3/12/2014 8:40 P.M. ET
Sanchez delivers defensive gems at first base
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Backup catcher Hector Sanchez demonstrated his dexterity and versatility Wednesday by making three slick plays at first base, a position he has rarely manned.
Sanchez, who recently has taken ground balls at first base during workouts, turned the third inning of the Giants' 4-3 win over the White Sox into his personal showcase. He deftly speared Alejandro De Aza's one-hop smash and perfectly fed right-hander Tim Lincecum, who was covering the bag. Sanchez then recorded the next out by artfully scooping third baseman Pablo Sandoval's throw out of the dirt following Tyler Flowers' grounder.
Replacing Brandon Belt, the ill regular (flu), Sanchez completed his Gold Glove bid by backhanding Conor Gillaspie's sharp one-hopper for the first out in the fifth inning.
"I tell you guys, it's a piece of cake," Sanchez said with mock nonchalance.
Manager Bruce Bochy indicated that Sanchez's appearance at first base wasn't just an experiment, though he has played only one game there professionally since 2009. Sanchez could return there if Bochy needed his switch-hitting skill or if Belt were again unavailable.
"It gives us a nice option, if we want to get him in a game and we want Buster behind the plate," Bochy said of Sanchez. "He's earned another look over there, I'll say that."
Bochy cited Posey, utilityman Joaquin Arias and left fielder Michael Morse as other potential fill-in first basemen. Among this group, Morse has the most extensive experience at first base.
"It would be like riding a bike for him," Bochy said.
Brown, De Paula optioned to Triple-A Fresno
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Center fielder Gary Brown and left-hander Jose De Paula were among the more significant players demoted Wednesday as the Giants trimmed 11 players from their Spring Training roster.
Brown, the club's first-round selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, hit .267 (4-for-15) with two RBIs in 10 Cactus League games. Striving to reaffirm his value within the organization, Brown faces an important season at Triple-A Fresno.
Claimed off waivers from San Diego last November, De Paula impressed the Giants by striking out four batters in four scoreless innings spanning three appearances.
Optioned to Fresno along with Brown and De Paula were third baseman Adam Duvall and left-hander Mike Kickham. Right-handers Kendry Flores and Hunter Strickland were optioned to Class A Advanced San Jose.
San Francisco also reassigned five players to Minor League camp: right-handers Jason Berken, Mitch Lively and Mason Tobin, third baseman Chris Dominguez and catcher Andrew Susac.
After Susac and De Paula report to the Minor League complex on Friday, the Giants will have 44 players in camp.
• Tim Lincecum blanked the White Sox on one hit through four innings in the Giants' 4-3 exhibition victory Wednesday, then was removed with one out in the fifth inning after yielding two runs and three hits. He insisted that he wasn't tired.
"I feel like I could have kept going, but, at the same time, the pitches were starting to elevate," he said.
• First baseman Brandon Belt missed his second game in a row with the flu Wednesday, and probably will rest again on Thursday, Bochy said.
• Center fielder Angel Pagan was in the original lineup against the White Sox but was excused to attend a doctor's appointment.
"We're just getting him checked out about something. Right now, we're going to keep it between us," Bochy said.