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Outfielder Blanco a key cog off bench for Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Gregor Blanco started one of the Giants' first nine games. Yet he has remained integral to the team's daily strategy.

Blanco has settled into his role as the replacement for left fielder Michael Morse, who played nine innings just once in the Giants' first eight games. Due to manager Bruce Bochy's lingering concern over Morse's right calf, Blanco has entered games as early as the fifth inning and played in all but one of San Francisco's first eight games. Bochy has tried to strike a balance between providing the formidable Morse enough at-bats to influence the outcome and getting him off the field to preserve his health.

Blanco's happy to be part of Bochy's plan.

"I've been doing this all my career, pretty much," said Blanco, who appeared in 141 games in each of the previous two seasons. "I know if we're winning or something happpens in the fifth or sixth inning that I have to be ready to play for Michael."

The genuinely humble Blanco doesn't obsess over his playing time -- or lack of it.

"I'm honored," he said Wednesday. "I'm honored to contribute, the way we're doing it right now. Whatever it takes."

Chris Haft is a reporter for Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat.
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