Huff scratched with lower back tightness

March 17, 2012, 9:02 pm
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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- First baseman Aubrey Huff was a late scratch from Saturday afternoon's lineup against the A's because of lower back tightness, the Giants announced.

Huff took batting practice prior to the game but retired to the clubhouse ahead of the other players. The 35-year-old first baseman, who is trying to fend off Brandon Belt for a starting role, is hitting .286 (8 for 28) with two home runs in 10 games.

Huff has received 33 innings at first base and just five in left field, although Giants manager Bruce Bochy has vowed to give him more time in the outfield this spring. By contrast, Belt has played 36 innings at first base and 23 in the outfield (17 in right, six in left).

The Giants made one other lineup change, and it cost Brandon Crawford whatever he had planned for Saturday night. They shifted the shortstop to the other split-squad game -- a 7:05 p.m. contest against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Glendale.

It was a change the Giants were forced to make. The team fielded a complaint from the league office because the night lineup didn't have any forecasted starting position players, with the possible exception of Belt.

The league requires teams to have three anticipated starting position players in every exhibition lineup, and officials are enforcing it this spring. Teams get one warning and the Giants already burned theirs when they sent over a light lineup to Tempe earlier this spring.

Mike Fontenot replaced Crawford in the afternoon lineup and minor league third baseman Chris Dominguez replaced Huff at first base. Although Dominguez got confused in the second inning and didn't cover the bag on a grounder to the right side, he later redeemed himself by ranging to haul in a foul fly with an over-the-shoulder catch.

In other news, Ryan Vogelsong (strained lower back) faced hitters for the first time this spring. Dominguez was one of the stand-ins and said Vogelsong didn't have command, but was impressed with the quality of his stuff. Vogelsong will face hitters at least one more time before he'd be cleared to start a game.

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