Bochy: Posey to play more first base in 2012

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Bochy: Posey to play more first base in 2012

DALLAS-- Giants manager Bruce Bochy spoke with reporters at baseball's WinterMeetings and provided some clarity on how he plans to use Buster Posey in 2012.Posey, working his way back from season-ending leg and ankle injuries sustainedlast May, will play some first base next season to allow him to rest more whilekeeping his bat in the lineup, Bochy said.Busteris our primary catcher, but if this is a way to give him a break occasionallythen it will work out well for him and whoevers playing first.

Posey hit.284 with 4 home runs in 45 games last season after winning the Rookie of theYear in 2010 with a .305 average, 18 home runs and 67 RBIs."Wed like to get himout there as much as we can without wearing him down," Bochy said. "And if putting him atfirst base a few games allows us to play him more, then this is why weredeciding to give him more playing time at first base.More notes from Bochy's media session:- Second baseman Freddy Sanchez threw today for the first time since undergoingshoulder surgery on Aug. 2.- Closer Brian Wilson has been building strength and will start throwing onJan. 1.- Aubrey Huff is aware of the possibility that he will need to play more leftfield next season and has been working out everyday to get back to where he wasbefore his disappointing 2011 season.He knowsthat left field is a place where he could be getting a lot of playing time.This would help our situation, having the flexibility that we could have withBuster going to first, Aubrey playing left, and with Brandon Belt we can mix and match the waywed like to.
- Nate Schierholtz is the front-runner to take the starting right field job."Its his job to lose but hes got to come in and do what he knows what we think hell do and what he believes he can do and thats stay healthy and go out and play well.
- Bochy is comfortable with Brandon Crawford being his everyday shortstop andwould not comment on rumors that the Giants are interested in Japaneseshortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima, who he called a "good player."
Bochy on Crawford:
Were comfortable. I thought Brandon did a nice job there. I really liked the way he carried himself even through some tough games offensively. He didnt let it affect him and hes a very good defender. Thats the plan right now to have him at short.

Bochy on Nakajima:

"Good tools, very good defender, he can handle the bat. His strength is what he can do at shortstop ... hes a guy who can provide some offense too.

- Hector Sanchez, who hit .258 in a brief call-up last season, has impressed Bochy and is a candidate to back up Posey at catcher, though Bochy said he'd like Sanchez to play everyday.

"This kid is really opening up eyes this past year," Bochy said. "Hes made as much improvement for a young player that Ive seen in a long time. His skills behind the plate, handling pitchers, of course the bat. Hes down there having a great year in Venezuela and I think he leads the league in hitting. And hes a young kid. Hes really making a lot of noise. And for a catcher to swing the bat the way he does as a switch hitter, thats a rare commodity. I look forward to his progress and I look forward to seeing him in the spring.

- Brian Sabean said that Pablo Sandoval would be comfortable catching on days Posey isn't behind the plate if needed.

"On the days Buster needs a day off period and wouldn't be a first baseman or catcher, Pablo could catch Zito starts to get more offense in the lineup and he's open to that. Now whether that happens I don't know but it's been discussed."

- The Giants have reached out to Tim Lincecum's camp regarding a new contract but there have been no substantial developments.

Giants spring training Day 39: Nuñez receives pair of cortisone shots

Giants spring training Day 39: Nuñez receives pair of cortisone shots

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford will return to camp Thursday, show off their WBC championship medals, and then head to nearby Salt River Fields to take on the Colorado Rockies. It'll be a few more days, however, before the Giants have their full infield on the field. 

Eduardo Nuñez said he actually got two cortisone shots in his right shoulder, since an MRI this week showed “something” in two separate spots. Nuñez asked for the MRI because, while he was able to play and make strong throws, he felt pain on a daily basis. He might DH this weekend, but it'll be a few more days before he's cleared to begin throwing. 

The Giants are hopeful that the shots calm all this down, and Nuñez anticipated being ready for Opening Day. Still, it certainly sounds like this will be a close call. Conor Gillaspie, who is having a huge spring, could get plenty of early time at third. Manager Bruce Bochy doesn't anticipate Nuñez missing Opening Day.

"He should be ready," Bochy said. 

The Giants need all the good injury news they can get. It is expected that Will Smith will announce Friday that he's having Tommy John surgery. 

ICYMI: From this morning, a feature on George Kontos and his rise over the last few years. 

Also, one of the bench candidates, Gordon Beckham, asked for his release. The Giants will soon have to make decisions on Hill and David Hernandez, who have similar retention bonuses due March 28.

GAME RECAP: The Giants played one of their uglier games of the spring, losing 9-2 to King Felix and the Mariners … Matt Moore lasted just 1 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on four hits, two walks, a balk and a wild pitch. It was the same old thing: Moore just all of a sudden lost his command, and because he got up past the 30-pitch mark in the second inning alone, the Giants cut it off. Moore went down to the bullpen and got up to around 80 pitches. He'll make one more start down here, Tuesday against the Cubs ... Joe Panik had a hard double, one of just four hits for the Giants … Chris Marrero hasn’t played a whole lot of left field this spring, and he didn’t show much to the coaches on a couple of opportunities to throw home. The left field situation remains a mystery. 

POSITION BATTLES: Kelby Tomlinson played six innings of left field in a minor league game, and he had to wait until the sixth to get his first and only fly ball. There seemed to be a lot of interest from decision-makers about how Tomlinson fared, and his action today opens up an intriguing possibility. There’s a roster permutation that has the Giants keeping just one reserve outfielder (Gorkys Hernandez) and three backup infielders: Conor Gillaspie, Aaron Hill and Kelby Tomlinson, with the latter two being options in left field. 

FAMILIAR FACE: Angel Pagan made it through the WBC healthy, and he apparently is drawing interest from the Phillies and Blue Jays. Giants people are confident Pagan will get a big league job somewhere over the coming week. 

Giants reliever Will Smith leaning toward season-ending Tommy John surgery

Giants reliever Will Smith leaning toward season-ending Tommy John surgery

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Left-hander Will Smith, a key piece of a revamped bullpen, is leaning toward having Tommy John surgery, manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday night. 

Bochy said surgery was the recommendation of both doctors who examined Smith's elbow this week. Smith will talk to his agent before coming to a final decision on Friday. The procedure would keep Smith out the entire 2017 season and likely would cause him to miss the start of the 2018 season.

Smith, 27, missed the first month of camp because of pain in his throwing elbow. He returned March 17, but during a March 20 outing he again felt pain and called for a trainer. A second round of diagnostics revealed a strain and a sprain in the elbow. Smith saw team orthopedist Dr. Ken Akizuki in San Francisco and flew to Los Angeles this week to get a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlen-Jobe Clinic. 

"They had the same opinion," Bochy said. "There is a tear there. You can try to rehab it and if that doesn't work you're behind a couple of months ... It's not a definite he's going to have it done, but two doctors are in agreement on what this is."

Smith was expected to serve as the late lefty for the Giants, getting setup work in the seventh and eighth innings. With Smith out, the Giants will lean on young lefties Steven Okert, Josh Osich and Ty Blach. 

"We're going to have to have someone step up and help us in the seventh and eighth," Bochy said. "That was going to be will's role. He's a guy we were leaning on."

Smith was acquired from the Brewers at the deadline last season in exchange for right-hander Phil Bickford (who is currently serving a 50-game suspension) and catcher Andrew Susac (who is currently injured). After a shaky start, he finished the regular season with 18 consecutive scoreless appearances. 

The Giants have for the most part avoided Tommy John for 40-man roster pitchers. Hunter Strickland, Derek Law and Josh Osich have all had it during their time in the organization, along with outfielder Mac Williamson. Prospect Ian Gardeck is currently recovering from Tommy John. The last Giants pitcher who was likely headed for the roster before having Tommy John was left-hander Eric Surkamp. He had surgery in 2012.

The timetable is different for every pitcher, but the general consensus is that the procedure sidelines a pitcher for at least a year, and usually closer to 16 months. Matt Moore, Thursday night’s starter, had Tommy John on April 23, 2014. He did not return to a big league mound until July 2, 2015, and even then, he was under restrictions. 

Smith is under team control for two more seasons after this one.