SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Giants outfielder Gregor Blanco is looking for any way to contribute this season as he transitions from being a starter to becoming a reserve.
With free agent Denard Span taking over in center field, a healthier Angel Pagan moving from center to left and Hunter Pence roaming right, there is no place to start the 32-year-old Blanco, despite the fact that he has started 769 games in his seven-year major-league career.
“You still have to approach it with the same mentality that you would if you were playing,” he said Monday. “I am looking to be there in any way for my teammates, whether it’s pinch-running, defense … it takes 25 guys to win.”
Blanco worked with athletic trainers Monday as he worked his way back to health after being limited by flu-like symptoms.
“He (Blanco) is going to get a lot of playing time this spring, because I won’t be starting the other guys every game,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “They are all going to get a lot of at-bats.”
Bochy said he would “slow-play” many of his veterans during spring training games in order to conserve their energy for the regular season.
Blanco had a couple of concussions last season, but felt better in the offseason and worked on his hitting at his home in Miami. He has a .262 career batting average and a .264 mark in his four seasons with the Giants.
“I started using my back leg more so I can drive the ball a little harder,” he said. “My bat really started to come around.”
Even if he doesn’t get as many swings this season, he said, “You can still be supportive of your teammates and offer them a handshake.”