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Sanchez delivers defensive gems at first base

Sanchez delivers defensive gems at first base

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Backup catcher Hector Sanchez demonstrated his dexterity and versatility Wednesday by making three slick plays at first base, a position he has rarely manned.

Sanchez, who recently has taken ground balls at first base during workouts, turned the third inning of the Giants' 4-3 win over the White Sox into his personal showcase. He deftly speared Alejandro De Aza's one-hop smash and perfectly fed right-hander Tim Lincecum, who was covering the bag. Sanchez then recorded the next out by artfully scooping third baseman Pablo Sandoval's throw out of the dirt following Tyler Flowers' grounder.

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Replacing Brandon Belt, the ill regular (flu), Sanchez completed his Gold Glove bid by backhanding Conor Gillaspie's sharp one-hopper for the first out in the fifth inning.

"I tell you guys, it's a piece of cake," Sanchez said with mock nonchalance.

Manager Bruce Bochy indicated that Sanchez's appearance at first base wasn't just an experiment, though he has played only one game there professionally since 2009. Sanchez could return there if Bochy needed his switch-hitting skill or if Belt were again unavailable.

"It gives us a nice option, if we want to get him in a game and we want Buster behind the plate," Bochy said of Sanchez. "He's earned another look over there, I'll say that."

Bochy cited Posey, utilityman Joaquin Arias and left fielder Michael Morse as other potential fill-in first basemen. Among this group, Morse has the most extensive experience at first base.

"It would be like riding a bike for him," Bochy said.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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