SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It’s a little quieter around the coaches room this spring, with former third base coach Tim Flannery now retired and set for a return to TV (here, with Comcast). Flannery left big shoes to fill, and on the first day of field work, manager Bruce Bochy did his best to make sure Roberto Kelly feels comfortable in the role. Bochy worked with Kelly on some of the finer points of coaching third, and said that will continue all spring. Kelly, formerly the first base coach, will spend much of the next seven weeks standing in the third base box to get used to his baserunners and the different throws to the bag.
“It’s not an easy position,” Bochy said. “We have spring training to let him get the cobwebs out, so to speak.”
The Giants didn’t have to look far to find a new approach when Flannery stepped down last November. Bochy liked that Kelly was already coaching on the bases and that he was a strong runner (235 career stolen bases) during his playing career.
“He kind of understands how we like to do things,” Bochy said. “Plus, on top of that, it allowed me to reward (new first base coach) Billy Hayes, who put in a lot of time. He’s been a baseball lifer.”
Hayes is one of Bochy’s close friends and spent 12 years as the bullpen catcher.
“He’s going to find out that when you go a month or two without squatting, he’s not going to be able to do it anymore,” Bochy joked. “We’re old dogs.”
They better drink plenty of coffee, because we’ve got a long way to go out here. If you're reading this early in the afternoon, I'll be on CSN at 5 and 6 p.m. tonight to talk Bumgarner, Romo, etc. For now, some notes from Scottsdale Stadium...
FAMILY FIRST: Bochy has his son, Brett, back in camp, so it was no surprise that he was fully on board with Chris Lincecum’s increased role in Tim Lincecum’s life. The pitcher said Wednesday that he spent the offseason working with his dad, who created his unique delivery. The Giants coaches aren’t concerned about Tim having too many voices in his ear.
“The most important thing out of this is it’s great to see he and his dad get reunited,” Bochy said. “Sure, there’s a sense of comfort there. If his dad can help out that’s great. We’re all for it. I think Timmy is primed to have a good year.”
FAMILIAR FACE: Bochy is “excited for Barry” Zito, who reported to A’s camp on Thursday. Zito took the 2014 season off but is attempting a comeback.
“This was his plan,” Bochy said. “I give him credit. He stuck to his plan. I look forward to seeing him. He’s one of the best people I ever managed, I mean that.”
STOCK UP: Position players don’t have to report until next week, so the catchers were the only ones to take BP on the field Thursday. Hector Sanchez continued to impress his manager, and he caught a bullpen session for the first time since concussions ended his 2014 season.
“It’s evident he’s worked very, very hard this winter to come in in shape,” Bochy said. “This is something competition (with Andrew Susac) can do. It brings out the best in players.”
QUOTABLE: “I’m always going to play with that chip on my shoulder. Now it’s preparing to help this team win and try to win another world championship, and that’s really what I’m trying to prepare for right now.” — Joe Panik, when asked how this camp differs from past ones.