SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Michael Morse provided the highlight of the first day of BP when he skied a homer off the upper portion of the light tower in left field. There aren’t many players in Giants camp who can hit a ball that high, and one of them wasn’t on the main field Friday.
The Giants held Hunter Pence back from batting practice because of soreness in his right intercostal area. Pence had to pull back late in his offseason program after feeling something during a workout.
“He did all baseball activities except hitting (on the field),” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’re controlling his workload right now, is the best way to put it. He’s real close. He just didn’t hit today.”
Bochy said there’s not much concern about the ailment, and Pence has said — both at FanFest and this week — that he’s fine. The Giants are being rightfully cautious with a player who has played just 158 games the past two seasons.
Pence did take part in the fielding portion of the day, and his group might have given an early clue as far as left field goes. The outfielders were split into groups of three, and Pence shagged fly balls with Denard Span and Jarrett Parker. As of today, that’s probably your opening day outfield. But Mac Williamson has six weeks to change it up.
“It’s time for them to get that opportunity,” Bochy said of Parker and Williamson. “We’ll throw them out there as much as we can this spring.”
DID THAT MEAN SOMETHING? This is a new portion of the daily recap, and you could have thrown the Parker thing in here. Clearly it’s no accident that he’s the first one up with Pence and Span. By the same token, I’ll note that Morse spent his day at first base, not with the outfielders. Reporters talk to Bochy and Bobby Evans multiple times a day during spring training, but often times the action on the field tells the whole story. Morse will need to show he’s viable in left field to make the team, but the Giants haven’t said exactly how much they plan to play him out there.
PROSPECT WATCH: There was a lot of talk about third base today after the Giants signed Aaron Hill to a minor league deal. Look, the reality here is that Conor Gillaspie is a clear frontrunner for that spot behind Eduardo Nuñez, as he should be, but Hill, Jimmy Rollins, Jae-gyun Hwang and others are going to get quite a bit of time this spring and one of them might make the team.
So … where does that leave Christian Arroyo? The organization’s top hitting prospect wasn’t on the main field when a big group took grounders and the logjam will likely cost him at-bats this spring. To me, that’s the biggest problem with carrying so many 30-somethings, and Evans acknowledged that Arroyo will lose spring playing time. But, he said, the Giants don’t necessarily need to see his at-bats.
“We know he can hit at this level,” Evans said.
Arroyo was 10-for-18 last spring and he’s 14-for-26 in two big league camps. He’ll be in camp for most of spring training if not all of it, but if you’re coming down to Scottsdale next month, you might not see a whole lot him during games.
ICYMI: Will link to this one more time … here’s my podcast with Tyler Beede, and here’s the iTunes page for the Giants Insider Podcast. Taped with two more players today, so be on the lookout for the next one.
FAMILIAR FACE: Vince Coleman is now with the Giants as a roving baserunning instructor. You literally couldn’t come up with a better option. Coleman, a two-time All-Stars in the late 80s, stole more than 100 bases in three consecutive seasons.
QUOTABLE: “It’s a power right-handed bat. He’s a solid second baseman. When they moved him to third base I didn’t know how good he would be, but against us he played great defense,” Bochy on Hill, who passed his physical late Thursday and joined camp Friday morning.