EXTRA BAGGS: Dominguez inspires double-takes

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EXTRA BAGGS: Dominguez inspires double-takes

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Chris Dominguez turns heads wherever hegoes. But not necessarily because people recognize him.

Oh, yeah, I get that a lot, said Dominguez, asked ifanyone ever told him he bears a resemblance to Albert Pujols.

Dominguez has the same goatee and hes a sturdy, 6-foot-4.Even some of his actions at first base are reminiscent of the three-time NLMVP.

But hes balding, Dominguez said with a laugh. Im not.

Pujols owns a couple of Gold Gloves, too. But even he probablywouldnt have made the two plays that Dominguez did on Saturday, both timesranging far into foul ground while making over-the-shoulder catches.

Oh, it was fun. It was great, said Dominguez, a thirdbaseman, who started at first base at the last minute because Aubrey Huffsback stiffened up. I can play a little outfield, too.

BAGGARLY: Huff scratched with back tightness

Dominguez definitely looked unsure of himself earlier in thegame, when he didnt cover the bag on a ground ball to second baseman RyanTheriot. Tim Lincecum sprinted off the mound and was able to receive the throwto record the out.

But Dominguez was beaming after the first catch in foulground.

Hes smiling when he turns around, Lincecum said. Youcant help but smile with him. To be able to share that, its awesome.

Dominguez was smiling after the second catch, too.

I cant believe it happened again, he said. Once isenough.

Dominguez, 25, earned a quick promotion out of Single-A SanJose last season but wasnt able to make the same statement at Double-ARichmond, where he hit .244 with a career low .403 slugging percentage. He andrecent draftee Ricky Oropesa probably have the most raw power in the system,though. Dominguez also has the strongest arm of any infielder in the organization.

If he can cut down his strikeouts, he could be a pretty big power threat off the bench someday soon. Who knows? Maybe the Pujols resemblance would even strike some fear in opposing pitchers.

I just want to learn as much as I can here, and work onbeing more consistent, he said.

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Dominguez was one of three hitters who stood in against RyanVogelsong, who threw live batting practice for the first time this spring.

He wasnt putting it where he wanted, but the stuff wasgood, Dominguez said.

Vogelsong said his strained lower back did not limit himwhile throwing 45 pitches.

At this point as long as I dont feel anything, Im happyabout it, said Vogelsong, who injured himself while doing squats in the firstweek of February. I didnt think about my back at all. It feels normal to me.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Vogelsong had good stuff,but not the greatest command. One more session vs. hitters and then Vogelsongwill be cleared to participate in a Cactus League game.

As Ive mentioned, the Giants could always start Vogelsongon the DL, since they wont need a fifth starter until the ninth game of theseason April 15. I guarantee you that Vogelsong wants no part of that, though.

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Pablo Sandoval took some ugly hacks in his first at-bat, butin the sixth inning, he cranked his second homer of the spring. It was a deepshot down the right field line. Ryan Theriot, who hasnt stood out with the bator the glove thus far, also hit a home run. It was his first of the spring.Angel Pagan went deep for the first time as a Giant, too.

The Giants have hit 21 home runs in 17 games, which leadsall NL clubs.

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Santiago Casillas game-ending strikeout pitch was 96 mph.Hes ready.

Sergio Romo is not, but he insisted that his right elbowjust needed a little break. He didnt expect to be sidelined for more than aday or two.

Weve come to expect a little hiccup from Romo every spring.His devastating slider is a pitch that taks its toll on his elbow. Its thereason his innings are monitored so carefully.

Its also the reason that Casilla or Jeremy Affeldt, notRomo, would be considered the primary closer candidates whenever Brian Wilsonis not available.

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Its going to be touch-and-go around here on Sunday. The rain thatspelted the Bay Area most of the week is tailing down into the desert. Assumingthey play, itll be Madison Bumgarner against the Padres Edinson Volquez atScottsdale.

Giants use big fifth, sixth innings to take down Cubs

Giants use big fifth, sixth innings to take down Cubs

BOX SCORE

At Scottsdale, Arizona, Giants starter Matt Cain gave up two runs — one earned — and three hits over two innings.

New Giants closer Mark Melancon tossed a 1-2-3 third inning in his first outing. Cain threw 40 pitches and Justin Ruggiano had an RBI double in a three-run fifth.

Javier Baez went 2 for 3 with an RBI double.

Giants spring training Day 13: Cain goes two; Melancon has perfect debut

Giants spring training Day 13: Cain goes two; Melancon has perfect debut

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Bruce Bochy planned to give most of his pitchers one-inning stints during the first weekend of spring ball, but Matt Cain stretched it out to 40 pitches on Saturday. 

“I’ve had enough days off the past couple of years,” Cain said, smiling.

In his first start of a crucial spring, Cain threw two innings. He was charged with three hits and two runs, just one of them earned. 

“He’s in a good place right now with his arm strength,” Bochy said. “His delivery is consistent. I’m glad he got a lot of work today, to be honest. It’s something he needs as much as anybody on this staff, is work. He’s going to get it.”

Ty Blach, Cain’s biggest competition for the fifth starter spot, gave up four hits and one earned in his two innings. Neither pitcher was hit particularly hard, and both suffered a bit from iffy defense in the early innings of an 8-6 win over the Cubs. 

The inning separating Cain and Blach was notable for other reasons. Mark Melancon made his Giants debut, getting two groundouts and a fly to right in a quick inning. Melancon received a nice ovation, and he noted the opponent — a Cubs team that helped guarantee the Giants would spend big on a closer — but he didn’t put any added importance on the outing. 

“It doesn’t matter what I do out there right now,” he said. 

Melancon’s new teammates might disagree. Spring or not, the Giants certainly enjoyed watching a closer breeze through his inning. Especially against the Cubs. 

“He’s a pro,” Bochy said. “He’s going to be out there working on stuff, his command and pitches. It was good for Buster (Posey) to catch him. It was a good day for him.”

NOTABLE: On his first swing of the spring, Posey threw his bat up against the visiting dugout. It can only go uphill from there … Bryan Morris had a scoreless debut, striking out one … Josh Osich ran into some trouble in the eighth and gave up a pair of runs, but Bochy appreciated the way he fought his way out of the frame … Former Giants prospect Chris Dominguez started for the Cubs at first base. He had a couple of hits ... If you're headed to Goodyear for tomorrow's game, Joe Panik, Brandon Belt, Conor Gillaspie, Jimmy Rollins, Mac Williamson, Jarrett Parker, Gorkys Hernandez and Trevor Brown will start behind Matt Moore. Also, if you're headed to Goodyear, I'm sorry. 

TRAINER’S ROOM: Eduardo Nuñez is limited to DH duty for now because of a sore throwing shoulder. Nuñez said the tightness popped up after some work in the weight room, but he’s not concerned at all. He said he would have played third base if Saturday’s game was a regular season contest. The Giants expect him in the field sometime next week. 

Nuñez also said it took five weeks after the season ended for his hamstring to get back to 100 percent, so apparently that injury was much worse than it first looked. Nuñez was out on the field before every NLDS game, trying to get clearance to return. He never quite got there. 

Will Smith (elbow) is just a day or two from throwing off flat ground, Bochy said. 

CUETO UPDATE: The Giants had hoped to have Johnny Cueto in camp this weekend, but he remains in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic. Cueto is waiting for a visa for his ill father, Domingo, who will travel to Scottsdale with Johnny. 

LIGHTER SIDE: Brandon Crawford spent a couple of minutes learning some of Jeff Samardzija’s mound moves. The impersonation is pretty solid.