SAN FRANCISCO -- Kensuke Tanaka's Spring Training stint with the Giants was one he would like to forget, but after starring in Japan, he thinks his talent is finally translating across the ocean. Apparently the Giants agree.
On Tuesday, the Giants purchased Tanaka's contract from Triple-A Fresno and designated outfielder Cole Gillespie for assignment. The Giants have 10 days to trade, release or place Gillespie on waivers after he was hitless in nine at-bats in the Majors.
After signing a Minor League contract with the Giants in January, Tanaka made a flurry of errors in Spring Training.
Through an interpreter, Tanaka told reporters he began to feel comfortable around May or June.
"I was able to come here because of my experience in Spring Training," Tanaka said. "It was the first time in the states with a different baseball style."
Tanaka played 55 games at second base for Triple-A Fresno, but has played left field -- where manager Bruce Bochy said he will play for the Giants -- just nine times in 2013.
"We're struggling against right-handers and he's been swinging the bat as well as anybody down there and he's had some games in left field," said Bochy, who placed Tanaka second in the lineup Tuesday. "Hopefully he does provide [a spark]."
Tanaka, who was batting .330 with a .392 on-base percentage in 78 games in Fresno, was a key component of the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan the past several seasons.
"Playing in the Major Leagues is just one of the goals I have," said Tanaka, who should bring some speed to the basepaths for San Francisco. "I wanted to play good here and play here as long as I can."