Bochy plans platoon in left with Nady, Blanco

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Bochy plans platoon in left with Nady, Blanco

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.

Early offense, six strong from Cueto lift Giants past Braves in finale

Early offense, six strong from Cueto lift Giants past Braves in finale

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- The blisters on Johnny Cueto's middle and index fingers that limited his effectiveness in his last few starts haven't yet completely healed.

But the two-time All-Star is learning to pitch with them.

Cueto threw six strong innings and Brandon Crawford drove in three runs as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Atlanta Braves 7-1 on Sunday.

Cueto (5-4) bounced back from his roughest stretch as a Giant. He was 0-3 with a 4.33 ERA in his previous four starts.

"They're not bothering me like they were before," Cueto said through a translator. "I'm just getting used to it but I have to continue pitching until they get better."

The Giants won their third straight home series and posted their 11th victory in 18 games overall.

Crawford's two-run single highlighted a four-run second against R.A. Dickey (3-4) that made it 6-0.

Matt Kemp had three hits for Atlanta. But the Braves couldn't get much going against Cueto, who allowed one run on six hits and a walk. Cueto struck out eight, including five in a row at one point.

"He did what he needed to do to get us out," Kemp said. "We had chances to score runs and we didn't. I think in this series we really didn't do a good score of scoring runs."

Dickey allowed a season-high seven runs (six earned) on six hits and five walks in six innings.

"This can be a challenging place to throw because of the wind because it swirls so much," Dickey said.

Eduardo Nunez and Gorkys Hernandez each had two hits for the Giants. Joe Panik tripled to start the second-inning burst.

Cueto had two productive at-bats, bunting a runner to second in the second inning and driving in a run with a sacrifice fly in the third.

"It's always nice to have a lead and I thought Johnny was the sharpest he'd been this year," Giants catcher Buster Posey said. "Hopefully it's something he can build on. The changeup was working really well and his command of the fastball was really good."

Posey was 0 for 2 with two walks. He hasn't struck out in 55 consecutive plate appearances.

FUN FACTOR:
The Giants scored the game's first run when Nunez came around from third when a knuckleball glanced off catcher Kurt Suzuki glove in the bottom of the first. The play was ruled a passed ball. Asked if he had any empathy for the plight of his counterpart, Posey said "Yes, no question. It's not fun to hit, it doesn't look fun to catch, either."

FANCY FIELDING:
Hernandez made a diving catch in the gap in left-center robbing Emilio Bonifacio of an extra-base hit with one out in the seventh inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Braves: 2B Brandon Phillips left in the fifth for pinch-hitter Jace Peterson. Phillips fouled a ball off his foot in his last at-bat in the third.

Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner will start his throwing program on Friday, manager Bruce Bochy said. Bumgarner will start out playing catch and make five rehab starts. The 2014 World Series MVP suffered a separated left shoulder in a dirt biking accident. "The progress is happening," Bochy said. "I think he sees light at the end of the tunnel." ... Slumping rookie INF Christian Arroyo was out of the lineup on Sunday and his playing status appears uncertain. Arroyo, who turns 22 on Tuesday, is 0 for 19 in his last five games. "I'll talk to him, about what his situation is," Bochy said. "I'm definitely planning on giving him a couple of days" off.

UP NEXT:
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran will make his first career start against the Angels in Anaheim on Monday. He is 3-9 with a 5.63 ERA in 15 career interleague starts.

Giants: LHP Matt Moore will face the Nationals for the second time in his career. He was with Tampa Bay when he gave up two runs in five innings against Washington in 2012.

Giants lineup: Posey catching, Nunez at third base against Braves

Giants lineup: Posey catching, Nunez at third base against Braves

The Giants look to win two straight against the Braves and Bruce Bochy has made a few changes to the lineup Sunday.

Atlanta Braves (21-26)

1. Ender Inciarte (L) CF
2. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
3. Nick Markakis (L) RF
4. Matt Kemp (R) LF
5. Matt Adams (L) 1B
6. Kurt Suzuki (R) C
7. Rio Ruiz (L) 3B
8. Dansby Swanson (R) SS
9. R.A. Dickey (R) P

San Francisco Giants (21-30)

1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Eduardo Nunez (R) 3B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Justin Ruggiano (R) RF
7. Joe Panik (L) 2B
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P