SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Imagine me as a stand-in for you. The other day, I met privately with Bruce Bochy and asked basic questions about his team, questions I imagine you would ask. I hope you enjoy.
Cohn: You have lots of guys at the World Baseball Classic — seven major leaguers, one minor leaguer. Does this negatively impact the Giants?
Bochy: I don't think so. I'm all for the WBC and for our guys to represent their countries. We pretty much have the same club we had last year. The part of learning to play as a club, to play together, they know how to do that. I don't think we're going to miss too much. I try to look at the silver lining. It's a chance for younger players to show what they can do.
(Analytical Interruption: Bochy may be right that the WBC will have no negative impact on the Giants. But spring training is a slow-developing phenomenon. It feels like players — Pablo Sandoval, Marco Scutaro, Sergio Romo etc. — were yanked out of recess and told to play at an intense championship level. When the WBC ends, they will relax again. This is an abnormal rhythm. Will it affect the Giants when they make their late-season push? Back to the interview.)
Cohn: Will Brandon Belt be your first baseman?
Bochy: Brandon Belt's my first baseman.
Cohn: You feel he will represent you well?
Bochy: I do. He made progress last year, really got better as the season went on. He played a big role in our success. We need Brandon Belt. He's our first baseman.
Cohn: Marco Scutaro, can he play most days at second base?
Bochy: He'll be out there, I don't want to say how many games, but pretty much every day.
Cohn: Can Brandon Crawford hit enough to carry you at shortstop?
Bochy: Yeah, I think he did last year. If Brandon hits around .250 (he batted .248 in 2012) and drives in some runs, with his defensive ability, that works. I think he's going to hit better than last year.
Cohn: He's an excellent fielder?
Bochy: There's no better defensive shortstop in our league. He showed that the second half. He's very gifted.
Cohn: He remind you of anyone?
Bochy: No, I think because he's a little bigger than most shortstops, he's his own guy.
Cohn: Are you satisfied with Sandoval's weight?
Bochy: Not completely. Pablo knows that. He's done everything we've asked in order to play. He's getting after the conditioning part; he was until he went to the WBC. As he continues out there, we'll try to touch base with him to make sure he is doing his conditioning, doesn't gain any weight. Other than that, he's lost quite a bit of weight since he's been in camp. I feel for him because it's not easy, it's a battle. But, at the same time, you've got to beat it. He just has one of those bodies that it's not going to be easy for him. He's got to come in here and lose weight. I'm sure that's not fun. That's the way it's always going to be with him with his genetics.