SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — It wasn’t luck that Cole Gillespie had on his side Sunday when he capped off the Giants’ 9-7 win against the Colorado Rockies with a walk-off home run. It was motivation.
With just two weeks of spring training games left, and just a few precious roster spots remaining, the up-and-coming Gillespie made a pretty solid argument for himself in the bottom of the ninth on a home run to center field on a 3-2 pitch on St. Patrick’s Day.
“Every time I get in there, I’m not taking anything for granted,” Gillespie said. “I want to make something happen and hopefully make those coaches think some more.”
Manager Bruce Bochy indeed took notice and acknowledged that the left fielder is in the running.
“He’s got a knack to hit left-handed [pitching], so he’s a good matchup for us there,” said Bochy. “Really a good piece of two-strike hitting. He was going to do all he could to get the run in and he did more than that. He won the game.”
A promising performance: Tim Lincecum, in his second start since missing time for a blister, was fooling Rockies hitters after a rough first inning. Lincecum still struggled with his fastball command, but leaned on his soft stuff to get him out of situations.
Lincecum said he gained a rhythm as the game went on, and retired the final nine batters consecutively in his four-inning appearance.
The right-hander allowed two earned runs, walked three and struck out one.
Panda down: Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval was a late scratch to Sunday’s lineup after feeling discomfort in his elbow and numbness in his fingers. He said he originally felt pain after a throw to second base during Saturday’s split-squad loss to the Cincinnati Reds, but felt fine enough to stay in the game.
The pain worsened on Sunday and after feeling pronounced symptoms during warm-ups, trainer Dave Groeschner recommended to Bochy that he sit.
Sandoval will spend the Giants’ off day today undergoing tests on his throwing elbow and the training staff will map out a plan for him following the diagnosis.
In addition to Joaquin Arias, Wilson Valdez and Kensuke Tanaka could see time at third if Sandoval needs to take extended time off.
On the mend: Giants backup catcher Hector Sanchez is still trying to make progress on his sore shoulder.
Sanchez hasn’t played since Tuesday and while he said he’s feeling better every day, the 23-year-old switch hitter is still experiencing pain when throwing and batting from the left side. The team hasn’t put a timetable on his return yet and they’re monitoring how he feels day to day with ultrasounds and physical therapy.
With Sanchez’s status so murky, it’s possible the team will call on another catcher to back up Buster Posey to start the season. Johnny Monell could be considered the front-runner for the backup gig if Sanchez isn’t available.
Monell is hitting .500 in 18 Cactus League at-bats.