SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy was as stunned as anyone to learn that Junior Seau, the former star National Football League linebacker, passed away on Wednesday in an apparent suicide.

Before joining the Giants in 2007, Bochy managed the San Diego Padres for 12 seasons, and still lives in the San Diego area. As a result, he frequently crossed paths with Seau at charity functions and similar events.

"He always dropped 'Coach' on me. He had that football lingo," Bochy recalled with amusement.

But, Bochy added, "It's sad. It's hard to believe this happened. I know he's one of those guys who always seems in a great mood. When he walks in a room, he lights it up. But you never know what demons people have."

Crawford doubling his pleasure thus far

SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Crawford's .208 batting average entering Wednesday might suggest that he lacks extra-base pop. Yet Crawford, the Giants' primary shortstop, had a team-high seven doubles, which tied him for seventh in the National League with six other players.

"I'm hitting the left-center gap pretty well this year," Crawford said. "I've never been a pull hitter. If I'm reacting to the [inside pitch] well and still hit the ball the opposite way, then I know my swing's there."

Don't scoff at Crawford's confidence, despite his low batting average. He has hit into a disproportionate number of line-drive outs.

"I've hit balls well this year that haven't found the outfield grass," Crawford said. Once Crawford's luck changes, his statistics are bound to diversify. "All my hits won't be doubles," he said.

Blanco may soon see more playing time

SAN FRANCISCO -- Gregor Blanco received his fourth start of the season on Wednesday night. He might not have to wait much longer for his fifth.

Hoping that a certain player or a combination of Giants can stimulate the offense, Bochy placed Blanco in right field and in the leadoff spot for the second game of the series against the Miami Marlins. Blanco, the Spring Training sensation who began the game hitting .217, helped his cause by lining a pinch-hit double in Tuesday night's eighth inning.

"I'd like to get him some at-bats and see what we can do," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who observed that Blanco's presence atop the batting order "lengthened" the rest of the order, even with Buster Posey receiving a rest. Pablo Sandoval, who batted third in San Francisco's first 23 games, occupied the cleanup spot, preceded by the fleet trio of Blanco, Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera.

"When you're struggling, the one thing that shows up every night is speed," Bochy said.

Blanco's presence forced right fielder Nate Schierholtz to the bench. Schierholtz earned playing time by going 6-for-10 in the April 23 doubleheader at New York. Since then, he's 1-for-21 in seven games, dropping his batting average from .372 to .266.

"It's fair to say that Nate, since New York, is trying to find his swing," Bochy said.

Sanchez not likely to be ready on schedule

SAN FRANCISCO -- By now, it's beyond obvious that Freddy Sanchez won't be ready to rejoin the Giants on May 11, the date they earmarked last week when the second baseman began an injury rehabilitation assignment with Class A San Jose.

A recent recurrence of Sanchez's right shoulder discomfort forced the Giants to withdraw him from his rehab stint for five days. Sanchez played catch on Wednesday, but manager Bruce Bochy noted that he was throwing from a 90-foot distance. That doesn't equate to the arm strength he'd need. Sanchez, who hurt himself last June 10, would need more force on his throws to be able to play the position adequately.

Meanwhile, Bochy started his third second baseman in four games, installing Joaquin Arias at that spot. Arias, who made his previous three starts at shortstop, actually has played more second base as a Major Leaguer than any other position. In his 117 previous games with the Rangers, Mets and Giants, Arias has appeared at second base in 70 of them.