Giants

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.

Familiar faces trying to find success, health with Giants' Triple-A affiliate

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AP

Familiar faces trying to find success, health with Giants' Triple-A affiliate

SACRAMENTO -- A young man named Clayton Blackburn walked into the home clubhouse at Raley Field on Tuesday decked out in Round Rock gear. 

"You're here for my start?" he said, smiling.

Sorry, Clayton, I was on Panda Watch for two days. But it was fun watching Blackburn, DFA’d in a weird move earlier this year, face former teammates. Blackburn hasn't had a great season with Texas, but he is still just 24 and he has gotten into terrific shape. Given what happened during his call-up last year, you should root for him to get a second chance. 

Blackburn gave up three runs over six innings against his former team. The River Cats won on Jarrett Parker’s walk-off homer to dead center with two outs in the ninth. Parker was one of many familiar faces in the lineup Tuesday. Here are some thoughts on guys you know, and guys you will: 

--- Trevor Brown is the backup catcher in Sacramento, which is certainly a fall from his run as Buster Posey's backup. Brown is batting .168 in what has been a very frustrating season for him. The groin injury that slowed him early lingered, he had a concussion, and he hasn't been able to find any BABIP luck. This year seems a lost one for a guy who was a big part of 2016. I’m still intrigued by his versatility.

--- Chris Shaw is the latest podcast guest. You can stream it here. We talked about his power, his move to left, thinking he was a Ray, and more. I didn't see many at-bats, but I saw enough in left field to be confident he'll be fine out there. 

--- Parker started in center field and made a nice running catch at the wall. He wouldn't hold up as a big league center fielder, but perhaps the Giants should throw him out there a few times down the stretch to see if he can be a backup option next season. Parker said he finally found his swing over the past few games. His rehab assignment ends in about a week, and he’s expected back in San Francisco. 

--- Reyes Moronta, who spent a day in the majors in May, was promoted to Triple-A. In his first inning, Drew Stubbs took him deep. I found that quirky. It's been a long season with far too many transactions. 

--- If Steven Duggar would stay healthy, he would probably make it up to SF in September. Unfortunately, his hamstring was tight again this week, keeping him out of San Jose’s lineup for a few days. Speaking of health: Tyler Beede’s groin injury will keep him out longer than just the standard DL time … Melvin Upton Jr. is still in Sacramento rehabbing a shoulder injury, but he’s not throwing yet so it’s hard to picture him making any noise before September call-up time …Christian Arroyo is in Arizona rehabbing from hand surgery. 

--- Derek Law was smiling because Derek Law is always smiling. He has a 4.32 ERA but said he feels much better than those results. “My slider is back,” Law said. He should be, too, when the Giants expand their roster. There are some other interesting relievers in Sacramento. A first baseman told me opposing hitters grumble about facing D.J. Snelten (1.84 ERA) and Tyler Rogers has a 1.94 ERA as a dirt-scraping right-hander. 

--- A teammate predicted Carlos Moncrief would hit .270 in the big leagues if called up, and he ended up getting that call Wednesday morning. Moncrief is a fun clubhouse addition. He gave Sandoval some good-natured heckling for talking to reporters after going 1 for 4. 

--- The Giants have had a lot of veterans visit San Jose this season. They all bought the postgame spread, but word around the block is that Madison Bumgarner provided the best meal. He had steak and lobster delivered to San Jose Muni. 

Eduardo Nunez 'forever grateful' for his time spent with the Giants

Eduardo Nunez 'forever grateful' for his time spent with the Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — Eduardo Nuñez left San Francisco in a strange way. The third baseman was traded in the middle of Tuesday night’s game and mostly said his goodbyes in a stairwell behind the home dugout at AT&T Park. Before joining the Red Sox, Nuñez took to his social media pages to send a message to the Giants and their fans. 

On Twitter, Nuñez thanked the organization for “the great opportunity and experiences learned” and wished the team the best of luck. His Instagram message was a bit longer. 

“I will be forever grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this amazing team,” Nuñez wrote. “I value the experiences learned during my time here and I will miss my teammates, the fans, and the beautiful city of San Francisco very much. Best wishes to the Giants organization during the rest of this season. God Bless.”

Nuñez is expected to join the Red Sox on Friday. Boston’s manager, John Farrell, told reporters that his new infielder will get “a high number of at-bats” despite the presence of top prospect Rafael Devers. 

"This is someone who's swinging the bat very well right now,” Farrell said, according to MassLive.com. "A high energy player that can run the bases well. He’s got really good line drive power so his .300-plus batting average to mix into this lineup is a good addition."