SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Kensuke Tanaka flashed a smile when asked how happy he was to get a hit Thursday against Japan's World Baseball Classic squad.
Tanaka wasn't as happy when asked about the seven errors he made so far in spring training -- his latest in the Giants' 6-3 loss to the Japanese WBC team -- which is nearly half of the club's total of 15.
Tanaka, 31, hopes to make the team as its primary utility infielder, a heady challenge considering he was primarily a second baseman during his 13 seasons playing in Japan for the Nippon Ham Fighters.
He played shortstop Thursday, his fourth game at that position this spring, and made a throwing error in Japan's three-run third inning. He's played nine games at second base and two at third. He hasn't looked very comfortable at any position he's played.
"I've played second base most of the time, so I'm not quite sure how strong to throw the ball (at other positions) to get an out," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "I'm still working on that. I need to gain more experience and polish up."
Of his high error total, he added, "I hope to learn off the errors and work on it so I don't make those kinds of errors again."
Manager Bruce Bochy understands Tanaka is making a tough transition playing multiple positions and also playing on natural grass. Most infields in Japan are artificial turf.
"Obviously, we're hoping to see improvement there, particularly with the throwing," Bochy said. "I know it's at adjustment playing third and short, they're all different throws. He's got a lot on his plate right now and we've thrown a lot at him. But from this point on, we're hoping he gets more comfortable and it gets better all-around with the defense."
Tanaka didn't have a judgment on whether he's made enough of an impression to make the team. He's hitting just .250 -- 10 for 40.
"That's not for me to decide," he said. "I'll do what I'm told to do and I hope to do that well."
Asked to assess the Japanese team that has advanced to the WBC semifinals, he was impressed.
"They've been playing a lot of detailed baseball," he said. "If they continue to do that, I think they will be successful."
"They played well, they swung the bats, pitched well. They certainly outplayed us," Bochy said. "We didn't get many good swings off, that's what disappointed me. We were a little passive."