04/01/2013 10:14 PM ET
Giants start season with left-field platoon, for now
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- Explaining how he'll deploy his left fielders, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Monday that he will play switch-hitting Andres Torres against left-handed pitching and left-handed-batting Gregor Blanco against right-handers, at least during the season-opening series against the Dodgers.
This sounded like a platoon. But Bochy said that it isn't.
"Whoever's the hottest with the bat will be out there," Bochy said.
Thus, Torres also will start against Los Angeles left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu on Tuesday, followed by Blanco against right-hander Josh Beckett on Wednesday.
Sandoval feels fine, but Giants will keep tabs
LOS ANGELES -- Pablo Sandoval insisted after Monday's season opener that his troublesome right elbow "isn't bothering me at all," though Giants manager Bruce Bochy said that he will continue to monitor the third baseman's health through the regular season's outset.
Despite being idle for two weeks, Sandoval accounted for half of San Francisco's hit total by going 2-for-4 off Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw in the Giants' 4-0 loss.
Sandoval remained inactive for nearly two weeks (March 16-28) as he tried to recover from nerve irritation in his elbow. But he said that by playing winter ball and representing Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, "I was ready for the season."
But Sandoval made an awkward one-hop throw to first base on Matt Kemp's sixth-inning grounder. And Bochy will not hesitate to rest Sandoval if he thinks the 26-year-old is enduring too much pain.
"This week will probably be a day-to-day type of thing," Bochy said of Sandoval's playing status.
Bochy decided Sunday that Sandoval was fit to occupy his customary No. 3 spot in the batting order after watching the switch-hitter take practice swings in an indoor cage at AT&T Park before the Giants departed for Los Angeles.
Yourkin gets Opening Day nod -- as BP pitcher
LOS ANGELES -- Matt Yourkin has realized his dream of pitching for the Giants, though his wish was granted with a twist.
Needing a left-handed batting-practice pitcher, the Giants filled that vacancy with Yourkin, who spent the last four of his nine professional seasons in their Minor League system. John Yandle, previously the Giants' left-handed BP hurler, is recovering from an arm injury.
"I'm nervous," said the 31-year-old Yourkin, who never pitched in the Majors. "It's my first real Opening Day. I think I'll be OK."
Yourkin, a Napa native who grew up rooting for the Giants, hopes to use this experience to pave the way to a coaching job.
"The opportunity is great for me," he said Monday.
Having compiled a 35-41 record with a 4.54 ERA in 362 career appearances, Yourkin flashed some self-deprecating humor. Observing that he should adjust easily to his new role, he jokingly said, "I got hit around in my career."
• Monday marked the third time that catcher Guillermo Quiroz made an Opening Day roster. He also did so with Seattle in 2006 and Baltimore in 2008. But this experience is different, Quiroz said.
"It's been a long time since I played so much in Spring Training," said Quiroz, who hit .282 (11-for-39) in preseason games.
• At least one non-roster player has made the Giants' Opening Day squad for six consecutive seasons. Quiroz and right-hander Chad Gaudin extended the streak this year. Notable performers on that list include Torres (2009) and infielder Juan Uribe (2009), who contributed to the Giants' World Series-winning effort the following season, first baseman Brandon Belt (2011) and Blanco (2012).
• Told that nobody on a 43-person panel of ESPN experts picked the reigning World Series champion Giants to win even the National League pennant, Bochy deadpanned, "That changes everything."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.