When Nori Aoki was introduced to the media on Jan. 20, he let his batting order preference be known.
"That's all up to the manager, Bruce Bochy," Aoki said through his translator. "Of course, I'd like to hit at the top of the order, but that's his decision."
On Feb. 6, Bochy made it clear that Aoki leading off games is a distinct possibility.
“It’s going to be a fun lineup to noodle,” Bochy said the day before Giants FanFest. "We have a lot of options. I’ve thought a lot about this lineup. It’s going to be a really fun lineup to mix up. It’s a lineup that’s very easy to shake up.”
In 2012, Angel Pagan led off 79 times (he hit 2nd once, 3rd twice, 4th five times, 5th 45 times and 6th 17 times).
Over 2013 and 2014 combined, he started 157 games -- every one of them in the leadoff spot.
In the past, Pagan made no secret about the fact he preferred to lead off. But with Aoki on board, Pagan was singing a different tune last week.
“I’ve hit in every spot in the lineup in my career,” Pagan said. “You don’t change your approach. Right now, we just have to sit down and see how everything plays out. Whatever (Bochy) ends up doing, I’ll respect.”
As Bochy said, he has a lot of options -- something that pleases general manager Brian Sabean.
"I like our depth this year," Sabean told KNBR 680-AM Tuesday morning. "With Aoki now hopefully being our starting left fielder, and perhaps leading off, Blanco is back to what he's used to doing which is the fourth outfielder...
[PAVLOVIC: Aoki deal doesn't bother Blanco]
"Pagan is capable of hitting almost anywhere ... he could end up hitting third. I don't think we'll fool with Panik in the second spot, at least early on. If you look at Aoki's success, it's been at the top of the order -- whether it's been on base or his ability to grind out at-bats ... we now have more versatility..."
Speaking of grinding out at-bats: Aoki led off the Giants' first Cactus League game on Tuesday, and grounded out on the seventh pitch he saw.
Over his three-year MLB career, Aoki has started 336 games in the leadoff position, 28 games in the two-hole, one in the seventh spot, two in the eighth spot, and has batted ninth four times.