Schierholtz will likely start in right field

Schierholtz will likely start in right field

SAN FRANCISCO -- Don't start filling out the 2012 lineup cards just yet, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday that Nate Schierholtz will likely enter the season as the starting right fielder.

Schierholtz had a career year at the plate in 2011 despite nagging injuries and a season-ending fracture in his right foot. He batted .278 with a .756 OPS, and continued to play outstanding corner-outfield defense.

Bochy often sat Schierholtz against left-handed starters, but he has repeatedly expressed his belief that Schierholtz is fully capable of being an everyday player if he stays healthy.

"I thought Nate really made a lot of progress this year, especially with the bat, so that's the plan right now," Bochy said Thursday. "He plays a tremendous right field, and in this ballpark, that's critical for us. He's going into the season, for me, right now, as the starting right fielder."

That doesn't help solidify the rest of the Giants' outfield situation, however. It's entirely possible that either Brandon Belt -- or even Aubrey Huff -- could play left field next year. San Francisco is likely to make a run at re-signing free agent Carlos Beltran, and the club still needs a starting center fielder. There are a number of potential options on the open market.

Sabean also said 2010 postseason hero Cody Ross "will be given due consideration" this offseason. Ross or Andres Torres would be an ideal fourth outfielder given their ability to play all three spots and hit anywhere in the lineup.