Blach could be one of several moving parts

Bumgarner out to improve batting average

Blach could be one of several moving parts

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants' search for versatility, as exemplified by the likes of Jimmy Rollins, Aaron Hill and Jae-gyun Hwang playing multiple spots, isn't limited to position players.

Manager Bruce Bochy indicated that left-hander Ty Blach, considered a leading contender for the fifth starter's vacancy along with Matt Cain, could be suited to a variety of roles.

This subject was raised after Blach, who's accustomed to starting, replaced Cain with one out in the fourth inning of the Giants' 3-2 Cactus League victory Monday. Blach's appearance in relief wasn't stunning. But his arrival in the middle of the inning was a novelty.

"I think a guy like Tyler can give you some different options," said Bochy, who proceeded to name them: starting, working in long relief, becoming a specialist against opposing left-handed batters, or being the first man out of the bullpen in the sixth or seventh inning.

Bochy also mentioned the possibility of Kelby Tomlinson and Hwang, who played almost exclusively third base in Korea, receiving playing time in left field. Hwang was on the move Monday, substituting at first base.

"We're going to keep our options open, on the pitching side and the position player side," Bochy said.

Bumgarner eyes improved bat work

By his own admission, Madison Bumgarner resists setting goals. The Giants left-hander is so driven that he needs no extra incentive to excel.

However, Bumgarner acknowledged one statistic does motivate him: a .200 batting average. It has nothing directly to do with pitching, which is Bumgarner's primary responsibility as the staff ace. But it has everything to do with contributing.

"If you can keep it up in the .200s, I feel like you're doing your part pretty well as a pitcher," Bumgarner said.

Bumgarner slipped below that standard last year, batting .186 with three home runs and nine RBIs after winning the Silver Slugger Award in the two previous seasons for offensive excellence at his position. He batted .258 with four home runs and 15 RBIs in 2014, followed by .247 with five homers and nine RBIs in 2015.

"I feel like I still got a decent amount of hits last year," Bumgarner said, "but I got a lot more opportunities also."

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.