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Giants had fast response to plodding offense

The Sports Xchange
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If manager Bruce Bochy learned anything in spring training, it's that he has more offensive options than last season.

Scoring the fewest runs in the league and struggling with runners in scoring position, the Giants tried to upgrade to make another run at the postseason and give their pitchers a better chance at success.

The additions of outfielders Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco provide Bochy more flexibility on defense and in the lineup. Bochy will have more team speed and athleticism, and that'll be refreshing for a club that for years has gone station to station.

It also should help that the Giants are younger at shortstop with Brandon Crawford. Brandon Belt, the first baseman of the future, will eventually replace Aubrey Huff.

And the speedy, switch-hitting Emmanuel Burriss, who has opened eyes with his bat and glove, could be the starting second baseman, replacing injured Freddy Sanchez.

For years, the Giants have been talking about adding younger and more athletic position players, and they took a big step in the offseason.

Cabrera and Blanco have been impressive in spring training, though Pagan has struggled at the plate, as has fellow newcomer Ryan Theriot, a middle infielder who could get serious time with second baseman Sanchez coping with a shoulder issue.

Pitching remains the anchor, and Tim Lincecum is the ace, although Matt Cain would be the top guy in many rotations. Madison Bumgarner is an ace in the making, and Ryan Vogelsong is coming off a comeback season for the ages, although he's getting a slow start to 2012 because of a back injury.

While Sanchez is headed to the disabled list, two other players coming off injuries have encouraging outlooks.

Catcher Buster Posey, who missed the final four months with leg injuries, and closer Brian Wilson, who was shut down because of an elbow injury, are slowly but surely returning to form.

Considering the Giants might be healthier and more athletic, it's safe to believe they'll contend for a division title, that is, if Bochy's offensive options pan out.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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