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Tanaka impresses with glove in spring debut


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Japanese second baseman Kensuke Tanaka looked as if he had played here all his life.

Infield surfaces at Cactus League ballparks can be tricky, since the sun-baked dirt can cause sharp or erratic hops. But Tanaka, who played second base for the last five innings of the Giants' 4-1 victory over a Los Angeles Angels split squad, responded flawlessly. He handled two ground balls, quickly turned a sixth-inning double play and dove to snare Chevy Clarke's grounder up the middle to start an eighth-inning double play.

"This is new to him," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Tanaka, who excelled for the Nippon Ham Fighters in the Japanese Pacific League before signing a Minor League contract with the Giants last month. "I'm sure he was a little nervous."

Tanaka's also eager. He brought an outfielder's glove with him to camp, hoping to diversify himself and strengthen his chances of making the team. For now, he'll concentrate on second base and shortstop as he competes for a reserve infield spot.

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