Hernandez making his mark on defense

Hernandez making his mark on defense

NEW YORK -- Though Gorkys Hernandez experienced a couple of shaky defensive moments earlier in the season, his outfield play has ranged from competent to breathtaking recently.

Hernandez, 29, continued his improvement Sunday when he scampered from his post in center field toward right field and dove to snare Jose Peraza's sixth-inning popup.

Hernandez said he set himself up for that catch by shading Peraza toward right field and playing shallower than usual.

"When I saw the ball, I said, 'I have a chance to grab it,'" Hernandez recalled. "If I had played a little farther back or closer to left field, I wouldn't have a chance."

Hernandez, who has played regularly since Denard Span went on the disabled list April 23 with a sternoclavicular joint sprain, grew visibly excited Tuesday upon being told that Hall of Fame center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. insisted he'd rather make an outstanding catch than hit a home run. Hernandez could relate.

"That's the same for me," he said. "I don't care if I'm 0-for-4 or 4-for-4. If I make a good catch to help the team and the pitchers, for me, it's the best."

• Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Span will begin an injury rehabilitation assignment Tuesday with Class A Advanced San Jose.

• Shortstop Brandon Crawford, on the DL with a right groin strain, doubled in the first of three at-bats in six innings of an injury rehab game with Double-A Richmond on Monday. Bochy said Crawford will try playing seven innings Tuesday.

• Utility man Aaron Hill endured an apparent setback in his recovery from left forearm stiffness. Hill underwent an MRI, which showed some irritation remained.

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.