Giants lineups: Belt back in RF, Sanchez hits the road to DH

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Giants lineups: Belt back in RF, Sanchez hits the road to DH

Bruce Bochy has announced both lineups for Saturday's split squad matchups against the Brewers and Angels.

Home split squad lineup vs. Brewers:

Angel Pagan CF
Melky Cabrera LF
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Brett Pill 1B
Brandon Belt RF
Hector Sanchez C
Ryan Theriot 2B
Brandon Crawford SS
Tommy Joseph DH
(Barry Zito SP)

Bochy is clearly keeping his A-squad at home as the 1-2-3 could be what the Giants trot out on Opening Day against the Diamondbacks.

The most interesting aspect of this lineup is Brandon Belt in right field. Belt came into the Giants win over the Reds on Friday as a defensive replacement for Nate Schierholtz in right field and robbed Miguel Rojas of a hit in the 8th inning with a nice catch off his shoetops on a sinking line drive.

Belt has played four innings in right this spring, along with six in left field and 21 at first base.

If Belt is forced to the outfield by either Aubrey Huff, Brett Pill, or even a catching weary Buster Posey, left field would seem to be the easier transition for the slick-fielding first baseman. A right fielder should have the strongest arm on the team, an honor which belongs to Nate Schierholtz. And while it may not be a factor at Scottsdale Stadium, the brick wall at AT&T Park makes it one of the hardest right fields to defend in the big leagues.

Hector Sanchez is back in the lineup to catch Barry Zito after tweaking his hamstring and taking a few days off. Sanchez was batting .444 with a home run and four RBIs before the injury. In his absence, and before Buster Posey was ready to return, top prospect Tommy Joseph saw a little more playing time and took advantage of it, as he is 2-for-6 with two RBIs in limited action heading into Saturday's game as the designated hitter.

Barry Zito takes the mound for his second start of the spring. He debuted on March 6 against the Dodgers and allowed two runs on four hits and a walk in two innings pitched. Despite living in the 81-83 MPH range, Zito threw 28 of 35 pitches for strikes against the Giants' N.L. West rivals.
Road split squad lineup vs. Angels:

Gregor Blanco CF
Emmanuel Burriss 2B
Freddy Sanchez DH
Aubrey Huff 1B
Conor Gillaspie 3B
Eli Whiteside C
Joaquin Arias SS
Tyler Graham RF
Justin Christian LF
(Shane Loux SP)

Bochy put together a less recognizable lineup for the Giants' road game against the Angels.

Gregor Blanco, hitting .429 with four steals this spring, gets an opportunity to state his case for a roster spot as the Giants' fourth outfielder.

Freddy Sanchez will get a second straight game as a designated hitter, with Bochy saying Friday that he may put him at second base for the first time this spring on Monday.

When the Giants' lineup was posted Friday with Aubrey Huff starting in left field, he looked at the print out and said "Am I really in left field? OK." Looks like the veteran will get a break Saturday as he returns to his natural position at first.

Conor Gillaspie, who the Giants drafted with the 37th overall pick in 2008, is only hitting .231 but has made some solid contact in his 13 at-bats. In 19 at-bats with the big-league club last season, Gillaspie hit .250 with a home run.

Dodgers trade top pitching prospect to Rays for 2B Forsythe

Dodgers trade top pitching prospect to Rays for 2B Forsythe

The Dodgers' months-long search for a second baseman is over.

Los Angeles has acquired infielder Logan Forsythe from the Rays, the team announced Monday afternoon.

The Dodgers are sending top pitching prospect Jose De Leon to Tampa Bay.

In 127 games for the Rays in 2016, the 30-year-old Forsythe hit .264/.333/.444 with 24 doubles, 20 home runs and 52 RBI.

Forsythe is set to make $7 million in 2017 and has a team option worth $8.5 million or a $1 million buyout for 2018.

De Leon, 24, made his major league debut for the Dodgers during the 2016 season. In four starts, he posted a 6.35 ERA while striking out 15 batters in 17 innings. In 16 startts for Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2016, De Leon registered a 2.61 ERA and struck out 111 batters in just 86.1 innings.

A native of Puerto Rico, De Leon was recently ranked as the Dodgers' No. 3 prospect Baseball America.

For most of the offseason, the Dodgers had been linked to Twins second baseman Brian Dozier, but the two sides couldn't come together on a deal.

Spring training to be slightly shortened starting in 2018

Spring training to be slightly shortened starting in 2018

NEW YORK -- For everyone who thinks spring training is too long, help is on the way - a little, anyway.

Spring training will be shortened by two days starting in 2018, when new restrictions in Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement take effect on game times for regular-season getaway days.

The voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players will be 43 days before the major league opener instead of 45, according to a copy of the agreement obtained by The Associated Press. For other players, the date will be 38 days ahead instead of 40.

The change was tied to spreading each team's 162 regular-season games over 187 days, up from 183.

Players' association Assistant General Counsel Matt Nussbaum said the union's goal was to create more days off during the season "in a way that doesn't just chew up offseason days."

"We have heard for years and I'm sure we will continue to hear that spring training is too long, that guys are really ready to go well before opening day, but I think what the commissioner's office would tell you is that there are big challenges for the clubs in substantially shortening spring training because they have various commitments to put on a certain number of games," he said Monday.

Late arrival times ahead of regular-season series openers also were addressed.

Starting in 2018, the latest possible start time on getaway days when either team is traveling to a game in another city the next day or a home off day will be calculated by subtracting the time of the flight over 2½ hours from 7 p.m.

There are cutouts for Sunday night games broadcast by ESPN and games after June 1 at Texas' current home ballpark - where the Rangers avoid afternoons for much of the season because of the heat.

Another new rule for 2018 says no game in the original schedule may be set for before 5 p.m. when a team played the previous night in another city starting 7 p.m. or later. There are exceptions involving flights of 90 minutes or less for home openers and holiday weekends. Current cutouts are carried over for up to six exceptions each season at Chicago's Wrigley Field and rescheduled games involving flights of 90 minutes or less.

"We fully recognize that our players play a very demanding schedule, and we're always looking for ways to ease the burden on players while at the same time scheduling games at a convenient time for our fans to watch them," MLB Chief Legal Officer Dan Halem said.

Sunday night games on holiday weekends followed by afternoon games still seem likely to occur.

"We have contracts with various national broadcast partners that limit our ability to schedule day games in certain instances," Halem said.

Nussbaum said if the players had their way, there would be "a flat rule that says all getaway games are day games" but understand why that would cause difficulty for teams.

"There's still going to be some challenges in the schedule," he said, "but we think what we've done with these two prongs is pare back the most egregious of the travel."

As part of the agreement, one game in the major leagues may be scheduled each year on the Thursday after the All-Star Game starting in 2018.