Editor's note: The above video is from Feb. 23, 2016.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Kelby Tomlinson played outfield for two weeks in instructional league games last fall. When was the last time he regularly roamed the outfield before that?
"Probably middle school," he said, smiling.
Tomlinson is in left field today for a number of different reasons. First and foremost, Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence both came to the park today and reported slight hamstring soreness. Pagan's is in his left hamstring, the same spot of a strain that cost him 11 games earlier this month. Pence is hurting just above the knee on his right leg, and Bochy said he noticed his right fielder hobbling a bit after running down the line in San Diego.
The hope, Bochy said, is that both are in the starting lineup on Sunday night. They are both available to pinch-hit tonight, although to be fair, the Giants said the same of Pagan the first time the hamstring acted up and he never actually came off the bench.
With two important bats out and Trevor Brown scheduled to catch Matt Cain, Bochy made drastic changes. Tomlinson, who is 14 for his last 26, hits third for the first time since his Texas Tech days. Jon Lester has trouble throwing to bases, and while he has allowed just four stolen bases this season, opponents were 44-for-55 off him last season.
"We all know it, sure," Bochy said. "That's our job to have these guys prepared. That's not his strength, throwing over there, but he is quick to home. That's part of (today's lineup). It gives us speed up there, and I wanted a little more protection for Posey, too, so I just switched those two, (Matt) Duffy and Tomlinson."
This is about as transparent as you can get with a lineup, and the Giants aren't exactly hiding the fact that they'll bunt on Lester and force him to make a good throw to first.
"I've watched some film on that and heard about that," Tomlinson said. "We'll see how it plays out in the game. Obviously it factors in, but sometimes the situation is different and you're going to do different things."
Bochy is taking a shot in the dark and hoping it works in a pitching matchup that is lopsided on paper. He didn't tell Tomlinson until this morning that he would be playing left (in part because that's when Pagan and Pence came in), but the middle infielder isn't worried. He said he hasn't done any outfield work this season, but he was out there during BP and looked fine. His arm might actually be the strongest in the outfield at this point.
"I told (Bochy) I'm ready," Tomlinson said. "I figured at some point this year this sort of stuff would come up. It's still baseball, and that's what I've been doing my whole life."