Angel Pagan is making a position change in Giants camp this spring. It’s a situation he has been in before.
Pagan said he grew up in Puerto Rico playing shortstop. He had good range but a long throwing motion, and his throws had a habit of sailing on him, endangering spectators along the first-base line. When he was 15, Pagan was told his future was in center field, and for most of his 10 years in the majors, Pagan has been a center fielder.
This spring, though, Pagan is making the transition to left field, after the Giants signed Denard Span to a three-year deal over the winter to play center. Pagan’s Cactus League debut came Tuesday night in the Giants’ 16-7 win over the Reds. He played four innings and did not have a fly ball hit to him. Afterward, Pagan said the transition to left is “good” but still a work in progress.
“It’s not the same when they’re hitting fungos as in a game,” Pagan said. “In games it’s not only catching the ball but situations – what base I have to (back up), when the ball is hit where I have to be or where I have to throw the ball. It’s just about getting those plays down, and that’s what spring training is for, to work on those things.”
Pagan said one example Tuesday night came on a double to center, when he had to think about whether to back up Gregor Blanco in case of a bad ricochet or be around third base in case of a bad throw. He said he intends to sit down with outfielders coach Roberto Kelly to discuss those situations as they arise this spring.
Manager Bruce Bochy said he was focused Tuesday night on how Pagan was moving in his first game action of the spring, and that Pagan looked to be “running well.” Pagan said physically he “felt good, felt strong.” He said his timing at the plate is “not there” yet, but he has almost a month to hone it. The same goes for his new position, which he reiterated Tuesday is his priority in camp.
“I’m here to do whatever the team asks me to do,” Pagan said. “They asked me to play left field, I was 100 percent on board. If Bochy wants me to be in left field all the time, I respect the decision and I just go there and play.”
Bumgarner’s night – A revealing moment in Madison Bumgarner’s start Tuesday came when he struck Scott Schebler out looking in the third inning. Despite the result, Bumgarner came off the mound barking angrily at himself as if unhappy with the pitch.
Afterward, Bumgarner explained his reaction. The pitch was a cutter, and although this one froze Schebler, Bumgarner said he has had more trouble than usual commanding the pitch so far this spring. Also, Bumgarner admitted his “mentality wasn’t exactly what I wanted it to be” in his second spring outing.
“Usually I wouldn’t want anybody to see that,” Bumgarner said. “You just get excited and amped up for, I don’t know, second time out this spring. Night game feels a little more like a regular-season game. Still, there’s no excuse for it.
“I moved on and went to the next pitch, just like I always do. That’s still not something you want to make a habit of.”
Bumgarner gave up five hits and three runs in three innings Tuesday night, with all three runs scoring in the first on an RBI single by Jesse Winker and a two-run home run by Schebler. He said his cutter is usually the easiest pitch for him to get a feel for, but so far this spring it’s been “backing up” on him in bullpen sessions and games.
“I felt good,” Bumgarner said. “Last start, cutters weren’t very good like I want them to be. Today they were a little better – still not where I want them, but definitely better. The command felt pretty good. Honestly, everything felt really good. I felt like I made a lot of good pitches that just got hit.”
Hit parade –Second baseman Joe Panik went 3-for-4 and looked very healthy legging out a triple in the third inning.
“Joe looked good, didn’t he?” Bochy said. “That triple he had, that’s as good as I’ve seen him run. So that’s a good sign.”
A 16-7 game makes for a lot of good hitting lines. Jarrett Parker hit his first home run of the spring, and minor-leaguer Christian Arroyo hit a pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning that cleared the bullpen to the grassy berm beyond the left-field wall.
Injury updates – The Giants are targeting Friday for right fielder Hunter Pence (Achilles) to make his spring debut, Bochy said.
“He’s telling me he’s ready to go tomorrow, but we’re better off being safe than sorry with that Achilles,” Bochy said. “He’s good to go, which is good news, but we’re still going to wait until Friday.”
Closer Santiago Casilla, who’s recovering from a flu, is scheduled to face hitters in live batting practice Wednesday, the final step before he pitches in a game. Sergio Romo will likely throw live batting practice two more times before pitching in a game.