03/01/10 7:50 PM ET
Spring bench battles likely to be spirited
Giants put premium on defenders with range, strong arms
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
2010 Spring Training - San Francisco Giants
News & Features
- Giants unveil 37-game Spring Training slate
- Rookies Sanchez, Otero on roster for opener
- Giants close out spring slate with loss to A's
- Stewart dealt to Yanks for Minor League hurler
- Cain sharp in last exhibition start
Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
Huff's reputation as a defensive liability would seem to improve Ishikawa's chances of making the team. But Huff's performance in early workouts has left some coaches willing to consider that he might not be as bad as advertised. Moreover, the Giants cherish flexibility, so they must decide whether they can afford to keep Ishikawa, who plays one position. That's why Bochy mentioned during the Winter Meetings that Ishikawa might be tested in left field.Burriss, last year's Opening Day second baseman whose 2009 season ended prematurely with a broken toe in his left foot, has been practicing primarily at shortstop, while Frandsen has worked out mostly at second base. If either of them were to make the team, he'd be extremely vulnerable to being sent to Triple-A once Sanchez returns, because Juan Uribe would assume the "super-utility" role. "I think it's a good idea for me to work out at shortstop and try to get that back under my belt, because I took a whole year off [from that position], mixed with starting at second and being injured," Burriss said. "Getting back to shortstop in case they need me to work there would be great." Said Frandsen, "The best thing I can do is do is produce with the bat when asked and play solid defense when 'Boch' puts me in there. Last year I think I had only one side of that, and that was the defense." Among the outfielders, Lewis' various skills and his .388 second-half on-base percentage from last season remain tantalizing. The spark Velez temporarily provided last year after his third recall on July 27 helps his candidacy. Bowker has more power than any of the potential reserves, and perhaps anyone on the roster. He provided a reminder of this by yanking a homer to right field in Monday's intrasquad game. Yet Torres could have an edge over all of them, because he's most adept at handling all three outfield positions. Based on the instructions he said he received, the Giants' brain trust might agree. "I feel pretty good on all sides," Torres said. "I've been working every day in left, center and right. They told me I'm going to be everywhere. I've been working hard." Given the situation, that's a good idea.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.