Giants making All-Star push for Vogelsong, etc.

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Giants making All-Star push for Vogelsong, etc.

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants are making a push to get right-hander Ryan Vogelsong in the All-Star Game ahead of the official selection show on Sunday.

Catcher Buster Posey leads the voting at his position and indications are that outfielder Melky Cabrera is getting a surge in the balloting to move past Milwaukee's Ryan Braun and into third place among outfielders.

Right-hander Matt Cain, after authoring a perfect game, is considered a lock to make the NL staff for the third time. Cain will be well rested, too, so he is expected to pitch in the game for the first time. (He wasn't able to do so last year because he pitched the Sunday before the game; prior to his other All-Star appearance, he was struck on the arm by a line drive and wasn't able to appear.)

Vogelsong leads a group of worthy candidates that also includes Madison Bumgarner, Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo.

Former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is responsible for picking the remaining pitchers and reserves after the fan balloting picks the starters and player vote is tabulated to determine the first round of subs.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he hasn't been able to reach La Russa, but he got word to major league officials and made his recommendations. While Bochy wouldn't get specific, it's believed he made a special push to get Vogelsong on the team for the second consecutive year.

Vogelsong is putting up even better numbers than a year ago, when Bochy named him to the All-Star squad for the first time. He's 7-3 with a 2.23 ERA and has thrown quality starts in 13 of 14 outings while going at least six innings each time.

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Bochy dropped a hint that he'll keep Hector Sanchez paired with Tim Lincecum when the Giants begin their road trip Tuesday night at Washington DC. The Giants play a rare 11 a.m. game the following day, so Buster Posey wouldn't catch both times.

"The first bus is at 7 a.m.," Bochy said, of the July 4 start time. "And the second bus is at 8 a.m. I've never heard of that before."

Sanchez has caught each of Lincecum's last two starts, with very good results; the right-hander has a streak of 12 consecutive scoreless innings.

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Bochy said he expects Sanchez will play winter ball because he hasn't been playing every day this season.

"That will keep him in the flow of the game," Bochy said.

Sanchez was named rookie of the year in the Venezuelan League last winter.

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Five of Pablo Sandoval's last seven hits have gone for extra-bases, and Bochy acknowledged he's looking at moving the Panda back into the middle of the order.

"We've talked about it," Bochy said. "I'd say it's a strong possibility here real soon."

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.