PHOENIX -- This is like a second spring training for Giantsmanager Bruce Bochy.
Barring an epic collapse, hell have to pare down a 37-manroster to 25 for the postseason.
Much like the spring, there are things in every game thatwill make the coaches perk up and take notice.
Hector Sanchezs two throws to second base was more of aleap off the bench moment. His quick transfer and perfect throw to nab PaulGoldschmidt in the fourth inning Saturday was impressive enough. But then hethrew from his knees, like a young Benito Santiago, to catch pinch runner TylerGraham trying to steal in the ninth inning of a one-run game. It was a hoseblast on a smoldering matchbook as the Giants held on for a 3-2 victory atArizona.
Tyler Grahams name might not mean much to the averagebaseball fan. But hes a former Giants prospect who was on the 40-man rosterearlier this year. He stole 60 bases last season for Triple-A Fresno, whereSanchez was among his teammates.
And Graham got a terrific jump, too.
Its instinctive, Sanchez said. I was just trying to goquick. I do it a lot in the minor leagues. I knew I had to.
Like a third baseman trying to barehand a slow roller,Sanchez knew it was do or die. His only shot was to throw from his knees. He did.
Over at first base, Buster Posey loved it.
Thats about as good as it gets, Posey said. I mean, fromhis knees, with the zip he had on it, it doesnt get better.
Barry Zito, who has been around the block a little longer,called the throw probably the best one Ive ever seen, considering thesituation.
And yes, the coaches saw it, too. As a result, perhapstheyll be more comfortable with the possibility of Sanchez starting behind theplate at times in the postseason, with Posey at first base.
The overall game, receiving, calling the game, throwing -- andhe can swing the bat, too -- all of it makes it a lot easier to rest yourcleanup hitter, Bochy said. Its neat to see his progress, and really, howhes handled himself in his first big league season. Hes got a calmness abouthim that you like. The games on the line and he throws from his knees.
Sergio Romo, the beneficiary of Sanchezs throw in theninth, lowered his ERA to 1.99. Meanwhile, Santiago Casilla was charged with arun to snap an impressive streak of 13 23 scoreless innings. No cause foralarm, though. It was a runner that Romo inherited and allowed to score.
No, Steve Finley didnt hit another triple in theDiamondbacks alumni game. But Reggie Sanders can still hit. He doubled off thewall in dead center field, just below the yellow line. If Brian Sabean werehere to watch it, Sanders might have a locker in the visiting clubhouse tomorrow.
Mike Fetters provided the funniest moment when heintentionally hit Luis Gonzalez with a fluff pitch, then all of his teammatesspilled out of the dugout and high fived him on the mound. A well-choreographedprank.
Giants hitting coach Hensley Bam Bam Meulens was an unexpected participant, too. Heplayed seven games for the Diamondbacks in 1998 -- the last seven games of hisbig league career.
Bam Bam was 1-for-15 in an Arizona uniform. Make it 1-for-16. He fouled off the first two pitches and then sharply hit into a 6-4-3double play.
It's been exactly a month since Melky Cabrera was suspended. The Giants are 19-10 since then.
How, do you suppose? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.