Programming note: Giants Insider Andrew Baggarly is in Arizona; check back for his coverage throughout spring training and watch SportsNet Central nightly at 6 and 10:30 p.m. for all the day’s MLB news.
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Somebody needs to tell Tim Hudson that he’s already secured a place in the rotation.
He’s swinging the bat this spring like he’s trying to win a job off the bench.
Hudson entered Saturday 3 for 3 at the plate this spring. He had two more hits in an 8-5 victory over the White Sox at Camelback Ranch. And it took a diving catch in right field to prevent a third.
So Hudson is 5 for 6, and a cloud of dust away from a 1.000 batting average.
“They did tell me there’s a batting title for the spring,” a smiling Hudson said. “I’m shooting for that.”
Hudson was far more pleased with what he did on the mound, giving up just a solo homer to Alejandro De Aza in six innings. He allowed seven hits, walked one and struck out two.
“It was definitely a step in the right direction,” said Hudson, who had given up seven runs over his previous two outings. “It was a really good work day. The swings they were taking were swings that I liked. Not a lot of wood on the ball.”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy confirmed that Hudson would remain lined up to open as the No.3 starter, which would put him on a track to start the Giants’ home opener April 8.
And while Bochy certainly hopes Hudson isn’t the Giants’ best threat off the bench four nights out of five, he did say he wouldn’t be afraid to use the 38-year-old right-hander as an occasional pinch hitter.
Hudson did break Frank Thomas’ single-season RBI record at Auburn, after all.
“Oh sure, no question,” Bochy said. “I’m sure that’s going to happen, whether it’s to get a bunt down or a pinch hitting situation.”
Giants notes: Juan Perez hit a three-run home run and is batting .308 this spring as he tries to hold off Tyler Colvin for the No.5 outfield job. Colvin can’t opt out of his minor league contract until March 31, when the Giants open at Arizona. So he’s still got time to show something. So far, though, he’s hitting just .167 while battling a bad back and his swing has been all or nothing. … Infielder Brandon Hicks continued to boost his cause with his third homer of the spring. He’s batting .432, and of his 16 hits, 10 have gone for extra bases. Purely based on merit, it’s an easy call to keep him over Tony Abreu. But there’s always more that goes into these decisions. … Jeremy Affeldt looked very upset to come out of the seventh inning after allowing hits to four of the five batters he faced. “He wanted to stay in there but we still had pitchers who needed to pitch,” Bochy said. … Javier Lopez recorded two outs in the ninth and will appear again Sunday as he goes back-to-back for the first time this spring. … Buster Posey had three more hits and is batting .405 this spring. From the first day of camp, he really has looked focused about locking in his swing as early as possible, given how bad his second-half doldrums were last season. … Not sure why these fields on the west side are bone dry, but they always are. “This is like playing on the L.A. freeway,” Bochy said. … The Giants have five healthy starters, which is more than some of their NL West rivals can say. Arizona’s Patrick Corbin is likely headed for Tommy John surgery and now it’s being reported by the Los Angeles Times that the Padres’ Josh Johnson has a strained flexor muscle in his forearm and will begin the year on the DL. The first goal of the spring is always the same: Survive it intact.