3/31/2014 9:30 P.M. ET
Lincecum on track to make first start
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum said Monday that he's embarking upon his usual between-starts routine in anticipation of pitching Thursday's series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks, as scheduled.
Lincecum emerged relatively unharmed after a line drive hit by Oakland's Daric Barton struck him on the inside of his left knee in the fourth inning of Friday's Bay Bridge Series exhibition game. Lincecum left the game immediately but X-rays showed no fracture.
"It's just a bruise," Lincecum repeated Monday.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy all but declared that Lincecum's the official choice to start Thursday.
"He seems to be doing fine," Bochy said of Lincecum, who rode a stationary bicycle Monday and plans to throw off a bullpen mound and run Tuesday.
Affeldt progressing well, but Scutaro still ailing
PHOENIX -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy issued differing updates Monday on the health status of second baseman Marco Scutaro, who apparently won't resume playing any time soon, and left-hander Jeremy Affeldt, who could.
Scutaro (lower back strain) is "still a ways away," Bochy said. Scutaro appeared in only one exhibition game during Spring Training and plans to remain at the Giants' training complex in Scottsdale, Ariz., to improve his condition.
Affeldt (right knee sprain) could be ready to return as early as April 9, only two days after he's eligible for activation, Bochy said. Affeldt injured himself when his spike caught in the dirt during a March 22 exhibition against the Chicago White Sox.
Bochy not concerned about string of righties in lineup
PHOENIX -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy's Opening Night batting order Monday included three right-handed hitters arranged consecutively, fourth through sixth: Buster Posey, Hunter Pence and Michael Morse.
This created the potential for the opposing Arizona Diamondbacks to attempt to neutralize the Giants with an effective right-handed reliever or two in the later innings. But, as Bochy said, "they're not guys I'm planning on platooning."
Bochy also mentioned that Posey, Pence and Morse have hit almost equally well against right-handers as they have off lefties in their careers. Statistics support this observation.
Posey entered this season with a slash line that's clearly better against left-handers (.343/.405/.600) than right-handers (.294/.366/.441). But Pence's righty-lefty splits are similar (.284/.337/.462 against right-handers, .289/.345/.522 off lefties). The same goes for Morse (.280/.332/.470 off righties, .284/.340/.479 versus left-handers).
Giants loaded up with plenty of Brandons
PHOENIX -- Giants bench coach Ron Wotus will have to be specific when he summons Brandon to enter a game or receive advice.
After all, the club has a trio of Brandons on its Opening Night roster: first baseman Brandon Belt, shortstop Brandon Crawford and utility man Brandon Hicks. Since Belt and Crawford are regulars, all three are unlikely to be out of the game simultaneously. But they'll be on the bench together frequently enough, forcing Wotus to watch what he says.
"I'll probably yell 'Brandon' and have three of them look at me," Wotus said Monday.
Actually, Wotus has figured out how he'll approach this situation.
"I'll probably call Brandon Belt 'Buck,'" Wotus said. "I wasn't a big fan of the 'Baby Giraffe.' Buck's a little more macho. I've been calling him Buck for a couple of years."
Footnote: Buck was Giants legend Willie Mays' nickname during his playing career.
Wotus plans to keep things simple with the other Brandons.
"Crawford is 'Craw' to me," Wotus said. "And I think I'll stick with 'Hicksie' for Brandon Hicks."
According to a Social Security website, Brandon was the nation's 13th most popular male baby name in 1985, the year of Hicks' birth. The name ranked 14th among newborn males in 1987, when Crawford entered this world, and 17th in 1988, when Belt was born.