Giants hopeful for Span's return in SD opener

Giants hopeful for Span's return in SD opener

PHOENIX -- The Giants' outfield was very much on manager Bruce Bochy's mind before Thursday's series finale against the D-backs.

Center fielder Denard Span was out of the lineup for the third straight game with tightness in his left hip, but Bochy expressed hope that San Francisco's leadoff hitter would return for Friday's series opener at San Diego.

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If Span's condition keeps him sidelined, the Giants might have to consider placing him on the 10-day disabled list.

Bochy also wanted to have a soothing chat with left fielders Jarrett Parker and Chris Marrero, who entered Thursday hitless in 12 at-bats with eight strikeouts.

"Hopefully they're not pressing too much," Bochy said.

Of Parker, who has struck out five times in seven at-bats, Bochy said, "Those aren't his swings." He said that he would advise Parker and Marrero to take their cuts as freely as possible: "Just let it go."

Ross savors coaching stint

As was the case during his playing career, Cody Ross has proven to be useful.

Ross is among the Giants alumni who served as coaching assistants during Spring Training, a list that included Rich Aurilia, Barry Bonds, Ellis Burks, Will Clark, Jeff Kent, Robb Nen and Randy Winn. The difference with Ross is that since he lives in the Phoenix area, he continued to work with the team through this series, pitching batting practice and providing defensive tutoring for outfielders.

"At the beginning I was just sort of around and helped out when needed," said Ross, San Francisco's 2010 postseason hero. "But they put me to work and it's been nice. It's been a real joy to be out here to help any way I can."

Ross on time with Giants

Bochy welcomed Ross' presence on a practical level, pointing out that the Giants' full-time coaching staff lacks a true former outfielder who can provide tips on playing those spots.

Bochy added that Ross is good for morale.

"He's got a lot of life to him, he's always smiling and he's also a worker," Bochy said.

Handyman sustains thumb injury

Bullpen catcher Taira Uematsu broke his left thumb in three places while catching Hunter Strickland on Wednesday and will be sidelined for 6-7 weeks, Bochy said.

Uematsu, who's beginning his 10th season with the Giants, will be replaced by Travis Higgs, who is the bullpen catcher at Triple-A Sacramento.

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.