Notes: Linden likely to make team

Notes: Linden likely to make team

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It's been the battle of the backup outfielders for one or two roster spots in Giants camp this spring, and Todd Linden seems to be set with the first of them, manager Bruce Bochy said Monday.

Linden (.452) and Jason Ellison (.609) are both tearing the cover off the ball. Both have no options left and neither can be sent to the Minor Leagues without clearing waivers. It's an interesting situation, but Linden is certainly targeted as the fourth outfielder.

"Yeah, that's why I'm playing him a lot in center field this spring," Bochy said. "That's the way we see it. That's why he's getting a lot of playing time here and I'm moving him around the outfield."

Does he see carrying a fifth outfielder rather than an extra infielder or 12th pitcher?

"Possibly," Bochy said. "That's what we'll have to decide. We'll see where we're at and what's a better fit for this club."

Linden, of course, has heard all of this before. He was sent to the Minor Leagues last spring at the end of camp and told at the time that the Giants were shopping him. It didn't happen. The same thing can be said now about him and Ellison, who made the club out of camp last spring, but by midseason had swapped places with Linden in the Minor Leagues when the latter was called up to the Giants.

"That's what we've been hearing," Linden said. "We've got Ellison, [Lance] Niekro and myself all out of options. New acquisitions have kind of filled up some of those roster spots and there aren't that many open this year. And everybody is swinging well. It kind of makes it tough to make a decision. It'll be interesting."

As far as controlling his own fate, Linden, 26, knows he can't have better days than Saturday against Texas when he pounded out a single, triple and homer, missing the cycle by a scant double.

And Linden is focusing only on one phase of the dilemma.

"I understand that I'm out of options and I've got to perform," he said. "I'm just out there trying to win a job, trying to perform and make the most of my skills."

No Mo: It was an outing that Matt Morris would soon like to forget. The first six Cubs batters reached base. They scored six times and batted around in the first inning courtesy of two fly balls to left that Barry Bonds lost in the sun and an Omar Vizquel error.

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"Everybody's getting their work in," said Morris, who allowed seven runs (four earned) on eight hits and was yanked after two innings, giving him his second subpar outing of three this spring. "I ended up throwing a lot of pitches [33 in the first inning, 54 total], and if they made a mistake, they hit it. I felt good. I felt stronger today than I have been in my first two starts. Everything's going in the right direction. With the result what it was, it's just very frustrating."

End notes: In the seventh inning, Giants right fielder Nate Schierholtz and second baseman Eugenio Velez collided on a pop fly hit by Cubs catcher Geovany Soto. Velez suffered a contusion of the left ribs and right wrist and was taken to the hospital for X-rays. Schierholtz had the wind knocked out of him. Both were removed from the game. ... Bochy said the team expected to make extensive cuts before the night game against the A's on Tuesday, bringing down the number of players in the big-league camp from 53 to 40.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.