Krukow: Morse 'definitely in the argument' to make Giants roster

Krukow: Morse 'definitely in the argument' to make Giants roster

Michael Morse seemed like a long-shot to make the Giants' roster when he was signed to a minor league contract on Christmas Eve, but the 2014 postseason hero is making a strong case to stick around.

The 34-year-old is hitting .304 (7-for-23) with a .364 on-base percentage and a .655 slugging percentage through 11 Cactus League games. He has two home runs, six RBI, five runs, four walks, and five strikeouts. 

The veteran's impact isn't lost on Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow.

"Yeah, it is (getting real)," Krukow said on KNBR Thursday morning. "It absolutely is.

"He knew he had to come in here, he knew he had to perform, and he's doing that."

In his lone season with San Francsico, Morse played 83 games in left field and 42 games at first base. Three years seasons later, Krukow doesn't expect the Giants to throw him out in left field if he makes the team. 

"If they throw him out in the outfield, he's not going to have a lot of whole lot of range. He will basically catch what he gets to," Krukow said. "But I don't think you're gonna see him in that role very often. If it's defensive, it's going to be at first base."

Morse's bat proved big in the Giants' 2014 title run. He hit a pinch-hit, game-tying home run in Game 5 of the NLCS against the Cardinals, setting up Travis Ishikawa's walk-off home run that sent the Giants to the World Series. And he delivered the game-winning RBI in Game 7 of the World Series in Kansas City.

"He represents a guy that can play first base, hit right handed, have some power, come off the bench late, and turn the game around with one swing."

The Giants would have to clear space on the 40-man in order to keep Morse. San Francisco currently has eight infielders on the 40-man (Brandon Belt, Orlando Calixte, Brandon Crawford, Conor Gillaspie, Miguel Gomez, Edurado Nunez, Joe Panik and Kelby Tomlinson) and five outfielders (Gorkys Hernandez, Jarrett Parker, Hunter Pence, Denard Span and Mac Williamson). 

Giants' outfield picture becoming clearer after latest round of roster cuts

Giants' outfield picture becoming clearer after latest round of roster cuts

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants moved closer to setting their opening day roster on Monday when they made a significant round of cuts to their spring training roster. 

A total of 15 players were reassigned or optioned, bringing the total to 31 players remaining in camp. Many of the players cut Monday entered the spring competing for jobs. 

In the outfield, Mac Williamson and Austin Slater were optioned to Triple-A and Chris Shaw was reassigned to minor league camp. Williamson had a huge spring and was the likeliest of the trio to push for an opening day spot, but he'll start his year in the minors. Steven Duggar was not among the cuts, and he remains an option to make the team, with the Giants also looking at Gregor Blanco, Gorkys Hernandez and Jarrett Parker for backup spots. Hernandez and Parker are out of minor league options. 

Tyler Beede was optioned and Andrew Suarez was reassigned to minor league camp, leaving three players vying for the final two rotation spots. Ty Blach and Chris Stratton have been the favorites all along, although both struggled the last time out and Derek Holland has had a strong spring. 

Both backup catchers -- Trevor Brown and Hector Sanchez -- were reassigned, along with Orlando Calixte, who saw time in the big leagues last year. Joan Gregorio, Jose Valdez, Justin O'Conner and Kyle Jensen were also reassigned. Chase d'Arnaud, who appeared to be making a strong push, was on the list, too, leaving Josh Rutledge as the only competition for Kelby Tomlinson for the final infield spot. 

Finally, Derek Law and Roberto Gomez were optioned to Triple-A. Josh Osich remains and appears the frontrunner for a bullpen job. Julian Fernandez, the Rule 5 pick, also remains in camp. 

The Giants break camp on Friday.

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

PEORIA — Jeff Samardzija spent a couple minutes after Thursday’s start talking to reporters about how deep he thinks the Giants lineup can be. It’ll be a hell of a lot deeper if Hunter Pence keeps hitting like this. 

After a slow start to the spring, Pence is charging. He had three hits against the Padres: a triple that bounced off the top of the wall in right-center, a hard single up the middle, and a double to center. The more encouraging plays for the Giants happened in left field. Pence chased down a drive to the line in the third inning, leaving the bases loaded. He opened the fourth by going the other direction and gloving a fly ball to left-center. 

"A good game for Hunter, both ways," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's getting more comfortable out there. You can see it with the jumps he's getting right now. It takes a little while when you change positions, but I think he's going to be fine out there."

The Giants appear set to have Austin Jackson and Pence atop the lineup against left-handed starters, and that duo could see plenty of time early. Seven of the first nine games are against the Dodgers, who have four lefty starters. 

--- Evan Longoria had a double off the right-center wall on Wednesday after missing a week with a sore ankle. He had a single the same way in his second at-bat Thursday. More than the at-bats, Longoria has impressed with his soft hands and steady arm at third. The ankle looks fine, too. 

“My ankle feels pretty good,” Longoria said. “I don’t think it’s going to be an issue going forward.”

--- It’s been a quiet spring for Andrew McCutchen, but we saw the wheels tonight. McCutchen easily stole second after a two-run single in the fifth. When Evan Longoria bounced one to the left side, shortstop Freddy Galvis tried to go to third for the lead out, but McCutchen beat that throw, too. He got up and put his hands on his hips, as if to say, "Why'd you even try that?"

--- Samardzija allowed three homers in a six-batter span in the third. He allowed three homers in an inning in his previous start, too, but he said he’s not concerned. Samardzija deemed it a sequencing issue. He’s working in a new changeup and threw it in situations he normally wouldn’t; Eric Hosmer took advantage of a floating one, crushing it to deep, deep right for the third homer. 

--- With a runner on, Brandon Belt put down a perfect bunt to foil the shift. Belt does that every spring, particularly against NL West teams, but rarely during the regular season. Maybe this will be the year?

Belt later crushed a homer to deep right. That had to feel good for a number of reasons. Belt is fighting a cold and he learned earlier in the day that his college coach, Augie Garrido, had passed away.