EXTRAS: Cain mum on contract, Sanchez a confident catcher

692222.jpg

EXTRAS: Cain mum on contract, Sanchez a confident catcher

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Matt Cain allowed two runs on five hitsin 3.2 innings against the Cleveland Indians Wednesday, and most of thequestions he took in the clubhouse were about his outing.One bold reporter, however, asked Cain about ongoingcontract negotiations on a long-term extension.No updates, Cain said. Good try thought. Puntpunt onedown there real quick.Cains next contract remains a mystery, but the big right-hander is stillfocused on the task at hand: working on all his pitches in preparation for theregular season.I started throwing a couple more sliders today but we didnt get too far intothose, Cain said. Were still kind of on fastball command and working on thecurveball and the changeup, but the slider is going to start falling into playmore.RELATED: Posey's first spring hit an oppostie field home run
Giants manager Bruce Bochy liked what he saw from Cain, who struck out four andwalked one, even though he couldnt finish the fourth inning after throwing 71pitches, 48 for strikes.I thought Matt threw the ball well, Bochy said. He got his work in and hejust got to his pitch limit, which is why I went out there and got him. But hehad good stuff and he only gave up that one run. The other run was that wildpitch so I thought he did a real nice job.--The wild pitch Bochy referred to was one thrown by Mitch Lively, who came in tofinish the fourth in place of Cain. Livelys pitch slipped through HectorSanchezs legs, allowing one of Cains baserunners to score.Bochy said after the game that Sanchez normally makes that play and that hesbeen impressed so far this spring with his young catcher.Hes comfortable catching these guys and calling the game, Bochy said. Kidsgot a lot of confidence. He can hit and he can catch and throw. Its just amatter of getting some time up here to where he does feel like he belongs andhe carries himself like that. I thought he did a good job with Matt today.Cain also praised Sanchez after his start, saying that hes made strides sincehis call-up last season.I dont know if he was timid to call certain pitches hereand there but I think now hes got the confidence to take some chances onpitches in or throwing chageups behind in the count, Cain said. I think hesgot that confidence because he relays that confidence from the pitching staff,the way that all the guys arent afraid to throw any pitch really in anycount.Sanchez didnt just call a good game Wednesday, he also went1-for-2 to raise his spring average to .444.With Chris Stewart and Eli Whiteside, his competition forthe backup catcher job, both out of minor league options, Sanchez seems likethe odd man out for a roster spot. But if he keeps hitting, he will make thedecision hard on Bochy and general manager Brian Sabean.

--Another player that looks to cause headaches for Bochy andSabean is Gregor Blanco, who continued his hot spring by going 1-for-3 with awalk and a run scored out of the leadoff spot Wednesday.RELATED: Vogelsong tests back with 45-pitch bullpen session
Blanco is now batting an even .500 in the Cactus League and continues to showcasehis amazing speed.In the first inning, Blanco went from first to third on a ball that never leftthe infield. Bochy took notice.He goes first to third on a dribbler because he has theability to make things happen, Bochy said. He knows how to play the game,too. Hes a smart player.Bochy also praised Sabean for bringing in Blanco as a non-roster invitee.Great signing, he said. Were excited to have him. Hes aguy thats going to go down to the wire, we know, but hes certainly intriguingthe way hes been playing.--Brian Wilson made his second appearance of the spring and worked a perfectfifth inning. Motion feels good, Wilson said. Another pain-freeouting.

After hitting 93-94 MPH in his first outing on Sunday, Wilson hit 95-96 againstthe Indians. Wilson said he isnt even trying to ramp up his velocityjust yet.I think I should stay low 90s as of right now if I can andjust progressively work towards Opening Day to max out then and try and sustainthat for the rest of the season, he said.Bochy said that Wilson was throwing his breaking ball andhis cutter and that hes ready.Wilsons next test will come on March 17, St. Patricks Day.

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 … 

 

Giants appear to have decided between Hill or Rollins for roster spot

Giants appear to have decided between Hill or Rollins for roster spot

MESA, Ariz. -- Aaron Hill didn't play in the final Cactus League game, but he didn't need to. By simply being on the flight to San Francisco on Tuesday, Hill got good news. 

The veteran infielder was due a $100,000 bonus on Tuesday, and while the Giants haven't formally announced their roster, you don't pay a man that much money to come play three exhibition games against the A's. Hill appears to have made this club as a second backup infielder, along with Conor Gillaspie. Another veteran, Jimmy Rollins, got the news that the Giants are headed in a different direction. 

Team officials spoke with Rollins this week about their future plans. He was not on the travel roster Tuesday and did not attend the game against the Cubs. 

"We're waiting to hear back from him," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He knows the scenario and the situation. We're waiting to hear back."

Rollins, 38, showed the Giants that he can still handle shortstop defensively, and he was a quick learner when he moved to second. But he hit just .119, falling behind Hill, Kelby Tomlinson and others in the mix for bench spots. It would seem unlikely that Rollins would want to get additional at-bats in Triple-A, but that feeling hadn't been fully conveyed to team officials Tuesday. There was a hope that Rollins, an East Bay native, might join the team for the Bay Bridge Series, which finishes Saturday in Oakland. Rollins grew up an A's fan.

Rollins and Hill were part of a crowded infield group at the start of camp. Gordon Beckham also had a retention bonus and he asked to be released when he was told he wouldn't make the opening day roster. David Hernandez, the third player due a bonus, also was released. He promptly signed with the Atlanta Braves.