Sandoval Might See Time At Catcher

3B Pablo Sandoval isn't just the starting third baseman. He's the emergency catcher.

Buster Posey is No. 1, and either Eli Whiteside or Chris Stewart will be the backup. With Posey destined to get decent time at first base, the No. 2 catcher could be used quite a bit, and Sandoval -- a catcher in the minors -- might have to reacquaint himself with catcher's gear. "On the days Buster needs a day off, period, and wouldn't be a first baseman or catcher, Pablo could catch (Barry) Zito starts to get more offense in the lineup and he's open to that," GM Brian Sabean said. "Now whether that happens, I don't know, but it's been discussed."

--SS Brandon Crawford started more games at short than any other Giant in 2011: all of 53. Miguel Tejada started 42 games, Orlando Cabrera and Mike Fontenot 33 apiece and Emmanuel Burriss nine. Glancing at year-to-year leaders in games started by Giants shortstops: Juan Uribe (2010), Edgar Renteria (2009), Omar Vizquel (2005-08) and Deivi Cruz (2004), all were in their 30s or, in Vizquel's case, 40s. Crawford is the shortstop until further notice, which might not mean a lot considering management's penchant for old shortstops.

--OF Angel Pagan, acquired in a winter meetings trade with the Mets, is coming off a down year. He hit .262, his lowest average since 2006. His on-base percentage was .322, lowest since 2007. His slugging percentage of .372 was the lowest in his career. Likewise, his .694 OPS was a career worst. On the other hand, his 56 RBI, 125 hits and 24 doubles were second most in his career. It helped that he played 123 games, more than any other year except 2010, when he played in 151 games.

--RHP Tim Lincecum's arbitration situation could go to the buzzer for the second time in three years. In February 2010, he settled on a two-year deal just before his arbitration hearing was to begin. Lincecum and his agents have said they're OK with year-to-year deals instead of a long-term deal. It's possible the sides could settle on another two-year deal, which could be in the $40 million range. "Tim is fine going a year at a time. Totally fine. Tim likes to prove himself," agent Rick Thurman said.

--RF Nate Schierholtz remains the favorite to open the season in right. "But he's got to come in and do what we think he'll do and what he believes he can do," manager Bruce Bochy said, "and that's stay healthy and go out there and play well." Schierholtz hit .278 with nine homers and 41 RBI in a career-high 362 plate appearances.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3,387,303 -- Fans the Giants drew in 2011, a single-season franchise record. It came a year after the Giants' only World Series title in San Francisco.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'll tell you, he's at a fast pace. That's probably the best way I can put it with Gary Brown. He had a great year, exciting player. It's a need for us to have this type of player. I don't want to put a timetable on him, but I'd say it's going to be real soon. He'll be at major league camp, and more than likely, not that this is etched in stone, go to Double A, and if he keeps doing what he's doing, he could be helping us real soon." -- Manager Bruce Bochy on center-field prospect Gary Brown, who hit .336 with 14 homers, 80 RBI and 53 steals at Class A San Jose.

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