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Huff's improvement afforded Giants extra pitcher

Huff's improvement afforded Giants extra pitcher

Huff's improvement afforded Giants extra pitcher
SAN FRANCISCO -- Manager Bruce Bochy's satisfaction with first baseman Aubrey Huff's mobility proved to be a primary factor in the shaping of the Giants' Division Series roster.

Bochy noted that Huff ran adequately when he started a Sept. 30 game at San Diego.

"He's not hobbling," Bochy said.

Bochy wasn't suprised, noting that Huff received a painkilling injection in his right knee a few days earlier.

Huff cemented his place on the roster by rapping six hits in his last 13 pinch-hit at-bats. Due to his inclusion, the Giants were forced to go without a fleet baserunning specialist, such as Francisco Peguero or Justin Christian. Bochy said that infielders Joaquin Arias and Ryan Theriot would handle pinch-running responsibilities if necessary.

"Obviously, we haven't done much game play on it, but just running around in practice it feels twice as good as it did [before]," Huff said. He jokingly added, "I feel pretty confident that if I hit a ball in the gap, I can get a triple."

Employing a 12-man pitching staff also prevented the Giants from keeping an extra position player. Bochy said that he liked the "coverage" that a 12-man staff afforded. An ominous interpretation: Bochy believes he needs more relief help to address concerns about the starting pitching.

San Francisco used an 11-pitcher contingent throughout the 2010 postseason, but Bochy pointed out that the club temporarily operated with a 13-man staff during the regular season, so 12 actually represented a belt-tightening of sorts.

One challenging pitching-related decision involved keeping rookie George Kontos over veteran Clay Hensley to bolster the supply of right-handed relievers.

"Really, he has been consistent all year, and I like the way he has been throwing lately," Bochy said of Kontos, who has held opponents scoreless in 14 of his last 17 outings.

Bochy said that Kontos' dramatic strikeout of Los Angeles' Matt Kemp in the next-to-last regular-season game didn't seal the decision to keep the 27-year-old.

"But it certainly helped," Bochy said. "... It probably helped validate taking him."

Peguero, Hensley, catcher Eli Whiteside and right-hander Jean Machi will remain with the team through at least the Division Series in case the Giants need an injury replacement.

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