SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Allow me to introduce a new feature to our Giants spring training coverage. Every day -- from now until the final game here on April 1 -- we’ll run down some of the leftover notes and highlights. Here’s what stood out on Day 1...
CAMP BATTLE: Well, uhhh, we won’t have many of these, period. Manager Bruce Bochy said he prefers going with 12 pitchers, and if all the veterans are healthy, there might just be one bullpen spot available. The starting position players are all settled in, Gregor Blanco is a lock for the bench, and Travis Ishikawa is a good bet for a pinch-hitter role after the Giants gave him $1.1 million in November. Andrew Susac and Hector Sanchez are vying for the backup catcher job, potentially leaving just two bench spots for a group that includes Joaquin Arias, Matt Duffy, Juan Perez and Ehire Adrianza (who is out of options).
STOCK RISING: Joan Gregorio. OK, the 6-foot-7 righty didn’t throw today, but we stick him here simply because he practically had to duck his head as he walked through doorways. Tall … Rising … There’s something there. Gregorio, 23, has never put up big minor league numbers, but the Giants like him enough that they added him to the 40-man roster over the winter.
STOCK FALLING: The “Buster Posey To Third Base” People. In his first spring session with reporters, Bochy was asked if his star catcher could see some time at the hot corner in order to keep his bat in the lineup. “That’s just throwing too much at him,” Bochy said of Posey, after first complimenting Casey McGehee, his current third baseman. So, as expected, February of 2015 will not be the February filled with talk of Posey moving to a less stressful position.
FAMILIAR FACE: Eli Whiteside. The 35-year-old is back in Giants camp … as a bullpen catcher. Whiteside returned to the organization this offseason when Billy Hayes was promoted to first-base coach. He previously played parts of four seasons for the Giants, getting 236 plate appearances in 2011 when Posey was hurt and memorably jumping up and down in front of Shane Victorino when the then-Phillie tried to rush the mound.
“We’re excited. It’s a great addition on this staff,” Bochy said. “(As a guy) that just finished playing, he’ll be able to communicate with these guys. We’re really, really excited to have Whitey.”
BEST SHAPE OF HIS LIFE ALERT: Sanchez slimmed down after concussions ended his 2014 season, and his manager was impressed on Day 1. “He’s in really great shape,” Bochy said. “I was impressed with how he showed up in camp. It’s great to see the commitment he made to get himself in shape.”
QUOTABLE: “We’d like to have a lot of fun in an odd year. We’d like to change it up.” — Bochy.
LIGHTER SIDE: Tim Lincecum is a Seahawks fan. (Deal with it. He’s from Washington.) Lincecum said he thought the Super Bowl was a great game, but that final play — the interception with Marshawn Lynch watching helplessly — still sticks with him. Lincecum compared watching that play to watching a commercial where you know you're not watching something real.
“I was in utter shock,” he said.