see.

Bochy also confirmed he is leaning toward Pablo Sandoval inthe No. 3 spot once Buster Posey returns as the cleanup hitter. Sandoval hitfourth on Saturday and probably will bat in the same spot in one of Sundayslineup; Posey wont play in either game, Bochy said.Pagan, Cabrera and Sandoval would give the Giants a trio ofswitch-hitters to send against opposing pitchers in the first inning.Although Sanchez has been a No. 2 hitter most of his career,the Giants might need his right-handed bat to break up the lower half of theorder. They look to be very left-handed with Aubrey Huff (or Brandon Belt),plus Nate Schierholtz and Brandon Crawford.Youll see some different lineups, Bochy said. Really,thats something Ill enjoy, with the flexibility and versatility. But forright now, yes, the lean is toward Pablo third.--

Cabrera has been a very quiet guy thus far this spring. Ididnt really know much about him, to be honest. Playing in the American Leaguewith Kansas City last season, I didnt see much of his breakout season. (He wasa much different hitter with Atlanta in 2010, when he and pretty much therest of the injury-riddled Braves lineup couldnt turn around a fastball inthe NLDS.)So as the Giants took the field for the first Cactus Leaguegame, I was more interested to see Cabrera than any other player.We saw something pretty remarkable right away. In the firstinning, Tim Lincecum gave up a single with runners at second and third. Cabreracharged the ball and made a clothesline throw that reached catcher ChrisStewart on the fly. Justin Upton was beaten to the plate by 20 feet and slowedinto Stewarts tag.Barry Bonds didnt have that arm in left field. Neither didPat Burrell. I cant think of the last time the Giants had an above average armat that position. Can you?Pagan also profiles as an above average defender in centerfield, although not in Andres Torres class. Pagans 10 errors last season(mostly throwing) were a concern. Sure enough, he made an error on his firstchance as a Giant when he overran a single.Bochy didnt mind that, though. He had sent a message toboth outfielders that he wants them to play all-out.Yeah, weve talked about that, with baserunning and howthey play the outfield, Bochy said. We want them to charge the ball and beaggressive. So I dont have any problem with that.--

The sellout crowd of 12,127 cheered a little louder thannormal when Aubrey Huff worked an eight-pitch walk in the first inning. Lestyou be reminded, Huffs walks plummeted from 83 in 10 to 47 last season.Heres a stunner I dug up: His on-base percentage droppedfrom .385 in 10 (10th best in the NL) to .306 last season (eighthworst).Huff also fell victim to the play of the game. In his nextplate appearance, he absolutely crushed a ball almost 420 feet to dead center.Chris Young battled the wind and the sun while making a diving catch on thewarning track.Huff didnt throw up his hands. He just jogged back to thedugout.The wind was no small factor on that Young catch, either. Thebreezy conditions twice victimized Nate Schierholtz on balls over his head inright field.--

The other play of the game: Giants second baseman JoaquinArias butchered a grounder but managed to slap it with his glove to shortstop EmmanuelBurriss for a forceout. Bet he spent all winter practicing that one.Actually, Arias is an interesting guy to watch this spring. Hewas a onetime hot prospect with the Royals and Giants special assistant FelipeAlou said he was one of the most dominant players in the Dominican League thiswinter.--

Center fielder Gregor Blanco was just as dominant in theVenezuelan League while winning MVP honors. Blanco had the biggest hit inThursdays intrasquad game, legging out a triple.I was in the clubhouse standing next to Pablo Sandoval whenBlanco made solid contact. We could see it on a closed-circuit TV feed.You hang it, he bang it, shouted Sandoval, shaking his headin amazement.Perhaps the next best hitter in Venezuela this winter wasswitch-hitting catcher Hector Sanchez. He kept up his stroke with a solo shotoff right-hander Sam Demel in the seventh inning.--

Eric Surkamps first outing of the spring was not very good.He struggled to get his pitches down in the zone and ran a lot of deep countswhile allowing three runs in 1 13 innings. Chris Young took him deep. Surkamp alsospent a lot of time practicing his pickoff move. So it wasnt over quickly,either.--

This mornings post about Dan Runzler (strained lat muscle)has been updated, but in case you missed it, Bochy said the initial diagnosisis that the left-hander would need to rest for at least three to four weeksbefore he could begin throwing again. The club will wait to see if Dr. Andrewsconcurs with that opinion before they plot out an official timetable.--

Cody Ross had quite a debut with the Boston Red Sox. He hita solo home run and later followed that up with a grand slam.The Red Sox were playing Northeastern University. They won25-0.Just more proof that Northwestern > Northeastern.

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