Giants name Cain fifth starter; Marrero makes team with big spring

Giants name Cain fifth starter; Marrero makes team with big spring

SAN FRANCISCO -- Ty Blach made it close, but in the end the Giants stuck with the original plan. 

Matt Cain will start the season as the fifth starter, manager Bruce Bochy said, with Blach filling a swingman role on the pitching staff. Bochy said he liked what he saw from Cain late in the spring, noting that while some of the numbers were ugly, his stuff was fine and he wasn't walking hitters. 

"He's healthy. He threw strikes. He got better as he went," Bochy said. "His secondary pitches came around at the end. He deserves to be our fifth starter right now."

Cain will certainly be on a short leash, with Blach ready and Tyler Beede charging fast. Team officials went into the spring competition hoping Cain could win it, and the need became greater when Will Smith went down to Tommy John. Sources insist the contract did not come into play in the end. The bigger off-field factor was showing respect to the longest-tenured Giant, a player who has taken dozens of pitchers -- including Blach -- under his wing. 

While it wasn't announced, sources told NBC Sports Bay Area that the bench will consist of Nick Hundley, Conor Gillaspie, Aaron Hill, Gorkys Hernandez and Chris Marrero.

Marrero broke through with a huge spring, hitting eight homers and earning a spot as Jarrett Parker's platoon partner. He could start as soon as Tuesday, when the Giants face lefty Pat Corbin at Chase Field. Hernandez will be the primary backup to Denard Span and Hunter Pence. Gillaspie will see plenty of time at third, especially with Eduardo Nuñez set to be the starter at third but also the backup shortstop. Hill can play all four infield spots as well as left field. 

With those five on the team, Kelby Tomlinson was left on the outside looking in. Tomlinson has an option remaining, which hurt his cause. 

Hundley has been locked in as Buster Posey's backup since the moment he signed, setting Trevor Brown and Tim Federowicz as the Triple-A catchers. Federowicz can opt out if he finds a 40-man deal elsewhere. 

"He's had a nice spring," Bochy said. "This is the best group of catchers I've had here. Fed-X just did a terrific job swinging the bat and catching. I wish I had a spot for him, like Brownie, but to have four guys like this ... that's the best catching group I've had."

--- Jimmy Rollins had hoped to win the job that eventually went to Hill. He was told earlier in the week that he would not make the team, and on Friday team officials spoke with Rollins. He was released so he could pursue other opportunities. 

Stephen Vogt's speed vs. Brewers leads Giants to fourth straight win

Stephen Vogt's speed vs. Brewers leads Giants to fourth straight win

SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey first worked together in the minors, and for a decade in the big leagues, more often than not, Posey has been in the squat when Bumgarner digs in and looks in at the plate in the first inning. Posey has caught nearly 80 percent of Bumgarner's big league starts, a number that would be much higher if not for a couple of season-ending injuries.

But when Giants manager Bruce Bochy sat down this week to plan out playing time, he made an interesting decision. With a day game Saturday, Bochy knew Posey, coming off a hamstring injury, would catch just one of the first two against the Brewers. He chose Friday, pairing Posey with Drew Pomeranz. That meant Stephen Vogt caught Bumgarner for a third straight start, and the left-hander didn't mind one bit. 

"That's definitely the fastest and easiest transition I've had with another catcher besides Buster," Bumgarner said. "The first game, it just clicked."

Perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise that the partnership found smooth waters so quickly. Vogt is apparently all about speed these days. 

The 34-year-old catcher had two triples and an infield single Saturday, providing much of the energy in an exciting 8-7 win over the Brewers that was the fourth straight for the Giants. Vogt, popular in every big league stop, has quickly become a favorite of longtime Giants, including Bumgarner. 

"The guy's a ballplayer," Bumgarner said. "He's fun to watch. He gives it all he's got. Everybody really appreciates that. He's a guy that's easy to pull for."

The two triples got most the attention, but Vogt's most impactful sprint may have been the one he made in the bottom of the eighth. With runners on the corners and two outs, Vogt hit a slow roller up the middle and beat Orlando Arcia's throw to first, reaching 27.6 feet per second, his second-fastest sprint of the season. 

"I like to joke that the fastest human being on the planet is a baseball player that smells a hit," Vogt said, smiling. 

All kidding aside, those four and a half seconds told the Giants a lot about their backup catcher. After being in the squat for nearly three hours, Vogt busted it down the line, providing a necessary insurance run. Will Smith would give up a solo shot to Christian Yelich in the ninth but held on when Mike Yastrzemski made a diving catch for the final out. 

"It ended up being a huge run," Bochy said of Vogt's final hit. "In the eighth inning, for a catcher to get down there like that, that's impressive."

Vogt's day was historic in a way. He became the first Giants catcher since Steve Nicosia in 1984 to record two triples in one game and just the third catcher in the last eight years to do it. The Giants had not had a two-triple game from any player in three years. 

Vogt's first triple, just the 10th of his career, came when he lined a 2-0 fastball from former teammate and friend Jimmy Nelson off the fourth archway. The ball would have been a home run in 18 ballparks, but it ricocheted into center field and Vogt cruised into third, his helmet flying off, as Yelich chased it down. With a sprint speed of 26.4 feet per second, Vogt reached third in 12.4 seconds, a tenth of a second faster than the MLB average this season. He would score on Kevin Pillar's single. 

The second triple was a bit more traditional by the ballpark's standards, as Vogt lined a Junior Guerra splitter into Triples Alley and hustled into the bag in 12.14 seconds. Again, he scored on a Pillar single. Afterward, Vogt briefly took on a serious tone when noting that he hopes the ball won't be able to roll that far in the future. Vogt joined the chorus of players who want the bullpens moved off the field and into Triples Alley. He said it's a safety issue, pointing out that Chris Taylor toppled over a mound earlier this homestand. 

"If that's how we have to get that done, let's do it," he said. 

[RELATED: Will Smith focused despite trade rumors]

That's a conversation for the future. In the present, the Giants are just trying to put a positive stretch together. They remain eight games under .500, but this is their best run of the season, and on Sunday they have a chance to sweep a contender. 

"That's a big win," Vogt said. "A big win for us."

Giants vs. Brewers lineups: Mike Yastrzemski starts after first Oracle homer

Giants vs. Brewers lineups: Mike Yastrzemski starts after first Oracle homer

Hit a home run off the bench, get a start the next day. It should be a golden rule in baseball, and Giants manager Bruce Bochy is abiding by it Saturday. 

Mike Yastrzemski hit a two-run pinch-hit homer in the seventh inning of the Giants' 5-3 win over the Brewers on Friday night. The long ball was the rookie's first at Oracle Park

The next day, Bochy is rewarding Yastrzemski with a start in left field. Yastrzemski, 28, is batting .228 with two home runs in 17 games for the Giants this season.

On the hill, the Giants are sending out their ace. Madison Bumgarner is looking for his first win in nearly a month as he faces the Brewers for the first time this season. The left-hander is 3-6 with a 3.83 ERA this season.

[RELATED: Giants closer Smith focused even with trade rumors swirling]

First pitch for Brewers vs. Giants is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. PT with pregame coverage beginning at noon. You can follow all the action on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming online and on the MyTeams app.

Milwaukee Brewers (39-30)
Lorenzo Cain, CF
Christian Yelich, RF
Ryan Braun, LF
Yasmani Grandal, 1B
Mike Moustakas, 3B
Hernan Perez, 2B
Orlando Arcia, SS
Manny Pina, C
Jimmy Nelson, RHP (0-1, 12.00 ERA)

San Francisco Giants(29-38)
Joe Panik, 2B
Mike Yastrzemski, LF
Brandon Belt, 1B
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Stephen Vogt, C
Kevin Pillar, RF
Brandon Crawford, SS
Steven Duggar, CF
Madison Bumgarner, LHP (3-6, 3.83 ERA)