Tomlinson honing skills at multiple spots

Tomlinson honing skills at multiple spots

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Kelby Tomlinson doesn't need a spreadsheet to help him organize enough time to sharpen his defensive skills at the three infield positions he plays.

Years of playing second base, shortstop and third base have taught Tomlinson, the Giants' reigning utility man, how to allocate his attention to each spot as he strives to reacclimate himself around the diamond.

"It's definitely a little more challenging when you have multiple positions that you have to try to get to, because there's a limited amount of time, and you're going from one thing to the next," Tomlinson said. "But usually I'll try to get some work in everywhere. Early work helps a lot, and so does late work."

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Tomlinson explained that he occupies himself mostly with playing second base and shortstop, which is where he likely would be needed most. San Francisco already has a pair of third basemen on its 40-man roster, projected regular Eduardo Nunez and Conor Gillaspie. Among non-roster players, Gordon Beckham and Aaron Hill are capable of playing third, which also happens to be Jae-gyun Hwang's primary position.

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"As you get more repetitions, you get more comfortable seeing the ground balls coming at you," Tomlinson said. "That's the big thing, getting your brain, your mind and your eyes getting used to it again. It's hard to simulate a game(-speed) ground ball."

Instead of feeling anxious about the plethora of non-roster veterans competing with him for a spot on the Giants' Opening Day squad, Tomlinson welcomes them.

"I always like to watch somebody who's really good, see what makes him good, and see what I can take from it," Tomlinson said. "Learn a little bit from this person, learn a little bit from that person. I watch everybody as much as I can. At the end of the day you have to focus on doing what you can and controlling what you can control."

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for 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.