03/07/2013 6:25 PM ET
Panik working at second to increase versatility
By Tyler Emerick / MLB.com
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Strictly a shortstop in his first two Minor League seasons, Giants prospect Joe Panik has played in three Spring Training games so far, all at second base.
The move isn't a permanent position switch, though, instead an attempt to make the team's No. 4 prospect according to MLB.com more versatile moving forward with his fledgling professional career.
"I'm still keeping sharp at shortstop, but I'm trying to work a lot more at second," Panik said. "It's a little different but I feel like I'm helping the team out."
Panik said even though he hasn't gotten into a game yet at shortstop, his time during workouts is still being split evenly between the two positions.
"I'm still taking ground balls and working on my footwork at both spots," he said. "I think I'm handling it well. I've definitely learned a lot from watching guys around me and getting a lot of experience that way."
Drafted in the first round out of St. John's in 2011, Panik is in his second big league camp and entering Thursday's game against the Indians had made four plate appearances this spring with a walk to show for it.
"It's always good being up here with the guys. Being my second year, I'm more comfortable, too," he said. "It's really hard to say how much it helps because you hear about things, but when you see it for yourself, it's definitely something entirely different."
Batting .297 in 130 games with Class A Advanced San Jose last season, Panik will again begin his season in the Minors this year, although he isn't sure just yet if he'll get the promotion to Double-A Richmond.
Versatile Gaudin makes statement in start
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Battling with a slew of competitors for an Opening Day bullpen roster spot, Giants non-roster invitee Chad Gaudin tossed three scoreless frames Thursday against the Indians, starting in place of scheduled pitcher Tim Lincecum.
The right-hander gave up just two hits and struck out a pair in his outing. Six of the nine outs he recorded came on ground balls.
"Just trying to keep the ball down," Gaudin said. "That's what I want to do, get quick outs and get the guys back in so they can put some crooked numbers on the board."
In four appearances this spring, Gaudin has allowed two earned runs in 8 1/3 innings. Last season with Miami as a long reliever, the 29-year-old finished with a 4.54 ERA over 69 1 /3 innings of work. He could fill the same role for San Francisco if he makes the club out of camp.
"I think it's very important; it's something that gets overlooked," he said. "And it's not easy to do. It's important for me to go in and save the bullpen, eat those innings up. That's how you win the next two games."
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday if all things considered are even, he'd prefer taking a reliever who could provide the team with multiple innings or a spot start if needed.
"That's what we're all looking at ideally," Bochy said. "We haven't had that before and we've gotten away with it, but that's our preference."
Some of the other pitchers competing for the bullpen spot include Shane Loux, Jean Machi and Dan Otero. Trying to stand out from that crowd, Gaudin appeared to have made a statement in his performance Thursday, impressing Bochy with his outing.
"He looked comfortable out there with the start. He did really well; it was a good effort by him today," the manager said. "He's been there before, though. This isn't the first time for him. He was getting his work today, regardless, so it worked out well and he gave us what we were hoping to see."
Blister forces Giants to scratch Lincecum
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Still suffering from a nagging blister on his right middle finger, Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum was scratched from a scheduled start Thursday for the second time in six days.
Chad Gaudin was set to get the start in Lincecum's place.
Lincecum, who was also supposed to pitch last Saturday, instead threw a bullpen session lasting around 25 pitches at Scottsdale Stadium before his team left for Goodyear to play the Indians.
The injury isn't considered serious, and the 28-year-old could return to game action as soon as Saturday against the Royals.
"I felt good today," Lincecum said about his bullpen session. "We wanted to see how it would hold up, and it held up."
The two-time National League Cy Young Award winner hasn't pitched since Feb. 26, when he made his Spring Training debut against the Dodgers, tossing 1 2/3 innings and allowing three runs on four hits.
Lincecum added that the blister feels much better than before thanks to the treatment he has received over the last few days.
"The blister was so deep, so we've been working to desensitize it and toughen it up," he said. "It doesn't feel like a bee sting anymore, though."
With still more than three weeks until the regular season begins, the club isn't concerned about Lincecum, but he is nonetheless itching to get back in games.
"Today was all good news," he said. "I'm definitely looking forward to getting out on the field again."
• Brett Pill wasn't available to play Thursday because of swelling in his knee. Bochy doesn't think the injury is anything serious and said the 28-year-old likely would return to baseball activities Friday, although he won't be able to play until at least Saturday.
"He doesn't know how he did it but it wasn't in a game," Bochy said. "He just came in and there was some swelling."
• Out since Feb. 26 with an oblique strain, Andres Torres is beginning to swing from the right side and could take batting practice soon. Bochy said the earliest the outfielder could return to game action would be Monday or Tuesday.
• Tony Abreu had a good day Thursday in his recovery from a strained quad, according to Bochy. The manager wouldn't give a target day for Abreu's Spring Training debut, but said the infielder is getting close.
Abreu is expected to compete for a utility job for the Giants.
"It'll be nice to see what he can do. He's got some skills," Bochy said. "He had a setback but we're finally making some progress like we were hoping."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.