JT is breaking him in:
Special instructor J.T. Snow is excited to see John Bowker in the major leagues, and not just because the 24-year-old outfielder hit home runs in the first two games of his career.
Snow's commute got a whole lot shorter, too.
Giants General Manager Brian Sabean had asked Snow to make a trip to Triple-A Fresno this week, to help teach Bowker the finer points of playing first base. They began that process in earnest Monday, with Snow standing watch as Bowker took groundballs.
Snow liked Bowker's hands, his footwork and the way he snapped short throws to second base. "You can usually tell after a few groundballs if a guy has some athletic ability," Snow said.
"He didn't let any go between his legs," Snow said.
Daniel Ortmeier might have gotten an entire spring to practice at first base, but Bowker is taking the crash course. The Giants are desperate for a left-handed bat at the position now that Ortmeier has abandoned switch-hitting to focus on the right side.
Bowker said he played first base at Rio Americano High School in Sacramento and has taken groundballs in instructional league play. He doesn't have any game experience as a pro, unless you count a half-dozen minor league scrimmages at the end of camp this spring.
"I don't know if it's natural for me, but I can handle it," he said.
• Injured shortstop Omar Vizquel took groundballs and tried jogging on his sore left knee, but pulled the plug aftera few minutes. He was scheduled to be re-examined by a doctor Monday night.
When he returns, Vizquel acknowledged that he probably will not have the same range.
"It will be hard to be the same as I was last year, for sure," the 11-time Gold Glove winner said. "With that brace, I don't think you can move the same way. You'll probably be limited or restrained."
Trainer Dave Groeschner said Vizquel might be overly pessimistic. "Clearly he's frustrated by this, and I can't blame him," Groeschner said. "But I think he'll work out of this. I think you will see the same guy. It's hard for him to envision that, the way he's feeling right now."
Some scouts believe Vizquel lost a step last season, especially to his right, but that Pedro Feliz's exceptional defense at third base helped to obscure the issue.
Vizquel was clear on one matter: shortstop is his only position. "I don't have any business at second base."
• With his banner game Sunday, Bowker became the first Giants player to drive in at least four runs in a game before his 25th birthday since Jay Canizaro on Aug. 21. 1996, according to the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat. The Giants had seven RBIs by players younger than 25 Sunday, the most in a game since Will Clark drove in seven runs all by himself on June 22, 1988.