EXTRAS: Sandoval's weight isn't a hefty issue

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EXTRAS: Sandoval's weight isn't a hefty issue

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Pablo Sandoval arrived in camp with a tighter haircutTuesday. He looked a little trimmer everywhere else, too.He didnt tell anyone what he is registering on the scalethese days, but weight is like age. Its only a number.Yes, the Giants must keep tabs on Sandoval. Yes, he mustcontinue to work out and keep from overindulging. His weight will always be anissue to monitor closely.But its getting overblown.
Even when Sandoval put on at least 10 to 20 pounds lastsummer, it made no noticeable difference in the way he played. He was stilldiving for grounders at third base. His last at-bat had all the energy of hisfirst. He wasnt the same hopelessly out-of-shape player in 2010 who wouldcollapse breathless, hands on knees, after taking a dozen ground balls.Two winters ago, he went through an intensive conditioningprogram for the first time and he didnt just melt off 38 pounds. He also addedmuscle while increasing his flexibility, balance and coordination. He carrieshimself with more confidence because hes a real athlete for the first time.Ive spoken with Ethan Banning, head trainer with TripleThreat Performance, and he told me Sandoval has been even more intensive withhis six-a-week, two-a-day workouts in recent weeks. He did spend a little moretime in Venezuela than he did the previous winter, but hes been able to buildon the foundation that he already created for himself.So after all those hours in the gym, its understandable if Sandoval is starting to get snippyat questions about his weight. By this stage, Id imagine anyone would be.--Ryan Vogelsong was feeling much better and back in campafter his 24-hour flu bug. Hes still expected to miss at least 10 days withhis strained lower back.--Angel Pagan also arrived at his locker today. So did FreddySanchez, who has been doing agility drills, hitting and throwing most of theoffseason here in Scottsdale.Sanchez still hasnt done any throwing besides playingcatch. He hasnt taken infield, other than just picking up ground balls. Hestill hasnt thrown to bases, let alone try to turn the pivot on a double play.Manager Bruce Bochy wasnt sure if that would be in thecards for Sanchez on Friday, when the club has its first full-squad workout. "Itll be pretty close, Bochy said.Expect Sanchez to DH in the first week of spring games, atleast.--Buster Posey returned to full activities and caught BarryZito, then Jeremy Affeldt off a mound. Nothing like a scud-throwing Affeldt togive Posey a good test.Posey and the catchers also practiced swipe tags afterfielding throws hit by fungo-wielding coaches from the outfield. Bochy ledthis portion of the proceedings. As you know, the Giants dont want Posey toblock the plate and theyll make sure those swipe tags become second nature.That doesnt mean they can protect him from all danger.Remember, he wasnt blocking the plate when Scott Cousins plowed into him.--Jeremy Affeldt joined us Monday night on Chronicle Live. Asa thank you, a producer gave him a gift certificate to The House of Prime Rib.Attention, wait staff: Do the Giants a favor and cut hismeat for him, OK?

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.