The Giants played their Cactus League opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Scottsdale this afternoon and, despite taking a 9-6 loss, there were some definite bright spots. Tim Lincecum threw two innings allowing only one run, Angel Pagan got to show off his wheels stealing second, his new outfield partner Melky Cabrera got to show off his arm with the game’s only outfield assist, Huff drew a walk in his first plate appearance, and Hector Sanchez had a solo homer in the seventh.
Brandon Belt, though, was the star of the day, going three-for-four with a ninth inning home run and, more importantly, showing that he can be more aggressive at the plate. Several times the D’Backs tried, unsuccessfully, to get inside on Belt’s hands, an area that was an unfortunate hole in his swing last season. Of course this is the smallest of small sample sizes, but it’s reassuring to see Belt off to a strong start, even if the battle between Belt, Huff and Pill will last at least until late in Spring Training.
The Giants have a split squad doubleheader tomorrow, with newly-returned Giant Brian Burres starting against the Diamondbacks at Scottsdale Stadium, and ace-in-training Madison Bumgarner taking on the Brewers at Maryvale.