Morning report 2/29: Giants plan to be off and running

Nate Schierholtz is looking to make stolen bases more part of his game in 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

The Giants are committed to get more aggressive on the basepaths in 2012. And that doesn’t just involve the addition of Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera near the top of the lineup.

The coaching staff has been stressing the running game this spring.

“Running the bases is something we’ve done more than anytime in my life,” Brandon Belt told Henry Schulman of the Chronicle. “They made it clear on the first day this is something they want to improve upon. There’s a lot more effort going into it.”

The Giants stole 85 bases in 2011, ranking 13th in the National League. To make matters worse, four of the top five base-stealing teams in the NL were from the NL West.

To make matters even more worse, the Giants base-stealing percentage of 63 percent ranked 15th in the NL.

One player the Giants would like to see attempt more steals is outfielder Nate Schierholtz.

“By the time I leave here, I plan to make the stolen base part of my game,” Schierholtz told CSNBayArea.com’s Andrew Baggarly. To read more about the thievery attempts of Schierholtz, click here.

But this spring’s focus is about more than stealing bases. It’s about beating out infield hits, stretching singles into doubles, going from first to third.

While the Giants are on the run this spring, one Giants who has not been a big part of those drills is Buster Posey.

While running the bases has been part of Posey’s rehab from last season’s ankle injury, he has yet to run all-out and make hard cuts on the bases.

Because of that, the Giants are debating whether or not to have Posey start in Saturday’s spring training opener against the Rockies.

THIS AND THAT

  • BRETT PILL: The San Jose Mercury News and CSNBayArea.com featured Brett Pill in their coverage Tuesday. Pill is battling for a roster spot and took some grounders at third base. He’ll also see time at second base and left field as the Giants assess his versatility. Although he’s a right hander with some pop — something that appears to be lacking on the Giants bench — he remains a dark-horse candidate to make the club, as he still has minor-league options. Players like Emmanuel Burriss, Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot would need to be released if Pill makes the club, or (gasp!) Brandon Belt would need to open the season in the minors. To read more on Pill, see the Mercury News or CSNBayArea.com reports.
  • JOE PANIK Alex Pavolic of the Mercury News had an interesting blog post on infield prospect Joe Panik. Apparently, the Giants still consider him a shortstop prospect, even though previous reports had him slotted as a second baseman. And he got rave reviews from Felipe Alou. To read more, click here.
  • BACK IN ACTION: Two players hindered by sore backs returned to the field Tuesday. Pitcher Ryan Vogelsong threw for a second straight day without problems. It’s good news but the pitcher will need to avoid any setbacks if he wants to remain on pace on be ready for season. Also, Freddy Sanchez took some grounders a day after sitting out with back problems.

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