5/28/2014 4:30 P.M. ET
Morse's defensive versatility a boon for Giants
By Ryan Hood and Alex Espinoza / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Michael Morse was signed as a free agent last December with the hope he'd add the power that had been lacking in the Giants' lineup. Thus far, Morse has done that, entering Wednesday hitting .285 and leading the team in homers (10) and RBIs (34). Perhaps surprisingly, he's provided manager Bruce Bochy with valuable flexibility defensively, too.
When first baseman Brandon Belt was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a broken thumb May 10, it appeared Bochy would be limited in his lineup choices for the six to eight weeks Belt was expected to miss.
Morse's steady play in 12 starts at first base has helped alleviate such concerns.
Bochy lauded Morse's errorless performance thus far at first base, which Bochy said is a deceptively difficult position to play.
"It's not that easy," Bochy said. "You're a lot closer to the action, you have a lot more responsibility, you have to know the bunt plays, how far to break on a ball to your right. ... I think he's getting better and I think he's done a good job."
Morse has done a satisfactory job in the outfield, too, which has allowed Bochy to also comfortably play Buster Posey at first with Belt unavailable, sparing the star catcher some wear and tear -- as was the case Wednesday with Posey playing first and Morse getting the day off.
Morse joked he finds himself feeling lonely when he plays the outfield with no one around to talk to, but he's embraced and enjoyed the challenge of not knowing where he'll be playing when he arrives at the park each day.
"Every day is a new day, a different position; it keeps me in the game," Morse said. "I've got to be focused at first base; I've got to know what's going on in the infield. The same time the next day, I've got to know what's going on in the outfield.
"It's fun and I'm glad they think I can do it."
So which does he prefer?
"Shortstop," Morse, who was drafted at that position by the Mariners in 2000, quipped with a smile. "I'll be behind him [Brandon Crawford] whenever he needs a break."
Bochy liking Lincecum-Sanchez pairing
SAN FRANCISCO -- Hector Sanchez was behind the plate to catch Tim Lincecum's sixth straight start Wednesday afternoon as the Giants hosted the Cubs in the series finale.
While Buster Posey was still in the San Francisco lineup, he made the start at first base, his eighth of the year at the position. Lincecum has proven to be a tough pitcher to catch throughout his career with so many balls that often end up in the dirt. Manager Bruce Bochy said keeping Posey fresh has weighed on his decision to keep the Lincecum-Sanchez battery together.
"But now it's getting to a point where [Sanchez] has been catching him a lot and I think you just keep it that way," Bochy said. "It wasn't something planned, but the way it's worked out, they've been together now a few starts. He's going to get some starts, so why not keep him with the same guy?"
Looking at the numbers, it appears Sanchez has a great feel for calling games with Linecum on the mound. Entering play Wednesday, Lincecum had a 3.79 ERA and .268 opponents' batting average in six starts with Sanchez behind the plate, compared to a 5.95 ERA and .337 opponents' batting average in four starts working with Posey.
"You kind of keep him with the same guy so they can develop that rapport," Bochy said. "So you'll probably see Hector back there for the most part. It doesn't mean every time Timmy pitches, Hector will catch, but I'd say for the most part he will."
According to Bochy, Linecum hasn't experessed a preference between Sanchez and Posey.
"It doesn't matter. He's never, ever said anything," Bochy said. "I think he's comfortable with whoever's catching him, Buster and Hector. That's not part of it at all. This is more how it's worked out and more my thinking, 'Let's go ahead and keep the two together.'"
Cain on track after solid bullpen session
SAN FRANCISCO -- Matt Cain threw a bullpen session prior to the Giants' game against the Cubs on Wednesday afternoon. Cain threw roughly 40 pitches, including breaking balls. Cain also threw 120-foot long toss with Madison Bumgarner.
"He's fine, no issues there," manager Bruce Bochy said of his No. 2 starter.
Barring any setbacks in the next two days, Cain will make his scheduled start in St. Louis against the Cardinals' Michael Wacha on Saturday.
Cain exited his May 21 outing against Colorado after three innings with a strained right hamstring.
Reliever Santiago Casilla also threw prior to Wednesday's game. On Tuesday, Bochy praised Casilla's work ethic during his recovery and said Casilla could return sooner (four weeks) rather than later (six weeks) from the strained right hamstring he suffered last week against Colorado. Wednesday, Bochy cautioned against the pitfalls of a rushed return.
"He's starting to feel giddy and you've got to back him off a little bit," Bochy said. "If you [injure] it again, the second time takes longer and is worse, so we have to be careful with him."
Casilla has a 1.37 ERA in 22 appearances this season.
• Giants broadcaster Jon Miller was named a 2014 inductee to the National Radio Hall of Fame on Tuesday night.
Miller has been the play-by-play voice of the Giants since 1997.
Miller was honored on the scoreboard during Tuesday night's game and received a standing ovation from the AT&T Park crowd.
Ryan Hood is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.