When asked what position he'll play this season, Giants utility man Austin Slater went outside the box. Well, actually, he stayed right in the box.
"Right-handed batter's box," Slater jokingly said Friday to KNBR's Mark Willard.
Slater, 27, fits the bill of what the Giants are looking for right now. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, along with manager Gabe Kapler, have preached positional versatility. And Slater might be San Francisco's very own Swiss Army knife.
Last season alone, Slater played four positions for the Giants -- right field, left field, first base and second base -- and that was over just 68 games. He also played 11 games at third base and three in center field for the Sacramento River Cats in Triple-A.
"I feel good all over the diamond, all over the outfield," Slater said. "Wherever they put me, I'm OK with it."
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Aside from catcher, the only position Slater for sure won't be playing is the same one he actually was drafted at by the Los Angeles Dodgers out of high school. Slater was a star prep shortstop in Florida before missing his senior season due to a freak accident, and went to Stanford originally as a shortstop as well.
He primarily has played the outfield while wearing an infielder's glove recently more often. But Slater still is waiting to play his childhood position in the big leagues.
"I'll jab at Ron Wotus every once in a while and ask him when I'm going to play short," Slater said. "But he'll tell me the same thing every time. 'Get off the drugs, sober up.' But it's fun and I enjoy working at each position."
Slater hit a career-high five homers and nine doubles last season. He also had a .275 batting average off lefties with an .838 OPS. That should help him find playing time in the shortened 60-game season.
More than anything, though, Slater's versatility could be his golden ticket. There will be plenty of competition for the Opening Day roster and beyond, but Slater gives Kapler a lot of options.