Giants platoon in left field seems to be shaping up nicely
Righty Vogelsong dominates in exhibition outing for San Francisco
Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 10:45 p.m.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro makes it look so easy at the plate that you can't blame some of his teammates for trying to duplicate Scutaro's approach. But as outfielder Gregor Blanco learned this spring, Scutaro's swing isn't for everybody.
After working with Scutaro early in camp, Blanco lowered his hands during his swing and tried to use his legs and hips more as he loaded for incoming pitches. The initial result was ugly: Blanco had a .179 average through his first 12 Cactus League games.
"The idea was to try to be more consistent," Blanco said. "But I realized that you can be more consistent by being you. (Scutaro's) approach works for him, but every hitter has his own approach.
San Francisco Giants' Gregor Blanco (7), left, and Andres Torres (56) head to the dugout during spring training at Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Monday, Feb. 18, 2013. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Staff)
I've got mine."
Blanco scrapped the changes and has had better at-bats in recent days, which, to the relief of manager Bruce Bochy, coincided with Andres Torres' return to health. A left field platoon that had been shaky for much of the spring is coming together at the perfect time.
Bochy was concerned about Torres' timing after the veteran missed the early weeks of Cactus League games with a strained oblique, but Torres has looked more comfortable at the plate this week. He had a hard-hit single to right on Wednesday and lined into two outs.
"He's looked good," Bochy said. "It looks like he's seeing the ball and getting good swings. He's hitting the ball hard."
While Torres simply needed to get healthy, Blanco's spring turned around after a pep talk from former Giants outfielder Randy Winn, now an instructor in camp. Winn told Blanco, who had two hits Wednesday, to forget about trying to emulate other players.
"I was trying to do more than I was capable of," Blanco said. "But he told me, 'You're already good.' "
Making his first appearance for the Giants since March 4, Ryan Vogelsong pitched six shutout innings against Milwaukee at Scottsdale Stadium. He gave up three hits, walked one and struck out seven. After a stint with Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, Vogelsong didn't have any trouble adjusting to the laid-back atmosphere of spring baseball.
"I try to treat them all the same, honestly," he said. "I know how important it is to make sure you're ready to go when the bell rings."
Vogelsong threw 82 pitches (60 strikes) and is on track to slot into the No. 5 spot in the rotation when the regular season kicks off on April 1. While representing his country, Vogelsong said he closely watched the results of his rotation mates. He thinks the other four starters are ready, too.
Matt Cain threw five shutout innings in his last start, and Madison Bumgarner followed the next day by allowing one run in five innings. Barry Zito struck out seven on Tuesday night and said he feels he is rounding into form. Only Tim Lincecum has yet to find optimal results, in large part because he missed time with a blister.
"It seems that things are falling into place for all of us," Vogelsong said. "It's better to be that way than fighting the other way."
The Giants and Brewers played to a 0-0 tie. In the other half of a split-squad day, Brandon Crawford had three hits to lead the Giants to a 6-4 win over the San Diego Padres. Infielder Brock Bond was pulled from the game in Peoria because of an abdominal strain.
Left-hander Jose Mijares faced Hector Sanchez and Kensuke Tanaka on Wednesday morning on a back field at Scottsdale Stadium. Mijares is recovering from a left elbow impingement and was facing hitters for the first time since Feb. 27.
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