SAN FRANCISCO -- Manager Bruce Bochy's insistence on countering an opposing left-handed pitcher by stacking his lineup with right-handed hitters cost first baseman Brandon Belt another start Sunday.It didn't matter that Belt's seventh-inning double Saturday drove in both Giants runs in Saturday's 2-1 victory over San Diego. Sunday, Bochy installed switch-hitting Hector Sanchez behind the plate, Buster Posey at first base and Brett Pill in left field, leaving no room for the left-handed-batting Belt. Belt began Sunday on a statistical upswing, having hit .375 (6-for-16) with three doubles and five RBIs in his previous six games. But Bochy expressed the belief that testing Padres left-hander Clayton Richard with right-handed batters would enhance the Giants' chances. Righties (.239 batting average) had fared marginally better than lefties (.217) against Richard entering the game. "We have a pretty good right-handed bat at first base," Bochy said, referring to Posey.
Bochy added that matchups such as this accounted for Pill's presence on the roster: "That's why he's here, to give us some help against a left-handed pitcher."
Catcher Sanchez getting practice at first base
SAN FRANCISCO -- Catcher Hector Sanchez has begun taking ground balls and throws at first base as part of manager Bruce Bochy's continuing effort to add roster flexibility.A permanent position change is not imminent for Sanchez. Rather, Bochy said, inserting Sanchez at first could be a late-inning option. Fortunately for the Giants, Sanchez wouldn't be a novice at that spot. He played 46 games at first in the Minors -- fitting the profile of many catchers, who have experience playing the infield or outfield corners. Though Sanchez has started eight of San Francisco's 22 games, including Sunday's series finale against San Diego, Bochy emphasized that the club remains committed to Buster Posey as its primary catcher.
"We want to keep Buster behind the plate as much we need to," Bochy said.Posey has started four games at first base when Sanchez has caught. That number is likely to increase while Aubrey Huff remains on the 15-day disabled list with an anxiety disorder. Huff is eligible for reinstatement on May 7.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.