Bochy plans platoon in left with Nady, Blanco

Bochy plans platoon in left with Nady, Blanco
September 18, 2012, 1:10 am
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SAN FRANCISCO Until August 15, Bruce Bochy didnt have tospend much time deciding who to play in left field on a game-by-game basis.Melky Cabrera was the Giants everyday left fielder, other than the occasionalday of rest and a brief hamstring issue. But when Major League Baseball handedthe Giants No. 3 hitter a 50-game suspension, it left Bochy with a dailydebate.That debate hasnt gotten any easier in the last month, as both Gregor Blancoand Xavier Nady, two of Bochys most experienced options, have dealt withinjuries. Nady hasnt played since Sept. 5 due to a left hamstring strain, butis back in the starting lineup for Mondays series opener against the ColoradoRockies. With Jhoulys Chacin, a right-hander, on the mound, the left-handed hittingBlanco would normally be in line for a start, but the speedster has his ownshoulder issue to deal with.Bochy said that Blanco will take batting practice and be re-evaluated Tuesday.He added that he feels comfortable using Blanco as a pinch-runner but istargeting Wednesday for a potential return to the starting lineup. In themeantime, hes happy to have Nady back.Hes a guy we brought up that helped us right away, Bochysaid of Nady, who went 4-for-12 with two doubles and three RBIs for the Giantsbefore his hamstring acted up. Now it looks like hes good to go so hell beout in left field with Blanco still feeling the shoulder a little bit. He needsanother day or two. I was close to starting Nady yesterday, but felt like heneeded another day. He ran the bases well, passed all the tests, and checkedall the boxes off, so hes good to go.Nady was in left field along with Justin Christian,Francisco Peguero and Ryan Theriot before Mondays game going through drills.While Bochy has previously mentioned Theriot as an option in left in the past,he made it clear that he wont put the long-time infielder in the outfieldunless hes forced to.He wants to go out there bad, Bochy said of Theriot. Andweve thought about it, but hes probably more of an emergency guy. But hesavailable Ill say that.Theriot, who once jokingly said that he was fine in theoutfield except for on fly balls, updated his comfort level after Mondayspregame practice: I feel good.Theriot will remain in a reserve role, however, as long as Nady stays healthyand Blancos shoulder improves. Bochy said he plans to platoon the twoeventually.Ill use both of them, Bochy said. Gregor gives you a little differentdynamic: speed, defense out there. And I really like the way hes been swingingthe bat. And X, hes more of a power-type bat. So Ill use both of them andwell ham and egg it with those two once they get healthy.Blanco has started 19 of the Giants last 29 games sinceCabreras suspension and has hit .280 over his last seven games. For hiscareer, Blanco hits .260 against right-handers and .227 against southpaws. Nadyhas hit lefties at a .285 clip for his career compared to a .265 averageagainst right-handers. The splits matter to Bochy, but the way he talked aboutNadys veteran presence suggests that the Cal alum might have the upper hand toget more starts during the stretch run.Hes been around; he knows how to play the game, Bochy said of Nady. Hes abig right-handed bat that can help this lineup and he was swinging well beforehe got hurt. And he hasnt missed too much time so I dont think it should takehim long to feel comfortable up there at the plate. When you have a guy thatsplayed in the big leagues as long as he has, thats a good thing down thestretch.Asked by a Rockies reporter why his team has excelled lately,Bochy said the Giants are winning because theyre getting contributions fromevery spot in the lineup.Were not a team that leans on one or two guys, Bochy said.We need everybody to do something to help out and thats whats happened.Bochy made it clear the hes focused on the stretch run andnot what could come after it, however. He wasnt ready to discuss thepossibility of clinching the N.L. West title in front of the home crowd or whata potential playoff rotation would look like.Weve got a lot of baseball left, Bochy said. If that gets done, then thatsOK to talk about it, but until then, as a club, myself, weve got work ahead ofus and thats how we have to look at it.

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