Royals 7, Giants 4

The defending champion San Francisco Giants head back to the Bay

Area with some uncertainty in their roster.

Jonathan Sanchez and a Giants’ team made of mostly minor

leaguers lost to the Kansas City Royals 7-4 Sunday.

Manager Bruce Bochy, though, was thinking about opening day.

”We’ve not finalized the team, yet,” Bochy said. ”We’ll go to

San Francisco and play a couple of games there. That’s how close it

is.”

With injuries to closer Brian Wilson and outfielder Cody Ross

leaves two big holes in the lineup.

Ross’ injury – a torn calf that will keep him out three weeks –

could open up a spot for first baseman Brandon Belt, who hit .352

with 23 home runs and 112 RBIs last year in three minor league

stops in his first professional season. He is hitting .292 with

three home runs, five doubles and 13 RBIs in 26 spring training

games, but played only 13 games above Double-A last year.

”I like what I see from him on both sides of the ball,” Bochy

said. ”He’s done a great job at first. He’s gives you quality

at-bats, good balance up there, good discipline at the plate. You

can see why this kid had a good year last year.

He said the injury to Ross ”does make it easier maybe a little

bit” more to keep Belt.

”We lost a pretty good bat in Cody Ross,” Bochy said. ”That

will come into play when we do make our decisions. It gives us

another left-handed bat in the lineup if he’s on the club. We do

have some other options.”

Wilson, out with a strained side muscle, played catch for the

second straight day. Bochy said Wilson would remain in Arizona,

where the weather is better and the Giants can control how they use

him on the mound better in extended spring minor league games.

”Depending on Wilson, we’re still looking at the last spot,

maybe two in the bullpen,” Bochy said.

Sanchez, who will be the Giants No. 2 starter behind Tim

Lincecum, gave up five runs – four earned – on six hits and a walk,

while striking out four. One hit was a three-run homer to Wilson

Betemit in the fourth.

”I made one bad pitch, the home run, that was it,” Sanchez

said. ”Everything else was good. I was down in the zone. My

breaking pitch was good. The split was working.”

Royals left-hander Jeff Francis yielded one run on six hits in

five innings, while striking out six and walking none.

”Francis threw the ball really, really good,” Royals manager

Ned Yost said. ”He kept the ball down, changed speeds, commanded

the baseball. He’s ready to go.”

Alex Gordon hit a two-run homer off Giants reliever Ramon

Ramirez in the eighth. Gordon is hitting .365 with five home runs

and 22 RBIs.

”He’s been as good as we hoped he could be this spring,” Yost

said. ”He’s been very impressive, very encouraging and (I’m)

excited to see what he can do during the year”

NOTES: Royals CF Melky Cabrera had two doubles and raised his

Catcus League-leading average to .474. The Royals made two roster

moves, optioning OF Lorenzo Cain to Triple-A Omaha and returning

Rule 5 draft pick LHP Robert Fish to the Los Angeles Angels.