Giants

Belt homers, drives in four to power Giants past Rockies

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Belt homers, drives in four to power Giants past Rockies

BOX SCORE

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- All-Star Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado had two more hits to boost his spring training-best average to .606 in Colorado's 10-4 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Sunday.

Arenado doubled to left on the first pitch from Giants starterClayton Blackburn in the second inning. He also knocked Blackburn's first pitch in the third into left-center for a single.

He is 20 for 33 with a least one hit in all 12 games he's played this spring and has multiple hits in seven straight games.

"I wish it was April," the 24-year-old Arenado said. "I'm good to go."

Charlie Blackmon added a solo homer off Blackburn, who allowed three runs, two earned, and six hits over four innings. Blackburn also doubled in a run.

Brandon Belt went 4 for 4, including a homer off Jason Motte and drove in four runs for the Giants after missing a week with an illness.

"I think he's got his strength back," manager Bruce Bochy said.

Buster Posey added an RBI double for San Francisco.

CUETO'S LONG DAY:
To avoid facing a division opponent, Giants RHP Johnny Cueto pitched in a camp game - for a long time.

The efficient Cueto went six innings against Giants minor leaguers, allowing a run and six hits with four strikeouts. He also picked two runners off the bases while throwing 74 pitches.

It was Cueto's first appearance since he was hit in the forehead by a line drive six days ago. Cueto avoided a concussion.

STARTING TIME:
Giants: Blackburn struck out three and threw 67 pitches. Bochy said he told the 23-year-old he'll be sent to minor league camp.

"He's going to go down and get ready for his season, but he did a lot of good work this spring," Bochy said.

Rockies: LHP Jorge De La Rosa labored through five innings, giving up four runs and eight hits in what he called a "bad game."

"My arm is getting stronger, but today my location wasn't there," De La Rosa said.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Giants: OF Kyle Blanks (Achilles) sat out for a fourth straight day, and was later sent to the minors. ... C Andew Susac (wrist) took batting practice.

Rockies: RHP David Hale (hamstring) is scheduled to throw 30-35 pitches Monday in his first Cactus League appearance. He got five outs in a Thursday "B" game. "I hadn't had anything in my career and the last year it's been three annoying things," Hale said, referring to oblique and groin injuries.

WORRY-FREE CARGO:
When the Rockies traded Troy Tulowitzki last summer amid a poor season, speculation began about the future ofCarlos Gonzalez.

The two-time All-Star is back for his eighth season in Denver. But could a sixth straight losing season lead to his departure, too?

"I don't wake up in the morning worried about what's going to happen to me," said Gonzalez, who went 0 for 3. "I have the opportunity to wear a big league uniform every day. I feel blessed with that.

"I will never complain with any team giving me a chance to play the game that I love. I try to do my best every day and whatever happens in the future, that's not part of my job."

GIANTS MOVES:
The Giants sent six more players to the minors: LHPs Ty Blach, Ricky Romero and Steven Okert; RHP Vin Mazzaro; OF Ryan Lollis and INF Hak-Ju Lee.

UP NEXT:
Giants: RHP Jeff Samardzija starts Monday against Oakland.

Rockies: RHP Chad Bettis starts Monday against Texas.

Report: Tim Lincecum throws 90-93 MPH at showcase

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AP

Report: Tim Lincecum throws 90-93 MPH at showcase

Tim Lincecum was back on a mound Thursday, trying to prove to teams once again that he still has a little bit of magic left in his right arm. 

The former Giants star held a bullpen session for scouts Thursday in Seattle. The event was closed to the media, but Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that between 25 and 30 scouts were in attendance. 

And Lincecum may have some of his velocity back. According to Heyman, Lincecum was sitting between 90 and 93 miles per hour. 

Lincecum last pitched in 2016 with the Angels. In that season, his fastball averaged just 88.4 miles per hour. In nine starts with the Angels, Lincecum was nowhere near what he once was and went 2-6 with a 9.16 ERA. 

The Giants planned to be at Lincecum's showcase, according to Insider Alex Pavlovic. 

Over nine seasons with the Giants, Lincecum posted a 108-83 record and a 3.61 ERA. He won back-to-back National Cy Young awards in 2008 and 2009, was a four-time All-Star and led the league in strikeouts three times. 

Slater fighting for outfield job after Giants' offseason overhaul

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USATSI

Slater fighting for outfield job after Giants' offseason overhaul

SCOTTSDALE — Catchers are usually the only position players to hit on the main field during the first few days of spring training, but Austin Slater snuck into a group Thursday to take a few cuts. With manager Bruce Bochy leaning against the back of the cage, perhaps Slater’s session will serve as a reminder: I’m still here, don’t forget about me.

The 25-year-old broke through last summer before injuries halted his progress. As Slater focused on getting healthy this offseason, Bobby Evans focused on overhauling the outfield. That has left several familiar faces in precarious spots, and Slater finds himself fighting for a fifth outfielder job a year after batting .282 in his first 117 big league at-bats. 

At the same time, he’s trying to balance competition with health. He wants to push for an Opening Day job, but also is very aware that he needs to back it down at times as he recovers from sports hernia surgery.

“You want to prove that you can play here and win a job, but (the staff) stressed health over everything,” he said. “It does no good to push and then start the season on the DL. For me, health is the most important thing. I feel like if I’m healthy I can prove myself. There’s nothing I can prove on the DL.”

Slater originally tore his groin on July 8 and the Giants thought it would prove to be a season-ending injury. He worked his way back ahead of schedule, though, seeing limited action before sports hernia surgery the last week of September. “They went in there and cleaned up the groin,” he said, smiling where others might grimace. The procedure kept Slater from playing in the Dominican Republic as planned, although that might have been a blessing in disguise. 

The Giants were aggressive with their winter ball plans because so many young players got hurt during the season. But Jarrett Parker lasted just 24 hours before being sent home with a health issue. Christian Arroyo’s hand swelled up soon after he arrived, and he headed home. Ryder Jones immediately got food poisoning and lost 12 pounds in just over three weeks before player and team decided a mutual parting would be beneficial. 

Slater stayed home throughout, living in the Bay Area and rehabbing. The Giants told him to focus on his rehab instead of lost at-bats and then come out and try to win a job in Scottsdale. By mid-November, he was hitting again. By Thanksgiving, he was on a regular lifting and running schedule. In late January, he felt like his old self again. 

For the Giants, that means a versatile option in a new-look outfield. Slater had a .290/.343/.430 slash line going before his first injury and he’s working to tap into more power. As Bruce Bochy pointed out Thursday, Slater has a long history of putting up numbers at every level. 

“He really did a nice job of figuring out what it takes to play in the major leagues, and he has a tendency throughout his career to just get better,” Bochy said. “You have to love his right-handed bat. He’s got some pop. I think he can play all three outfield positions, so he’s in the mix.”

The Giants have Andrew McCutchen in right and Hunter Pence in left and Austin Jackson as the third guy, and Bochy’s preference is to have a true center fielder as his fourth outfielder. That leaves Slater fighting for the fifth job, alongside many others. No matter what he did last year or does this spring, Slater has options remaining, and that will come into play. A year after using 13 different players in left field, the staff is intent on having greater depth at the Triple-A level. 

Slater is a Stanford product who spent the offseason surrounded by Giants fans. He knows the math after the offseason moves.

“It doesn’t change anything,” he said. “It just adds some great guys to learn from, and there are still outfield spots to be won, so it’s not discouraging, it’s encouraging. I didn’t expect them to keep an open roster spot for a guy with 120 at-bats. We’re trying to win a championship here.”