SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Giants first baseman Jerry Sands singled through the left side of the infield to drive home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning against Cubs bullpen hopeful Randy Rosario to beat the Cubs 4-3 Thursday night in their Cactus League game.
Rosario already faced an uphill battle to catch right-hander Eddie Butler for what’s likely the final bullpen job.
Jose Quintana finished his spring buildup toward the regular season, grinding out six innings and navigating enough traffic to give up just three runs (on a two-out, three-run homer by Buster Posey in the third).
Quintana, who struck out five and walked two, has a scaled-back tuneup scheduled for Tuesday in Fort Myers, Fla., against the Red Sox, before making his season debut April 2 in Miami.
“I feel really good, and I’m ready to start the season,” said Quintana, who pitched to his starting catcher, Willson Contreras for the first time this spring. “I hugged him before the game and said, `I miss you, buddy.’ “
Contreras continued his hot hitting with two more hits, including a double, and a walk – scoring in the first inning on a two-out wild pitch.
He’s 12-for-33 (.364) with seven extra-base hits (.818 slugging) and three walks (.417 on-base percentage) this spring.
Enough time for Strop?
Setup man Pedro Strop pitched his second inning of the spring – first in a big-league game – after being slowed this spring by a calf injury.
He got two popups and a strikeout in the 1-2-3 seventh and afterward said he’d be ready to open the season on time.
“I don’t know what [team officials] think right now. I do know thy had a little concern about how many outings I would get,” said Strop said, who pitches again either Saturday or Sunday.
“I’m just going to prove what I said: I feel good.”
Kyle Hendricks, who threw a lengthy simulated game Tuesday when he skipped a scheduled start because of strep throat, was better by Thursday.
And manager Joe Maddon said he remains on schedule to make his final exhibition start, Sunday against the Royals.
Opening-day starter Jon Lester has been scheduled to throw his final spring tuneup in a minor-league game Saturday afternoon rather than pitch in one of the Cubs’ split-squad night games Saturday.
Lefty long reliever Mike Montgomery is scheduled to start for the Cubs in Saturday night’s home game against Colorado; Butler is scheduled for the road half against the Mariners in Peoria, Ariz.
On deck: Brewers at Cubs, Mesa, Ariz., Brandon Woodruff vs. Tyler Chatwood, 3:05 p.m. Friday, 670-AM.
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