SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Michael Morse’s spring training charge continued in the bottom of the seventh inning Friday, with a scorched double to the gap that led to the lone Giants run of the night. The coaches have seen enough of Morse this spring to know the bat speed is still there. This game against the Rockies was significant for other reasons.
Morse played left field for the first time this spring, and while it was a mixed bag, he seemed to get a nice endorsement from his manager after the game.
“You look at our history and we’ve put some guys in left field who are maybe not the fastest, like (Pat) Burrell and (Travis) Ishikawa,” Bruce Bochy said. “But if the bat plays, you find a place for them.”
Morse’s bat certainly still looks like it can get the job done. During his first night in the outfield, he made one play that impressed the bench and another that served as a reminder that he has work to do. When Gorkys Hernandez slipped on a fly ball to left-center, Morse made enough ground to pick up his center fielder. But in the seventh, Morse came up short on a Charlie Blackmon flare to left after getting a poor jump.
Morse has played just 35 innings in the outfield since leaving the Giants at the end of the 2014 season. His previous 28 defensive innings this spring came at first base. Asked how the return to the outfield felt, Morse smiled.
“Scary!” he said. “It was fun, though. It was like riding a bike … with two flat tires.”
Bochy said Morse and others may play in minor league games over the next week to get additional fly balls. Earlier Friday, Chris Marrero, Gordon Beckham, Jae-gyun Hwang and Aaron Hill did outfield work with guest instructor Cody Ross. Morse said he would be fine with a trip to the minor league facility.
“I wouldn’t mind doing that,” he said. “As long as it’s during spring training.”
GAME RECAP: Matt Cain gave up three runs in 4 2/3 as the Giants fell 5-1 to the Rockies. Here’s what Cain had to say about his outing and his updated spring numbers.
“It was better today,” Bochy said. “His numbers showed it. He made a couple mistakes there when he was in a positive count, but overall it was a better day. He needs to sharpen things up when he’s ahead in the count.”
BACK IN ACTION: Will Smith (elbow) made his spring debut, allowing two hits in one inning of work. One of the hits was the flare to left that dropped in front of Morse. Smith got a double play to end the inning. He’s a couple of days ahead of the original rehab schedule, and it looks like the Giants will have time to get him up to speed before opening day.
“I thought he threw well,” Bochy said. “He looked fine for the first time out.”
UPSET ALERT: The Giants announced a crowd of 12,184 for a night game in downtown Scottsdale on St. Patrick’s Day, which is the perfect concoction for trouble. The gates opened at 4 p.m. and by 4:02 p.m. authorities had been called to deal with an unruly fan, but ultimately there were only two more incidents the rest of the night. Shocker. An usher noted that spring training has become so expensive that the revelers have been priced out of games like this one.
FAMILIAR FACES: Randy Winn (scouting), Will Clark (coaching), Rich Aurilia (coaching) and Jeremy Affeldt (coaching and pretending he’s not a member of the media) were among the former Giants in camp on Friday afternoon.