SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — In baseball, it’s great to be known as a terrific defensive outfielder.
It’s not so great, though, to be known as a fourth outfielder.
So this is the year for Nate Schierholtz to break through.
Schierholtz, after years of serving as a reserve — he was a key defensive backup in the drive to the World Series in 2010 — is set to start in right field.
“It’s more than exciting for me,” said Schierholtz, who played his high school ball in Danville.
Schierholtz went 1-for-2 with a walk Wednesday, when the Giants rallied from 5-1 down to beat the Colorado Rockies 8-6. This came a day after collecting two hits against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Wednesday’s game was notable in that the Rockies lit up Tim Lincecum for five runs and seven hits in two innings.
He allowed a solo homer to open the game by Charlie Blackmon. Lincecum failed to strike out a batter.
Schierholtz, though, is starting fast in the spring, a follow-up to a productive 2011 in which he hit .278 in 115 games.
“Last year was really the year when I felt like I learned the game, learned how to slow the game down. I was able to concentrate, relax and get some big hits,” he said.
“The more I was able to play last year, the more comfortable I got, the more I was able to show that I can help the team win.”
Excelling at defense is great, as long as it doesn’t typecast him as a perennial fourth outfielder.
“Exactly,” Schierholtz said. “I’ve worked hard on the offensive side. ... Now it’s time for me to show I can produce day in and day out, show I belong in right field every day.”
The major quality Schierholtz needs to demonstrate is durability.
He was banged up in 2010, then was healthy last year until he was sidelined in September by a broken right foot.
“For me, the biggest thing is to stay healthy so I can get the at bats I need and show I can produce over a season,” he said. “I feel I’m exactly where I want to be right now. “I’m feeling good, confident and excited to start the season.”
As for Lincecum, the Giants’ ace indicated no concern about his start.
“I felt fine,” said Lincecum, who usually works on his fastball and change-up early in the spring, along with his arm speed and release point.
“I felt my rhythm was good. ... It was just a matter of them hitting it.
“My intent was to mix in a couple of breaking balls, but really just throw the fastball a lot regardless of the result. Outside of the result, everything was good.”
Manager Bruce Bochy, though, said, “He was off. That’s obvious. The fastball was up the first inning. That’s why we’re here in spring training.”
NOTES: Willie Mays visited the Giants’ clubhouse Wednesday. ... Buster Posey may make his spring debut by catching a couple of innings Friday vs. Cincinnati in Scottsdale. “There’s a good chance,” Bochy said. ... Freddy Sanchez, who is coming back from a shoulder injury, took his first live batting practice and reported no problems. He indicated there is no timetable for him to play the field, but he could serve as a DH by Friday or Saturday. ... Brian Wilson threw batting practice; he judged the session went well. Wilson said he threw 25 pitches in a simulated-game setting.