SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Anybody who has watched Pedro Feliz hit knows that he either pulls the ball or doesn't hit it at all. He's trying to stop being so one-dimensional. And, for what it's worth, he seems bent on succeeding. Continuing a project he began during the offseason, Feliz has spent all spring trying to drive pitches to the opposite field. So far, his patient approach has resulted in a .364 average, which was fattened by a 3-for-3 effort in the Giants' 6-5 exhibition victory Sunday over the Kansas City Royals.
"I'm trying to wait a little more, instead of pulling every pitch," Feliz said. Feliz yanked two of his hits, a second-inning single and a sixth-inning double, to left field. But his most impressive connection, a two-run homer in the fourth that launched San Francisco's rally from a 5-0 deficit, traveled to right field. That's also where many of Feliz's other Cactus League hits have landed. Feliz has tried to avoid striding with his front foot, thus preventing him from lunging at pitches. Swinging with a shorter stride or no stride at all helps him guide the ball to center or right field. "I try not to stride, but it happens," the third baseman said. "It's something I have to get used to." That's largely why Feliz didn't consider eliminating his stride in previous years. "In the season, you don't want to try a lot of different things, because you need time to get used to them," he said. "You don't want to work with it in a game." Feliz said he still needs "a little more work" before he's fully comfortable with his new method. Defensively, Feliz already looks comfortable. He dove to his left to snare Angel Berroa's third-inning, one-hop smash and turned it into an out. Opposite ends: Armando Benitez kept cruising while Noah Lowry kept struggling. In his sharpest Cactus League appearance, Benitez struck out two Royals in a perfect fifth inning. The Giants' likely closer has not allowed a run in four appearances. Relying mostly on his slider, Benitez threw eight strikes in 10 pitches. "I know what I need," Benitez said, explaining his pitch selection. "The last couple of days, you saw I have my fastball. I want to make sure I get my slider back and my sinker." Lowry surrendered five runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings. He also walked three in an 86-pitch afternoon.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.