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Marrero makes case for Giants' LF platoon

March 31, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO -- Chris Marrero hasn't officially played his way onto the Opening Day roster. However, at the very least, he influenced the Giants' decision-makers.Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after Thursday night's 3-0 exhibition victory over Oakland that he'll likely platoon left-handed-batting Jarrett Parker with a right-handed hitter to begin

SAN FRANCISCO -- Chris Marrero hasn't officially played his way onto the Opening Day roster. However, at the very least, he influenced the Giants' decision-makers.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after Thursday night's 3-0 exhibition victory over Oakland that he'll likely platoon left-handed-batting Jarrett Parker with a right-handed hitter to begin the regular season.
A leading candidate for the latter role is Marrero, who has clobbered a team-high eight spring home runs and nearly hit his ninth in the second inning Thursday when his drive to deep left field barely missed the foul pole.
Marrero also made a shoetop-level catch of Jaff Decker's fifth-inning popup.
Another right-handed-hitting outfielder, either Gorkys Hernandez or Justin Ruggiano, could make the Opening Day roster -- most likely as a reserve.
Though Parker played solid defense this spring and showed improved patience at bat, he didn't hit assertively enough against left-handed pitching. Parker owns career Major League batting averages of .294 against right-handers and .200 against lefties. Thus, said Bochy, "you're looking at more of a platoon there."
Bochy emphasized as Spring Training began that he didn't want to platoon Parker with Mac Williamson, who came to camp as the top left-field contender among right-handed hitters. Bochy explained he wanted to avoid using two relatively young players as part-time performers. Williamson's left quadriceps injury eliminated him from consideration, for now.
Parker, 28, began his professional career in 2011. Marrero's also 28 but turned pro in 2006.
Cueto says he's OK despite blister: Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto developed a blister on the middle finger of his throwing hand Thursday night, but he insisted the irritation wasn't serious.
Cueto is scheduled to start the Giants' second regular-season game Tuesday at Arizona. Asked whether the blister represented a problem for him, Cueto replied through his interpreter, Erwin Higueros, "No. I don't see why."
As Cueto spoke with reporters, he soaked his finger in ointment held by a small plastic container, about the size of the mini-cup that comes with cough syrup.

That wasn't the only minor mishap to befall Cueto's valuable hand. Cueto prompted Bochy and head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner to leave the dugout and check on him when he registered discomfort during his third-inning plate appearance. Cueto said his hand stung after he fouled off a pitch.
"The baseball just kind of grazed the bat, and I felt it in my hands like it had burned my fingers," Cueto said.
Cueto surrendered six hits in his five innings. He trained the deception he typically reserves for hitters upon A's leadoff batter Rajai Davis, who singled with one out in the third inning. Cueto picked him off.

Giants waiting to hear from Rollins: Infielder James Rollins remained absent and, it was widely assumed, not on the 25-man, season-opening roster that the Giants are expected to reveal partially Friday and finalize Saturday.
"We're still waiting to hear from Jimmy and his agent. That's really all I can tell you," Bochy said. "He has to make a decision. We're just waiting to hear from him."
This indicates, but does not certify, that the Giants offered Rollins a deal with Triple-A Sacramento that enables him to become a free agent if he's not in the Majors by a certain date.
• Bochy said left-hander Will Smith underwent successful Tommy John surgery and should be ready to pitch sometime around May 2018. Smith, 27, was expected to be the Giants' primary setup reliever this season.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.