6/13/2014 7:48 P.M. ET
Casilla close to returning; Belt progressing
By Ryan Hood / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Santiago Casilla struck out the side in one inning of relief in a rehab appearance Thursday night for Class A Advanced San Jose.
Manager Bruce Bochy said Casilla would run with the rest of the Giants' pitchers on Friday without limitations.
Casilla could be activated without another rehab appearance, but Bochy said Casilla would "more than likely" return to San Jose for one more appearance Saturday. The expectation is that Casilla will be available for the team's series next week against the White Sox.
Casilla owns a 1.37 ERA through 26 1/3 IP. He strained his right hamstring on May 21.
First baseman Brandon Belt once again took ground balls before Friday night's game, and began taking two-handed swings, instead of just the one-handed ones he's taken the last couple days. He continues to progress in his recovery from a broken left thumb.
Belt is hitting .264 with nine home runs and 18 RBIs in 35 games this season.
Sanchez taking extra practice to improve defense
SAN FRANCISCO -- Hector Sanchez took to the field inside AT&T Park early Tuesday, before batting practice, to work on his throws to second from behind the plate.
The success of the throws fluctuated from on the mark to too high and to the right. The pre-everything practice is something the Giants haven't done as much of with Sanchez of late, because of the increased time he's seen behind the plate.
It's an increase in playing time the opposition has taken advantage of -- nine of the last 10 runners to attempt to steal on Sanchez have arrived successfully. On the season, Sanchez has thrown out six of 30 (20 percent) would-be basestealers. Buster Posey, for comparison, has thrown out 10 of 38 (26.3 percent).
Given opponents' recent success when running against Sanchez, the Giants figured it was time to go back to the drawing board.
"He got out of sequence with his throwing," manager Bruce Bochy said. "His feet weren't underneath him so that's what they were working on today."
Sanchez was in the starting lineup behind the plate Friday against Colorado for the first time since the defensive fine-tuning session.
Sanchez didn't want to make excuses for his recent struggles behind the plate, but he acknowledged staving off the rust is difficult, since he plays just enough to rarely do extra catching before batting practice.
"It's not easy, to be honest," Sanchez said, "but I know my job and I have to be ready and I have to keep working because you never know what can happen with Buster or another teammate. So I have to keep working and I have to be ready."
Sanchez is aware of his recent woes, but said catchers -- like pitchers -- must have quick memory loss.
The Rockies entered play Friday tied for thirteenth in the majors with 39 stolen bases. They've been caught stealing 13 times.
• Shortstop Brandon Crawford's absence from Friday night's starting lineup was a bit of a surprise, given that he's on an eight-game hitting streak and provides stellar defene.
But apparently, there's nothing for Giants fans to worry about. Bochy said he told Crawford a couple days ago that he'd be getting the night off on Friday.
"Just getting a day," Bochy said.
• The Giants Community Fund is raffling off the chance to hang out with Pablo Sandoval for a day, with proceeds benefitting the Pablo Sandoval Family Foundation, the Giants Community Fund and Celebrities for Charity Foundation.
Raffle tickets are $2 and the winner will have the opportunity to have lunch with Sandoval, watch Giants batting practice from the edge of the field at AT&T Park, stay for the Giants vs. Dodgers game on July 25 and go home with an autographed bat and ball.
Ryan Hood is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryanhood19. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.