Krukow: Morse 'definitely in the argument' to make Giants roster

Krukow: Morse 'definitely in the argument' to make Giants roster

Michael Morse seemed like a long-shot to make the Giants' roster when he was signed to a minor league contract on Christmas Eve, but the 2014 postseason hero is making a strong case to stick around.

The 34-year-old is hitting .304 (7-for-23) with a .364 on-base percentage and a .655 slugging percentage through 11 Cactus League games. He has two home runs, six RBI, five runs, four walks, and five strikeouts. 

The veteran's impact isn't lost on Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow.

"Yeah, it is (getting real)," Krukow said on KNBR Thursday morning. "It absolutely is.

"He knew he had to come in here, he knew he had to perform, and he's doing that."

In his lone season with San Francsico, Morse played 83 games in left field and 42 games at first base. Three years seasons later, Krukow doesn't expect the Giants to throw him out in left field if he makes the team. 

"If they throw him out in the outfield, he's not going to have a lot of whole lot of range. He will basically catch what he gets to," Krukow said. "But I don't think you're gonna see him in that role very often. If it's defensive, it's going to be at first base."

Morse's bat proved big in the Giants' 2014 title run. He hit a pinch-hit, game-tying home run in Game 5 of the NLCS against the Cardinals, setting up Travis Ishikawa's walk-off home run that sent the Giants to the World Series. And he delivered the game-winning RBI in Game 7 of the World Series in Kansas City.

"He represents a guy that can play first base, hit right handed, have some power, come off the bench late, and turn the game around with one swing."

The Giants would have to clear space on the 40-man in order to keep Morse. San Francisco currently has eight infielders on the 40-man (Brandon Belt, Orlando Calixte, Brandon Crawford, Conor Gillaspie, Miguel Gomez, Edurado Nunez, Joe Panik and Kelby Tomlinson) and five outfielders (Gorkys Hernandez, Jarrett Parker, Hunter Pence, Denard Span and Mac Williamson). 

Giants lineup: Nunez scratched, Williamson in left field

Giants lineup: Nunez scratched, Williamson in left field

Bruce Bochy and Joe Maddon issued their lineups for today's series finale in Chicago:

Giants (20-28)
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Justin Ruggiano (R) RF
7. Mac Williamson (R) LF
8. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
9. Jeff Samardzija (R) P (1-5, 4.57 ERA)

Cubs (24-21)
1. Ben Zobrist (S) 2B
2. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Ian Happ (S) CF
6. Jason Heyward (L) RF
7. Miguel Montero (L) C
8. Javier Baez (R) SS
9. Eddie Butler (R) P (1-0, 2.00 ERA)

Giants notes: Growing group of infielders trying to transition to outfield

Giants notes: Growing group of infielders trying to transition to outfield

CHICAGO — It was easy for Giants fans to dream on Wednesday morning when power-hitting prospect Chris Shaw was bumped up to Triple-A. General manager Bobby Evans pumped the brakes a bit in the afternoon. The Giants do not expect Shaw to come up this year, even as a September call-up.

Shaw does, however, join a growing group of infielders trying to transition in Richmond. The closest to the big leagues right now is occasional big leaguer Kelby Tomlinson, who started in center field for the fourth time in five games. Could Tomlinson soon be back as a super-utility player, maybe giving the Giants some coverage in case they part ways with Gorkys Hernandez?

“Not ideally yet,” Evans said. “You’d like for him to get more time out there.”

[PAVLOVIC: Giants promote power-hitting outfield prospect to Triple-A]

Evans said the reports on Tomlinson are that he’s athletic in center and gets good reads. He’s not quite considered a big league option yet, but that’ll be a big part of his future. Tomlinson was joined in the outfield Wednesday by Austin Slater, who will start adding some reps at first with Chris Marrero now in Japan. Slater sounds like he's the next man up at some point. 

Ryder Jones and Jae-Gyun Hwang will also play more first. Jones has played quite a bit of left this season and Evans said the reports on him out there have been good. Hwang will be back in the headlines one way or the other at some point soon. He’s batting .280 with a .298 on-base percentage and three homers, which doesn’t scream promotion. But Hwang does have an opt-out on July 1, so something might have to be done. 

--- Matt Moore gave up two homers to Anthony Rizzo in a 5-4 loss to the Cubs, but this still continued his push in the right direction. In six innings, he gave up four runs, three earned. Not great, but better than it was in April. Moore has three straight quality starts. 

“Earlier in the year there were a couple of gaps in games where I wasn’t competitive,” he said. “I do think the last two or three weeks, I’ve gotten comfortable with the way the ball is coming out.”

--- Eduardo Nuñez extended his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games, but he came up lame on the play. Nuñez felt tightness near his left knee, right at the bottom of his hamstring. He played the rest of the game, but couldn’t go full speed. He’s confident he’ll be fine. 

--- Denard Span’s thumb is apparently 100 percent, or pretty close. He smacked a long homer, his third in his last 10 games. 

--- Conor Gillaspie (back) and Aaron Hill (forearm) will return on the homestand, possibly as soon as Friday against the Braves. Hunter Pence is further away. Bochy said he’ll need a quick rehab assignment, so it’s probably more likely he’s back the next Friday in Philadelphia. 

--- Bochy said Johnny Cueto was checked a couple of days before his Tuesday start and the trainers will do the same thing before his next start. Cueto is dealing with two blisters, but the Giants are not considering shutting him down. 

“He finds a way to get out there and pitch,” Bochy said. “It’s not a case where we’re pushing it. He wants to pitch.”

Under different circumstances, maybe the Giants would shut Cueto down for a couple of weeks to let these blisters pass. But they can’t afford to lose a second ace, and Cueto doesn’t want to miss any time. Bochy said he hasn’t been told this is something that will bother Cueto all year.