Pat Burrell looks like SF Giants left fielder

Manager Bruce Bochy confirmed what he was not prepared to say when spring training began, that Pat Burrell is in line to be the Opening Day left fielder.

"Yeah, I'd say that's the way it looks," Bochy said before Burrell started in left against the Royals at Surprise Stadium on Friday night.

The Giants will have a bargain in left field. Burrell re-signed for $1 million, less than even a backup with his experience would earn, because he wanted to stay in the Bay Area, close to his roots. Now, in his 12th big-league season at age 34, Burrell will have the honor of playing on Opening Day for the team he cheered as a lad.

"It will be great," Burrell said. Looking ahead to the home opener April 8, he added, "My family will be there. All of them will be excited about Opening Day and the ring ceremony. It will just be a great experience for all of us. Everybody is just so excited about us getting back into town. The Giants craze is still pretty big."

As spring training began, Bochy considered left field a competitive spot. Burrell really won the job by default, and by virtue of his stature. The most likely alternatives were Mark DeRosa and Aubrey Huff. But DeRosa has gotten most of his time on the infield, and Huff would have played left only if Brandon Belt was the first baseman, or if DeRosa played third base and Pablo Sandoval moved to first.

Sandoval is staying at third, and Huff either will stay at first base or play right field for the injured Cody Ross.

Burrell by far has played more innings in left than anyone else this spring while struggling at the plate, batting .222 with three extra-base hits. He has adjusted his stance to stand more upright and said he continues to "tweak it."

"I'm just trying to feel comfortable," he said. "My batting practices are better. I want to transfer it into the game. Hopefully in the next couple of days I'll have better results. You want to get hot right before the season starts. Obviously I'd like to get hits along the way, but in the last five days I just want to have good at-bats and hit the ball hard."

He did so Friday, driving a double off the right-field wall against Vin Mazzaro.

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