Giants

EXTRAS: Pill gets third chance

685602.jpg

EXTRAS: Pill gets third chance

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.

Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster

corey-us.jpg
USATSI

Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster

LOS ANGELES — Shortstop Corey Seager has been left off the Los Angeles Dodgers' roster for the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs.

The Dodgers announced Seager's surprise omission due to a back injury on Saturday, several hours before Game 1 at Dodger Stadium.

Los Angeles also dropped reliever Pedro Baez from its roster. Infielder Charlie Culberson and outfielder Joc Pederson were added.

Chicago made only one change from the last playoff round, adding reliever Hector Rondon and removing reliever Justin Wilson.

Seager complained of back soreness during the Dodgers' NL Division Series clincher in Arizona on Monday, and 2016 NL Rookie of the Year didn't participate in team workouts this week. Still, manager Dave Roberts said Friday that he was very optimistic that Seager would play in the NLCS.

Seager was an All-Star selection this season while batting .295 with 22 homers and 77 RBIs as a key part of the top of the Dodgers' lineup.

Kike Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Culberson all worked out at shortstop Friday for the Dodgers. The versatile Taylor was the Dodgers' center fielder during the NLDS, but he made 96 appearances in the outfield this season and 44 in the infield, including 14 games at shortstop.

Pederson is batting .071 with no homers since July, but the Dodgers could need him in center field if Taylor plays shortstop.

Culberson famously homered to clinch the Dodgers' NL West title in announcer Vin Scully's final home game last season, but the infielder spent most of this season at Triple-A, appearing in only 14 games for the Dodgers.

Rondon was the Cubs' closer in 2014 and 2015, but moved to a setup role last season after Aroldis Chapman's arrival. He appeared in 61 regular-season games this year, going 4-1 with a 4.24 ERA in an up-and-down campaign.

Chicago acquired Wilson in a trade with Detroit on July 31, adding a veteran left-handed reliever who had 13 saves for the Tigers this season. The Southern California native wasn't great in his two months with the Cubs, posting a 5.09 ERA with 19 walks in 23 appearances.

Manager Joe Maddon chose Wilson for the NLDS over Rondon, only to switch it up against the Dodgers.

Bochy, Giants issue statement following manager's heart procedure

bochy-bruce-ecu.jpg
AP

Bochy, Giants issue statement following manager's heart procedure

Bruce Bochy's minor offseason heart procedure went as planned, the team announced Friday afternoon. 

In a message passed along to beat reporters, Bochy said "the procedure went extremely well and I'm feeling better. I'm grateful for the doctors and want to thank everyone who has reached out with well wishes."

Bochy, 62, had an ablation procedure to help him deal with heart issues that have plagued him in recent years. The operation was his second of the year, but it was considered minor enough that it could be pushed back to the end of the season.

Cleveland's Terry Francona had a similar procedure this year and returned to manage, and Bochy has left no doubt about his future. 

“I don’t want anyone to think this has an effect on my work, or ability to work,” Bochy said last week. “This is something that is not uncommon.”