EXTRAS: Pill gets third chance

February 29, 2012, 1:56 am
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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. The Giants consider Brett Pill a part of themix at first base along with Aubrey Huff and Brandon Belt. But youll findseveral more fielding gloves in Pills locker, and all of them will get a fairamount of use this spring.

Pill took some ground balls at third base during Tuesdaysworkout and also will get tested at second base and left field, Giants managerBruce Bochy said. Its all part of the plan to make Pill as versatile aspossible.

Well move him around, Bochy said. Hes got a window inthe workout where he can take some ground balls.

Pill has appeared at third base in just six career games inthe minor leagues and received six total chances. In his only chance lastseason, at Triple-A Fresno, he made an error.

Pill wasnt a dynamo at second base when he saw time therefor the Grizzlies last season, either. The Giants tried that experiment becausethey wanted to keep Pills bat in the lineup after first baseman Brandon Beltwas optioned to Fresno. But even if Pill was no better than serviceable at secondbase, he made an impression on management by showing no hesitation aboutlearning a new position. He shows up every day ready to punch the clock, with not a peep of a complaint.

If Pill makes the Giants opening-day roster, barring injuries to others, itll be as aright-handed pinch hitter and reserve player. Club officials believe that Pillcould be an asset in a bench role because his right-handed swing is simple andrepeatable. It doesnt rely on any complicated weight shifts or timingmechanisms. So he wouldnt gather rust as easily as someone like Belt, whoneeds to play every day to stay sharp.

Theres one more reason to give Pill some work at thirdbase: The Giants dont have a plethora of backup options to Pablo Sandoval.Bochy mentioned Ryan Theriot as a candidate to get innings there. EmmanuelBurriss is expected to play third base as part of his projected utility role,too.

Here are some other quick updates from Day 10 in Scottsdale:

--Freddy Sanchez (right shoulder surgery) still isntparticipating in workouts with the rest of the team. He was held out Mondaybecause his back flared up, Bochy said. Sanchez was improved enough to taketwo dozen ground balls and play catch Tuesday. But theres still no timetable for Sanchezto begin making throws to bases or participate fully in workouts; the best-casescenario calls for him to appear as a designated hitter after the first week ofexhibition games.

--Ryan Vogelsong (lower back strain) played catch for thesecond consecutive day and continues to make progress, Bochy said. He wasexcited to get his spikes on, the manager said. The hope is that Vogelsong canbegin throwing off a mound in another week. Although Vogelsong appears to bemoving past his back injury, any further setbacks would endanger his ability toopen the season as the No.4 starter.

--Matt Cain has a nice, fat welt just below his left kneefrom where Hector Sanchezs line drive pelted him on Sunday. But he took histurn throwing live batting practice on Tuesday with no issues, Bochy said.Jeremy Affeldt also threw to hitters, and managed not to tickle anyones ribcage this time.

--Prospect Heath Hembree throws hard and doesnt always knowwhere its going. "Now they know how Robb Nen used to throw, yelled outspecial assistant Shawon Dunston.

--Great observation by beat colleague Alex Pavlovic of BayArea News Group: At 22 years old, Madison Bumgarner is the youngest pitcher onthe roster. Not only that, he still ranks as the youngest pitcher in camp.Amazing.

--Buster Posey's last big league at-bat was so long ago, it came against a guy who no longer exists. Posey hit a single in the ninth inning May 25 against Florida Marlins closer Leo Nunez. The world found out in September that Nunez's real name is Juan Carlos Oviedo and he's had a few more slices of birthday cake than he was letting on. Impressively, the good folks at baseball-reference.com already updated all the box scores, replacing references to Nunez with Oviedo. Names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent, I suppose.

--It wouldnt be spring training in Scottsdale withoutWillie Mays and Mike Murphy sitting at the same circular clubhouse table,shooting the breeze. Its always neat to see a new crop of rookies stare in aweas they walk past with their equipment bags.

Most are too shy to say anything. Not top center fieldprospect Gary Brown, though.

Hi Willie, how are ya? said Brown, as he rushed through the clubhouse.

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