The San Francisco Giants’ core relies on players in their 30s. Spring training games don’t matter to established veterans. Accordingly, Buster Posey and Evan Longoria won’t be playing in the teams’ first games in Arizona this weekend.
Andrew McCutchen, Austin Jackson and Tony Watson may also be held out as Bruce Bochy prepares for the long road ahead by holding out some of the key players he’ll need in the regular season.
The strategy will extend an opportunity for the young players on the roster to make their mark. Ty Blach, who will compete for his spot in the back of the rotation, will start on Friday. (He’ll be followed by Madison Bumgarner, so not all veterans will be exempt from playing this weekend.)
Pablo Sandoval showed Bochy he brought a catcher’s glove to camp and that was all the manager needed to put the former World Series hero behind the plate for select bullpen sessions.
Panda caught 176 games as a minor leaguer and 14 in the pros.
Bochy told reporters that it’s unlikely he’ll see action behind the plate in any games, but that Sandoval will serve as the emergency catcher for the time being.
Filling out the infield
Kelby Tomlinson’s days as the Giants’ super utility could be numbered if a handful of players impress during camp.
He’s competing with Andrew Blanco, Alen Hanson and Chase d’Arnaud for a chance as the backup shortstop. Orlando Calixte, who made brief appearances with the big-league club last season, will also join the fray.