EXTRA BAGGS: Hector Sanchez puts out a blaze, etc.


EXTRA BAGGS: Hector Sanchez puts out a blaze, etc.


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.

Vin Scully on Dodgers Opening Day: ‘I’ll probably have things to do’

Vin Scully on Dodgers Opening Day: ‘I’ll probably have things to do’

WASHINGTON -- On Monday, the Dodgers will play their first opening day since 1950 without Vin Scully calling their games. He won't be in the stands. He won't make a point of watching on TV, either.

"It's a day game. I'll probably have things to do," the famed 89-year-old announcer told The Associated Press from his home in Hidden Hills, California. "I might catch a piece of it."

Not that Scully has any regrets since retiring after last season. He says he's grateful for every minute he spent with the Dodgers, the franchise he joined 67 years ago in Brooklyn and followed to Los Angeles eight years later. He feels blessed to have worked as long as he did covering the game he fell in love with as a boy.

But he's learned that after a lifetime in the broadcast booth, watching a game as a fan holds little appeal.

"During the World Series back around '77 or '78, there was a game at Dodger Stadium with the Yankees, and I went to the game as a spectator. Now, I hadn't been as a spectator in a long, long time, and I felt somewhat restless that I wasn't broadcasting," Scully recalled Tuesday.

"I did not have the challenge of trying to describe, accurately and quickly, the way it should be done. I just sat there, and I was not happy, I'll be honest. So I realized that although I love the game, what I loved more was broadcasting it," he said.

Scully spoke to the AP because the Library of Congress has announced it will preserve his call of a 1957 game between the Dodgers and the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds, the final time they played at the hallowed old stadium. Both teams moved to California after that season, opening up the West Coast to Major League Baseball.

Scully's call of Sandy Koufax's 1965 perfect game is more famous. But that game at the Polo Grounds meant more to him personally, because he grew up going to games there, cheering for the Giants and dreaming of watching from the press box.

"It was so meaningful to me. I'm not sure what it really means to baseball fans anymore," Scully said. "The sands of time have washed over the Polo Grounds. But for me, it was one of the more memorable games I was ever involved in."

During that broadcast, Scully implored the players to take their time before there franchises left town: "Let's take it easy, we just want to take one last lingering look at both of you." The Library of Congress called it "a masterful example of the artistry that great sports announcers bring to their work, as well as their empathy for players and fans."

Six decades later, Scully is having an easier time letting go. So no plans to keep track Monday when Los Angeles plays the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium.

"All summer long, I expect to get feelings of nostalgia, wistfulness, whatever the word may be, but no, I am comfortable, I do know in my heart and soul I am where I should be, and that really is all I need," he said.

"Sure, after 67 years, you'll bet I'll miss it," he added. "But heck, I miss the guys I hung out with when I was in school."

Giants spring training Day 44: Marrero caps huge spring with eighth homer

Giants spring training Day 44: Marrero caps huge spring with eighth homer

MESA, Ariz. — The Giants went 0-62 last season when trailing after eight innings. Chris Marrero wasn’t around for any of that, but it’s a stat that could help Marrero as he tries to lock up a bench spot. 

The first baseman/left fielder crushed a three-run shot in the ninth inning Tuesday, wiping out a two-run deficit against the Cubs. Marrero also has two walk-off homers this spring. 

“This kid, you see it when he goes up there. He’s got great focus,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s intensity and determination. From day one, you could see it in his at-bats. Late in the game, he seems very comfortable. He wants to go up there.”

Tuesday’s homer, which shot out to right-center, was the eighth of the spring for Marrero. That ties him with a guy named Bryce Harper for the MLB lead, and the vast majority of Marrero’s bombs were no-doubters. 

“It’s been a great spring for him,” Bochy said. “The last game here, it seems fitting that he would do something like that. He’s already done it a couple of times. This kid has done all he can. I love his swing and the work that he’s put in.”

With Michael Morse down, Marrero is the best remaining option as a power right-handed bat off the bench, a glaring need a year ago. Justin Ruggiano, another one in the mix, followed Marrero’s shot with one of his own. The homer was Ruggiano’s second of the spring. 

Ruggiano is a better fit defensively in the outfield, but Marrero has been solid at first and Bochy said he’s fine with what he’s seen in left field. “He’s still working on it,” Bochy said, noting that Marrero will play left field during the Bay Bridge Series. 

LEADING OFF: Denard Span saw a wild pitch bounce off the bricks behind home plate, and he never slowed down. Span sped around third in the second inning and slid in ahead of the throw. The notable part of the play wasn’t that a quirky bounce allowed Span to take 180 feet on a wild pitch. It was that his legs did. The 33-year-old has been a different guy in his second spring with the Giants. Last year, Span was coming off hip surgery. This spring, his old game has returned.

“I’ve just been able to do the things I’ve always been able to do,” Span said. “I have more control of my body. I’m stronger. I had a full offseason and a full spring training to get my legs up under me. The last couple of weeks, I’ve felt much better and more confident.”

A healthy and spry Span would be a big boost to a lineup that often looked flat in the second half last season Span showed off every aspect of his game Tuesday. He blasted a leadoff homer on Jake Arrieta’s second pitch, and during their second matchup, he put a perfect bunt down the third base line for a single. Span stole second easily before his race home. 

“He’s playing terrific baseball and he’s been a real inspiration, being our leadoff hitter,” Bochy said. “That’s what we needed — energy at the top of the order.”

TRAINER’S ROOM: Eduardo Nuñez (shoulder) is feeling much better, and Bochy said he’ll play third base during the games at AT&T Park before getting four or five innings at shortstop on Saturday. Joe Panik (drilled in the back on Monday) said he’s feeling fine. 

POSITION BATTLES: Here’s the latest on Matt Cain, and here’s an update on Aaron Hill and Jimmy Rollins. 

ICYMI: Big news today from NBC Bay Area. Matt Williams, Javier Lopez and Cody Ross have joined out pre- and post-game shows. You can find stories about those guys on our homepage here. Those shows will also now be an hour long on both ends of the game, adding an extra hour of Giants coverage to your day. Which is good. 

That’s all on the way during the regular season. If you missed any of our spring coverage, you can find a bunch of features here, and podcasts here (spring pods included Mike Morse, Matt Cain, Mac Williamson, Jimmy Rollins and others, with one more coming this week). And in case you’re new to our coverage, the Twitter account is here and the Facebook page is here. Next stop, San Francisco …