Notes: Lineup shift for day game
Winn moves up to second; Linden gets first start of year
SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds' day off in an afternoon game following a night game was to be expected, but there were a few more noteworthy shuffles in Saturday's lineup. Randy Winn took over the No. 2 spot, giving Omar Vizquel a break, followed by Ryan Klesko batting third. Todd Linden grabbed the No. 7 spot and catcher Eliezer Alfonzo batted eighth."It's no secret that we have some older guys and Boch [manager Bruce Bochy] is going to do a good job of giving guys a day off," Winn said. Winn, who has spent most of his career batting leadoff or second, felt comfortable with his role in Saturday's game. "Boch told me in Spring Training that I'd kind of be a guy who moves around, but I didn't expect it this early," Winn said. Left fielder Linden, however, had a few nerves about his first game in the starting lineup. "I think nervous is a good thing. If you're not nervous, you probably have a problem," Linden said. "I'm a little anxious, nervous, whatever you want to call it." Bochy said after an impressive spring, Linden can expect to see a lot of playing time this season. "He's a guy that's valuable to have because he can play anywhere in the outfield, he does a good job defensively, he runs the bases well and he's a switch-hitter," Bochy said. Linden wasn't worried about the wet weather overcasting his first start. Actually, Linden thought the slippery conditions might give him an advantage. "I'm from Seattle. I've seen a lot worse than this," Linden said. Reliable relievers: Questions surrounding the Giants' bullpen raised concerns in the preseason, but now that the season is under way, Bochy has complete confidence in his relievers. Friday night, Bochy had Armando Benitez at the ready, but he didn't need to go to San Francisco's closer because Jack Taschner finished the job. "This isn't something we're going to be changing day to day. If it doesn't go well, they're going to be back out there," Bochy said. "This is a bullpen with good arms and they're only going to get better." Entering Saturday's game, the Giants' bullpen was 0-1 with one save. Base burglars: It's going to be a close battle of the bags between center fielder Dave Roberts and Vizquel. There is a small competition brewing between the two veteran basestealers. Roberts estimates he will steal between 40 and 50 bases this season, while Vizquel countered with a prediction of 45 stolen bags for the '07 season. "You can't sit back and wait for things to happen. You have to push the envelope and try to make something happen," Vizquel said. Vizquel attempted to push the envelope Friday against the Dodgers, but was denied when he was caught stealing by Russell Martin in the first inning. Vizquel isn't dwelling on it, though. "If I think that I've got a good jump and I can go, then I'm going to go," Vizquel said. "It's going to pay off eventually." Vizquel totaled 24 stolen bases last season while Roberts logged 49 and was caught stealing fewer times. Vizquel, however, holds the upper hand in the bigger picture with 367 stolen bases to his name compared to Roberts' 208 career stolen bags. Aside from clubhouse bragging rights, there is no predetermined prize. The score is 1-1 so far with 157 games to go. Promising position players: Class A left fielder Ben Copeland and shortstop Emmanuel Burriss are making a strong case for a Giants farm system that has been criticized for lack of position players. Burriss, who was a first-round draft pick after pitcher Tim Lincecum last year, went 3-for-4 with a run, RBI, walk and stolen base Friday in the San Jose Giants' 2-0 victory. Copeland, who was the Giants' first pick in the 2005 draft, contributed two RBIs and went 2-for-4 on Friday. On deck: The $126 million man will get his second start against the Dodgers on Sunday. Barry Zito opened against the Padres on Tuesday surrendering four hits and three runs (two earned) over five innings in a 7-0 Giants defeat. Randy Wolf, who logged a 6.00 ERA for the Dodgers in his first start, will pitch opposite Zito.
Becky Regan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.