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05/08/10 12:21 PM ET

Bochy to dial back Romo's use, role

NEW YORK -- Acknowledging that setup relief has impeded the Giants' progress somewhat, manager Bruce Bochy indicated Saturday that he'll rethink how he'll use some pitchers, particularly Sergio Romo.

Bochy believes that Romo can remain effective as long as he receives proper rest. In retrospect, Bochy remarked that Romo's slider lacked its usual snap Friday, when the right-hander yielded Rod Barajas' game-winning home run.

Therefore, Bochy not only will regulate Romo's rate of appearances but also might not use him as often in the setup role. Bochy added that Saturday would be a day of rest for Romo, who had appeared in three of San Francisco's previous four games.

"He hasn't been consistent. We know it," Bochy said of Romo, who has yielded three homers that either put opponents ahead in the late innings or won the game. "He's certainly going to help us in that [setup] situation. But we may have to back him off a little bit, which we did last year."

Romo's 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA in a team-high 14 appearances. He also has limited opponents to a .212 batting average. Bochy noted that Romo must tap into his ability to spot his fastball and use it more frequently to complement his slider. Significantly, Barajas said that he was looking exclusively for Romo's slider and got one when he homered.

After discussing the issue with pitching coach Dave Righetti and bullpen coach Mark Gardner, Bochy said that right-hander Guillermo Mota and left-hander Dan Runzler might get some setup chances.

Said Bochy of the setup situation overall, "There's no getting around it. It's hurt us here lately and this year so far, some of the mistakes we made."

Molina leaves early with tight hamstring

NEW YORK -- Giants catcher Bengie Molina was removed from Saturday's game after two innings with a tight left hamstring.

Molina singled to deep left field leading off the second inning and may have injured himself at that juncture. He didn't advance from first base as Aubrey Huff flied out, Juan Uribe popped up and Mark DeRosa struck out.

Eli Whiteside replaced Molina, 35, who has started 22 of San Francisco's first 29 games.

Sandoval still slick with glove

NEW YORK -- Pablo Sandoval might be swinging as if he has a hole in his bat, but he hasn't been performing as if he has a hole in his glove.

Despite Sandoval's hitting slump, manager Bruce Bochy has not detected a downturn in the third baseman's defense.

"What's been impressive about this little skid he's had is how well he has played defensively," Bochy said Saturday. "He has not taken it on the field. That's impressive for a young kid."

According to FanGraphs.com, Sandoval, 23, ranks ninth among National League third basemen in Ultimate Zone Rating, which measures a defender's ability to reach batted balls. That places Sandoval squarely in the middle of the pack, yet he ranks ahead of esteemed defensive third basemen such as New York's David Wright, Cincinnati's Scott Rolen and Houston's Pedro Feliz.

Huff becoming a keeper at first base

NEW YORK -- Manager Bruce Bochy has been so pleased with Aubrey Huff's defense that he no longer feels compelled to remove the first baseman in the late innings.

For most of the young season, Travis Ishikawa has replaced Huff to bolster the Giants' defense when they're attempting to close out a victory. Lately, however, such a switch has not been automatic.

"Now it's at the point where I haven't been making any moves over there because of the job he's done defensively," Bochy said Saturday.

Huff's prowess hasn't surprised Bochy, who pointed out that the 10-year veteran's ability to play first base, third base and the outfield during his 10-year career reflects his athleticism.

"He moves around well, he runs the bases well and he has good instincts," said Bochy, adding that he would feel comfortable using Huff at a corner outfield spot if the need arose. First, Huff would need to regain familiarity with that turf. But, Bochy said, "It's just a matter of getting some work over there."

Huff has proven particularly nimble when an infielder throws wide to first base. More often than not, he's able to grab the ball and keep his foot on the bag long enough to record the out.

"It's just natural instinct, I guess. I don't really think about it," Huff said. "It's not rocket science, you know?"

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.