StewartWhiteside competition will go down to the wire

March 25, 2012, 5:12 pm
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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants won't choose a backup catcher based on who collects the most hits in the Cactus League. Either Chris Stewart or Eli Whiteside will make the club based on their ability to call a game, catch and throw.

But both will get a chance to take their hacks Sunday afternoon against the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch. Stewart is catching Barry Zito and Whiteside is the DH.

One important detail in this competition: Whiteside has a minor league option. Stewart does not.

(A reminder: If Hector Sanchez makes the club, it'd be as a third catcher. Unless Buster Posey looks suddenly compromised late in camp, his backup is expected to be Stewart or Whiteside.)

In other morning news, Nate Schierholtz moves up to the No.2 position in the lineup. I'm guessing that is because manager Bruce Bochy wants to get him as many at-bats as possible. As I wrote a couple days ago, Schierholtz hasn't secured his starting job in right field. Brandon Belt has done much more this spring to warrant an everyday role.

I spoke to Ryan Vogelsong and he said he was allowed to test his back by taking 20 swings off a tee. He said everything felt fine, but he was only concerned about being able to get his bunts down. Vogelsong is a pretty good hitter (and former Kutztown shortstop), as you'll remember. He's due to throw 40 pitches against KC on Monday.

Finally, I asked Matt Cain if he had any update on his contract negotiations.

"Beat it, Baggs," he said, cordially.

The lineup:

CF Gregor Blanco
RF Nate Schierholtz
LF Melky Cabrera
1B Brett Pill
2B Joaquin Arias
SS Brandon Crawford
3B Conor Gillaspie
C Chris Stewart
DH Eli Whiteside
P Barry Zito

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