X marks the spot: Nady delivers in debut

X marks the spot: Nady delivers in debut

X marks the spot: Nady delivers in debut
CHICAGO -- Xavier Nady's jersey numbers through his 10-year Major League career had remained exclusively in the 20's. So the sight of him wearing No. 68 as he made his Giants debut was somewhat jarring. Nady said that even the Wrigley Field patrons perched behind him in the left-field bleachers made fun of him.

Nady didn't mind, though, especially after his bases-loaded, three-run double paved the way for the Giants' 5-2 victory Saturday over the Cubs.

Nady, one of San Francisco's six September callups, indicated that he just might stick with his number that's more suitable for a lineman in football. "I'm going to rock it for a little bit. We'll see," he said.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy certainly will rock with Nady in left field as long as he remains productive. He started Nady there in his first possible opportunity. Bochy has considerable faith in Nady, having managed the San Diego Padres when Nady broke into the Major Leagues with them for one at-bat in 2000 before sticking in 2003.

"He has experience and he can hit," Bochy said of Nady, a .271 lifetime hitter with 100 career homers. "I think he's going to help us, without question."

Nady's arrival with the Giants almost seemed destined. He grew up in Salinas, Calif., near San Jose, rooting for them -- though he said he attended more A's games "because they were cheaper."

As a free agent last offseason, Nady called Bochy to ask whether the Giants could use another outfielder. A fit didn't exist then. But with Melky Cabrera suspended and Gregor Blanco slumping, Nady, who the Giants signed to a Triple-A contract on Aug. 4 after the Nationals released him, became a viable option.

"I always wanted to put on a Giants uniform," he said. "To have the opportunity to do it, I knew going to [Triple-A] Fresno could benefit me."

Nady began reciprocating with a run in and two outs in the first inning. Facing Justin Germano, a former Minor League roommate, Nady sharply grounded a 1-0 fastball past Cubs third baseman Luis Valbuena and into the left-field corner, scoring Buster Posey, Hunter Pence and Hector Sanchez to highlight a four-run burst.

"He's a good hitter. You definitely have to mix it up with him," Germano said. "He can hurt you with a long ball and drive the ball in the gap. I tried to get a fastball in there and tried to get a ground ball, and I did, but he was able to keep it out of reach of Valbuena."

That was Nady's only hit in three at-bats, but it was enough to help the Giants strengthen their hold on first place in the National League West.

"To come to a team in first place, it's a wonderful time," said Nady. "I've known 'Boch' for a long time. I'm obviously excited to have the opportunity to play for him. He's always been good to me."

Though Bochy usually has platooned his left fielders since Cabrera's suspension, Bochy said that the right-handed-batting Nady could play against both right- and left-handers if he hits proficiently. Entering Saturday, Nady had hit .265 against righties and .284 off lefties in his career.

Nady was hampered by right wrist tendinitis when he began the season with the Nationals, but insisted that he's healthy.

"It should be a non-issue," he said.