SF@TEX: Bochy challenges a ruling, likes the outcome

SAN FRANCISCO -- Though the Giants didn't request any videotaped reviews of close plays Thursday night, manager Bruce Bochy said that assistant coach Shawon Dunston, who's being groomed to alert the bench when a call should be questioned, has prepared for his role.

At AT&T Park, Dunston will watch games from a room in the clubhouse furnished with sophisticated video equipment to help him render a judgment.

Bochy said that Dunston, a former All-Star shortstop, relishes the chance to make an impact upon games again.

"We were practicing it. We just wanted to make sure he was on his toes," Bochy said. "He's really into it. ... It can be a game-changer."

Asked to cite Dunston's qualifications, Bochy said, "You have an ex-player who has seen a lot of close plays who wants to help. It makes sense, especially since he's traveling, to have him doing it during the game."

Bochy sounded as if he needed to familiarize himself with the procedure just as much as Dunston. Staring at the section of the dugout wall where five telephone receivers were arranged, Bochy said, "When that phone rings, I pick up the wrong one every time."

Bochy paused before joking, "One's for Obama."

Belt or Pence likely to replace Scutaro in No. 2 spot

OAK@SF: Pence laces a double to right in the sixth

SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence are the candidates whom manager Bruce Bochy is considering most for the batting order's No. 2 spot.

The absence of second baseman Marco Scutaro, who's enduring back problems, has temporarily robbed the Giants of a prototypical second hitter who can bunt, hit behind baserunners and execute the hit-and-run. So Bochy is leaning toward the contemporary -- and often successful -- approach of using an offensive dynamo in the second spot. Players who frequently or primarily hit second last year included the Angels' Mike Trout, the Yankees' Carlos Beltran, Oakland's Josh Donaldson, Seattle's Robinson Cano, Minnesota's Joe Mauer, Detroit's Torii Hunter and Baltimore's Manny Machado.

Asked if trends have altered the No. 2-hitter prototype, Bochy said Friday, "I'd say, yeah, it's changed a little bit. You're trying to get the best lineup at the top of the order that's going to get you runs. It makes sense to have one of your better hitters up there."

Friday night against the A's, that choice was Belt, coming off his best all-around season. He said that batting second doesn't faze him.

"I've hit third most of my career," he said. "Hitting second is not that much different. I'm still trying to get on base. There are still opportunities to drive in runs. There are going to be opportunities to score runs. You just have to go out there with the same mindset and take advantage of it."

Bochy added that he wouldn't rule out using Joaquin Arias or Brandon Crawford, hitters who fit a more traditional No. 2 hitter's profile, in that berth.

Bochy to reveal final roster cuts Saturday

SF@CWS: Hicks launches a solo shot to left field

SAN FRANCISCO -- Manager Bruce Bochy said that the Giants will announce their final roster cuts Saturday to trim the contingent to the Opening Day limit of 25.

The Giants entered Friday with a 29-man spring roster. Two of the subtractions are obvious, as second baseman Marco Scutaro (back) and left-hander Jeremy Affeldt (right knee) will go on the 15-day disabled list.

Juan Gutierrez, Derek Law and Jean Machi remain in contention for the final bullpen job. The fifth outfielder's role has come down to non-roster invitee Tyler Colvin and Juan Perez.

With Scutaro sidelined, infielder Brandon Hicks, a non-roster invitee who entered Friday hitting .364, likely will earn an Opening Day roster spot.

"I think he's the perfect utility player," Bochy said.

Huff could see middle relief with Affeldt out

OAK@SF: Huff makes a heads-up play on Gray's bunt

SAN FRANCISCO -- Manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged that he would consider using left-hander David Huff to pitch middle relief while Jeremy Affeldt, who normally would fill that role, recovers from a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee.

"Actually, that is something we did discuss," Bochy said Friday, indicating that he might use Huff in the sixth or seventh inning on occasion.

Though Huff has spent most of his professional career as a starter, he appeared in relief on back-to-back days last year on May 21-22 for the Indians and on Sept. 1-2 with the Yankees.

"That's not probably his niche, to be honest," Bochy said, referring to Huff's suitability as a short reliever. Huff began the spring as a long-relief candidate. "But I like the way he's throwing the ball. It gives us some options until we get Jeremy back."

Worth noting

• Manager Bruce Bochy endorsed the stiffer penalties outlined by baseball's new Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

"It sounds like the players are all for it," Bochy said Friday. "It'll put a little more pressure on these guys. So I applaud them. I'm for it, too. It seems like we needed a stiffer drug policy. I think it's good for the game."

• Instead of facing the A's in Saturday's Bay Bridge Series finale, No. 5 starter Ryan Vogelsong will keep his arm limber by appearing in a Minor League intrasquad game at the Giants' training complex in Scottsdale, Ariz.

• The Giants opted to employ a designated hitter Friday night instead of having Tim Lincecum bat. Saturday's weather forecast, which called for the possibility of rain, prompted Bochy to install Hector Sanchez as the DH. Bochy pointed out that providing at-bats to a potentially key hitter such as Sanchez is a greater priority than letting Lincecum take a few swings.

"It's more important at this time to get Hector some at-bats, vs. Timmy," Bochy said.