Bochy considers shuffling late-inning relief roles, etc.


Bochy considers shuffling late-inning relief roles, etc.

SAN FRANCISCO The Giants landed Hunter Pence but didnt beefup their bullpen ahead of Tuesdays non-waiver trade deadline. Any deals theymake from this point are likely to be supplemental arms and not a full-fledgedcloser.

But Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he remained confident inhis late-game options.

I feel good about our situation here late in the ballgamebecause we have guys with experience, Bochy said.

BAGGARLY: Pence 'absolutely' would sign long-term with Giants

How will Bochy line up those guys, exactly? What is the pecking order?

Well, the manager acknowledged he wanted to give SantiagoCasilla and Sergio Romo some time out of the fire Tuesday night, when he hadleft-hander Jeremy Affeldt pitch the final two innings of a 4-1 victory overthe New York Mets.

Affeldt entered a 3-1 game and protected Tim Lincecumsvictory by retiring all six hitters he faced, three on strikeouts.

Since the All-Star break, Affeldt has held opponentsscoreless in eight of nine outings while holding them to a .108 average. Hesstruck out 11 and walked two in 11 23 innings.

Sounds like closer material to me.

Although Bochy didnt express a lack of confidence in Casilla, the right-hander has been scored upon in seven of 15 appearances beginning with his rough series June 22-24 at Oakland. Casilla has converted just five of 10 save chances over that run while serving up four homers, and he couldnt preserve a tie in the 10th inning of Monday nights loss to the Mets.

We'll have to see which way Bochy goes if he has a save situation tonight.

Aubrey Huff was placed back on the 15-day disabled list toclear a space on the active roster for Pence. Bochy said he didnt know howlong Huffs knee would keep him out this time.

Hector Sanchezs sprained knee passed all the tests atTriple-A Fresno and hes expected to be activated prior to Thursdays game.Bochy didnt commit to starting Sanchez, but its almost a given because BarryZito will be on the mound and its a day game after a night game.

EXTRA BAGGS: Posey welcomes pain in catching Lincecum, etc.

Bochy was asked if hell be more likely to let Buster Poseysoak up more starts at first base now that Sanchez will be on the roster again.The manager danced around the question a bit, but no doubt, it would behooveBrandon Belt to keep getting his hits.

Posey is going to catch for the most part, and Belts beenswinging better, Bochy said. But weve got a chance to get Hector, a prettygood bat in there.

Sanchez wont be appearing at first base any time soon,though. Hes been taking grounders there all season but Bochy said that PabloSandovals strained hamstring which he sustained while stretching to receivea throw at first base influenced the decision to take away Sanchezs lightlyused first basemans mitt.

You put a guy at a different position, theres a risk, tobe honest, Bochy said. I didnt think there was with Pablo, but it happened."

Sandoval could find himself back at first base when hereturns, though. If Marco Scutaro keeps hitting as the third baseman, that movewould be almost automatic.

Nate Schierholtz already has a home run in his Philliesdebut, and you fantasy leaguers already know what to do with your next supplementaldraft pick.

Giants spring training Day 44: Marrero caps huge spring with eighth homer


Giants spring training Day 44: Marrero caps huge spring with eighth homer

MESA, Ariz. — The Giants went 0-62 last season when trailing after eight innings. Chris Marrero wasn’t around for any of that, but it’s a stat that could help Marrero as he tries to lock up a bench spot. 

The first baseman/left fielder crushed a three-run shot in the ninth inning Tuesday, wiping out a two-run deficit against the Cubs. Marrero also has two walk-off homers this spring. 

“This kid, you see it when he goes up there. He’s got great focus,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s intensity and determination. From day one, you could see it in his at-bats. Late in the game, he seems very comfortable. He wants to go up there.”

Tuesday’s homer, which shot out to right-center, was the eighth of the spring for Marrero. That ties him with a guy named Bryce Harper for the MLB lead, and the vast majority of Marrero’s bombs were no-doubters. 

“It’s been a great spring for him,” Bochy said. “The last game here, it seems fitting that he would do something like that. He’s already done it a couple of times. This kid has done all he can. I love his swing and the work that he’s put in.”

With Michael Morse down, Marrero is the best remaining option as a power right-handed bat off the bench, a glaring need a year ago. Justin Ruggiano, another one in the mix, followed Marrero’s shot with one of his own. The homer was Ruggiano’s second of the spring. 

Ruggiano is a better fit defensively in the outfield, but Marrero has been solid at first and Bochy said he’s fine with what he’s seen in left field. “He’s still working on it,” Bochy said, noting that Marrero will play left field during the Bay Bridge Series. 

LEADING OFF: Denard Span saw a wild pitch bounce off the bricks behind home plate, and he never slowed down. Span sped around third in the second inning and slid in ahead of the throw. The notable part of the play wasn’t that a quirky bounce allowed Span to take 180 feet on a wild pitch. It was that his legs did. The 33-year-old has been a different guy in his second spring with the Giants. Last year, Span was coming off hip surgery. This spring, his old game has returned.

“I’ve just been able to do the things I’ve always been able to do,” Span said. “I have more control of my body. I’m stronger. I had a full offseason and a full spring training to get my legs up under me. The last couple of weeks, I’ve felt much better and more confident.”

A healthy and spry Span would be a big boost to a lineup that often looked flat in the second half last season Span showed off every aspect of his game Tuesday. He blasted a leadoff homer on Jake Arrieta’s second pitch, and during their second matchup, he put a perfect bunt down the third base line for a single. Span stole second easily before his race home. 

“He’s playing terrific baseball and he’s been a real inspiration, being our leadoff hitter,” Bochy said. “That’s what we needed — energy at the top of the order.”

TRAINER’S ROOM: Eduardo Nuñez (shoulder) is feeling much better, and Bochy said he’ll play third base during the games at AT&T Park before getting four or five innings at shortstop on Saturday. Joe Panik (drilled in the back on Monday) said he’s feeling fine. 

POSITION BATTLES: Here’s the latest on Matt Cain, and here’s an update on Aaron Hill and Jimmy Rollins. 

ICYMI: Big news today from NBC Bay Area. Matt Williams, Javier Lopez and Cody Ross have joined out pre- and post-game shows. You can find stories about those guys on our homepage here. Those shows will also now be an hour long on both ends of the game, adding an extra hour of Giants coverage to your day. Which is good. 

That’s all on the way during the regular season. If you missed any of our spring coverage, you can find a bunch of features here, and podcasts here (spring pods included Mike Morse, Matt Cain, Mac Williamson, Jimmy Rollins and others, with one more coming this week). And in case you’re new to our coverage, the Twitter account is here and the Facebook page is here. Next stop, San Francisco … 

Giants appear to have decided between Hill or Rollins for roster spot

Giants appear to have decided between Hill or Rollins for roster spot

MESA, Ariz. -- Aaron Hill didn't play in the final Cactus League game, but he didn't need to. By simply being on the flight to San Francisco on Tuesday, Hill got good news. 

The veteran infielder was due a $100,000 bonus on Tuesday, and while the Giants haven't formally announced their roster, you don't pay a man that much money to come play three exhibition games against the A's. Hill appears to have made this club as a second backup infielder, along with Conor Gillaspie. Another veteran, Jimmy Rollins, got the news that the Giants are headed in a different direction. 

Team officials spoke with Rollins this week about their future plans. He was not on the travel roster Tuesday and did not attend the game against the Cubs. 

"We're waiting to hear back from him," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He knows the scenario and the situation. We're waiting to hear back."

Rollins, 38, showed the Giants that he can still handle shortstop defensively, and he was a quick learner when he moved to second. But he hit just .119, falling behind Hill, Kelby Tomlinson and others in the mix for bench spots. It would seem unlikely that Rollins would want to get additional at-bats in Triple-A, but that feeling hadn't been fully conveyed to team officials Tuesday. There was a hope that Rollins, an East Bay native, might join the team for the Bay Bridge Series, which finishes Saturday in Oakland. Rollins grew up an A's fan.

Rollins and Hill were part of a crowded infield group at the start of camp. Gordon Beckham also had a retention bonus and he asked to be released when he was told he wouldn't make the opening day roster. David Hernandez, the third player due a bonus, also was released. He promptly signed with the Atlanta Braves.