SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – When you’re a non-roster invitee, a clubhouse with plenty of empty lockers is a good thing – just as long as your stuff hasn’t been packed in a duffel bag, too.
Cole Gillespie’s stuff remains on hangers. And he proved adept at hitting a hanger, too.
Gillespie smacked a changeup over the fence in left-center field for a three-run home run, giving the Giants a 9-7 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday at Scottsdale Stadium.
“Good piece of two-strike hitting,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “Cole’s got a knack for hitting left-handers.”
It was a better tonic than green beer. Gillespie, a non-roster invitee who has some major league time with the Arizona Diamondbacks, is trying to win the No.5 outfield job. Barring a trade or other roster move, it’s pretty much a two-man race between Gillespie and Francisco Peguero, who is hitting .395 this spring.
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Bochy said the decision likely wouldn’t be made until the end of camp.
“It’s been a long spring but there are still opportunities to do some stuff,” said Gillespie, who was hitting .265 with three doubles entering the game. “Hopefully I can make these coaches think a little more.”
Gillespie would like nothing better to be on that Dodger Stadium chalk line for the April 1 opener. He said to the best of his recollection, he hadn’t hit a walk-off shot since 2008 at Double-A Huntsville. On July 4, too.
“I guess holidays have been good to me,” he said. “If I get an opportunity April Fool’s Day, I’m doing something right.”
In case you missed the update posted to the earlier news story about Pablo Sandoval, Bochy said the third baseman was scratched with elbow discomfort that first cropped up when he made a throw to second base Saturday night.
Sandoval also has numbness in a couple of fingers.
“He’s had this before and came back fairly quickly,” Bochy said.
Still, Bochy acknowledged it’s a concern – especially since the Giants don’t have much coverage at third base.
Joaquin Arias would be the everyday guy in Sandoval’s absence. Marco Scutaro wouldn’t be asked to move off second base.
“He’s so valuable to this club,” Bochy said of Arias, while also raving about his shortstop play in Satuday’s night split-squad game against the Indians at Goodyear. “He can play anywhere and he’s a good bat in the lineup.”
Bochy said he planned to play Arias at first base in the late innings Sunday, just to spell Brandon Belt, who has been playing a lot. But Sandoval’s injury changed those plans.
Hunter Pence was 3 for 4 with two runs and two RBIs, lifting his spring average to .333. He looked lost three weeks ago. Now he’s having a good at-bat almost every time up. And he looks stronger than ever, too. The ball is making a loud sound off his bat.
“Good to see,” Bochy said. “He is seeing the ball well and getting off good swings.”
Right-handed reliever Yusmeiro Petit was outrighted off the Giants' roster following Sunday's game. He will decide Monday whether to become a free agent or accept an assignment to Triple-A Fresno.
The Giants were nice enough to schedule a Tuesday night game following Monday’s day off, allowing everyone a good, long break -- including the beat reporters. Check back for more news, and a Sandoval update, then.