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Rollins' bid to make Giants off to a good start

Former NL MVP quickly learning second base, homered Friday
Special to MLB.com

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Jimmy Rollins continued making his case for a roster spot, starting at shortstop and showing his bat can still be dangerous as he mashed a go-ahead, two-run homer off the top of the right-field fence in Friday's game.

"I clipped it," Rollins said of his first Cactus League home run in the Giants' 7-6 loss to the Indians. "I didn't feel any breakdown in my swing. Glad to see I still have some pop. And glad the right field wall was just short enough."

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Jimmy Rollins continued making his case for a roster spot, starting at shortstop and showing his bat can still be dangerous as he mashed a go-ahead, two-run homer off the top of the right-field fence in Friday's game.

"I clipped it," Rollins said of his first Cactus League home run in the Giants' 7-6 loss to the Indians. "I didn't feel any breakdown in my swing. Glad to see I still have some pop. And glad the right field wall was just short enough."

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With just 16 at-bats under his belt, his spring average doesn't mean much yet, but the swing itself is getting to where he wants it, and Rollins is happy to show his teammates and manager what he has.

"The last couple days, [it felt] real good," Rollins said of his swing. "Everybody goes through a point where you feel good, then you do a couple things and confuse yourself a bit, then go back to what you know best. I've been working on that the last few days. Hopefully go back to finding the barrel. If it finds the grass, good, but if it finds the barrel, odds will be in my favor."

The former National League Most Valuable Player and three-time All-Star hopes to be a triple threat off the bench with the ability to provide timely hits, solid defense at shortstop -- he won four Gold Glove Awards with the Phillies from 2007-12 -- and the ability to play second when the Giants need him.

Video: CLE@SF: Rollins drills a two-run homer to right field

"I'm comfortable playing second," Rollins said after coming out of Friday's game. "There are still times when it looks a little strange. When nobody's on base, it looks normal. If you get a runner on first, I'm way over toward the middle for that double play against a right-handed hitter. It just feels like the Grand Canyon's between me and the first baseman.

"But that's the positioning. I know what it's like as a hitter, when I see that, but it feels so much different being in that position when I still have to cover that ground. I'll get used to it."

He has impressed manager Bruce Bochy, who sees a lot of upside in the 38-year-old veteran.

"Jimmy's been doing a good job," Bochy said after the game. "He's played second a couple times, he's played well. He's going to play second tomorrow. He's done all he needs to be doing, and that's playing good ball. He's getting good swings off. He's made some hard outs."

In 2016, Rollins signed a Minor League contract with the White Sox and earned the Opening Day shortstop job. He then hit .221 in 41 games and was designated for assignment.

If Rollins keeps up the work he's doing in the Giants' camp, he can make it a hard call for Bochy when it comes time to finalize the Opening Day roster.

Worth noting

Conor Gillaspie was in the original lineup playing third base and batting seventh, but he was scratched when he arrived at the stadium early Friday morning with a sinus infection, according to Bochy.

Steven Duggar entered Friday's game as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning. He also entered the game as one of the Giants' innings-logged leaders through the first two weeks of Cactus League play.

Video: Top Prospects: Steven Duggar, OF, Giants

"I wanted to play him a lot and give him some experience up here," Bochy said. "He started in A ball [in 2015] and went to Double-A [in 2016]. Handled himself real well. He's got all the tools to be an everyday center fielder. … This is a great experience for him. He's not competing to make this club, but I wanted to give him as much playing time as I could without taking away from others. He's right at the top in the depth chart when you consider center fielders in our organization."

Duggar, the Giants' No. 4 prospect, hit .321 (78-for-243) at Double-A Richmond and put together a Flying Squirrel record 19-game hitting streak from July 18-August 6. He's hitting .364 (4-for-11) in nine Cactus League games.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com.

San Francisco Giants, Jimmy Rollins