Bochy details plan for Pagan, Cabrera, Schierholtz

February 24, 2012, 8:35 pm
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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy had been staunchly non-committal about how he planned to array his outfielders. But by the end of the team's first full workout, he was eager to pencil it out.

Bochy said Angel Pagan will be his primary leadoff hitter and center fielder, with Melky Cabrera getting everyday time in left field. He prefaced his thoughts on right field by saying he was "staying open minded," but he declared Nate Schierholtz the clear frontrunner.

"Nate is the guy we're looking at to go out and play right field," Bochy said. "I like the progress he made last year. He can do some things and it'll be up to Nate to get it done. I know he's primed and ready for this challenge."

Bochy has tried to get Schierholtz to be more active on the basepaths, but he has been hesitant to take more chances with his speed. With 52 combined steals from Cabrera and Pagan last season, the Giants should have an easier time getting away from an extreme station-to-station lineup.

Bochy said he could ask Cabrera to bat anywhere from first to sixth in the lineup, either as a table setter or a run producer. The 27-year-old is coming off a career season with the Kansas City Royals in which he compiled 200 hits, 100 runs and hit better than .300 from both sides of the plate.

Cabrera was a major disappointment in 2010 with Atlanta; he grounded out against Brian Wilson for the final out when the Giants clinched the NLDS over the Braves. He also had a big double off Wilson earlier in the series.

"He had a rough year, and whether that woke him up or not, he made a change," Bochy said. "I could see it in spring training (last year) with Kansas City. You saw a different guy."

Bochy said Cabrera, a free agent after the season, is "in great shape. He can play anywhere in the outfield. He's flexible in the lineup. That's what we're talking about now. We'll see what makes the most sense for us."

Cabrera will get plenty of time in center field this spring as well, Bochy said. The Giants will need him to back up Pagan at that position, especially if they break with just four full-time outfielders on the roster.

As for the lineup, the Giants could use Cabrera in the No. 3 hole in front of Buster Posey, or possibly put Pablo Sandoval in that slot and move Cabrera down to fifth or sixth.

Cabrera, speaking with the help of interpreter Emmanuel Burriss, said he would be comfortable in any role. Cabrera also lauded those pitchers who shut down the Braves in that low-scoring NLDS.

"This pitching staff is legit," said Cabrera through Burriss, who probably won't be translating at the United Nations anytime soon.