Tomlinson pressed into OF duty for 1st time

Tomlinson pressed into OF duty for 1st time

SAN FRANCISCO -- Kelby Tomlinson dug deep into his memory banks to recall the last time he played left field. "Middle school," he said.

Seventh and eighth grade usually aren't considered stepping-stones to the Major Leagues. But with regular left fielder Angel Pagan and right fielder Hunter Pence nursing hamstring injuries Saturday, Giants manager Bruce Bochy needed to scrape up another extra outfielder besides Gregor Blanco, who started in right field. Enter Tomlinson, the utility infielder who played the entire game in left field as the Giants subdued the Cubs, 5-3.

Tomlinson, 25, made his first outfield appearance in six professional seasons. He caught two fly balls hit by Dexter Fowler, hesitating before he rushed in to catch the first one. Though Tomlinson received a crash course in playing center field during instructional league last fall, he spent no time at the outfield corners.

Still, the experience was useful.

"I was able to get a little bit of comfortability in case something like this happened," Tomlinson said.

Tomlinson insisted he wasn't overly surprised to receive his outfield assignment.

"I figured this would come up," Tomlinson said. "It's still baseball and that's what I've done my whole life."

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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.