Crawford enjoys routine first day back at short

Crawford enjoys routine first day back at short

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Appearing at shortstop for the first time during the Giants' Cactus League season, Brandon Crawford played four innings before leaving Wednesday's 8-6 loss to the Rockies. The National League's reigning Gold Glove Award winner at the position handled exactly one ground ball, which Colorado's Nolan Arenado tapped in the first inning.

"A nice two-hopper, about as routine as it gets. So I was happy about that," said Crawford, who previously was limited to four games as a designated hitter while overcoming tenderness in the shoulder of his throwing arm.

Acknowledging that his arm was in "mid-March form," Crawford is expected to rest Thursday before returning to the lineup Friday. After that, Crawford could see more playing time at short.

"We'll start turning things up with him," Bochy said.

Outlook: Crawford, SS, SF

Many observers might not realize that ballplayers must condition themselves just for standing on the field. Consider how each fielder takes a small, expectant hop as each pitch is thrown. As Crawford said, "You can't prepare for playing baseball until you're playing baseball. The only way to get back into game shape is playing games."

• Bochy said that right-hander Matt Cain, recovering from the removal of a cyst from his throwing arm, will throw a side session in the bullpen Thursday or Friday. Whether that leaves Cain sufficient time to build enough arm strength to join the season-opening starting rotation remains to be seen. Bochy said that he'll be better able to project Cain's status in a week, and the manager reiterated that Chris Heston, previously expected to handle the long-relief role, will maintain a starter's work regimen in case he has to fill a vacancy in the rotation.

• Bochy said that closer Santiago Casilla (flu) will throw live batting practice sometime in the next couple of days, which should get him in shape to appear in his first exhibition game Monday or Tuesday.

Denard Span, who has tried to sharpen his swing by serving as San Francisco's designated hitter in four games, should be able to play his first game in center field during the weekend. "He could show up tomorrow and say, 'I'm ready to go,'" Bochy said. "I know he's that close."

Adrianza's RBI single

• Rookie right-hander Ray Black displayed his triple-digit velocity while striking out two in a perfect ninth inning Wednesday. The 25-year-old, who pitched for Class A Advanced San Jose last season and during part of 2014, looked poised to advance. Said Bochy, "Pretty electric, wasn't it?"

• True to his vow to seek versatility from his players, particularly reserves, Bochy played catcher Andrew Susac at first base in the final two innings. Wearing a first baseman's glove originally used by his younger brother, Daniel, Susac made his first professional appearance at first since 2013. That year, he played first in nine games, starting seven, for Double-A Richmond.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.