The San Francisco Giants announced their 25-man roster Sunday afternoon, and it’s nicked with a few welcome surprises.
The front office was in a pickle over the vacant infield bench spot. It’s a tough call: Keep the player out of minor league options who’s had an average Spring —Ehire Adrianza — or the newcomer who’s excelled, in Matt Duffy.
Merit won over circumstance. Duffy landed the infield bench spot after hitting a team-leading .361 this Spring. Duffy tallied 15 RBIs on 22 hits, landing him the Barney Nugent Award for best exemplifying the “Giants spirit” in his Spring debut, an award voted on by his teammates and coaches.
The move forced the Giants to designate Adrianza for assignment. The second baseman had a quiet Spring and could very well be picked up by another team.
The Giants roster holds a whopping 13 pitchers — most teams keep 12, at most — probably to create some breathing room for struggling starters like Jake Peavy.
The righty started Thursday’s exhibition game against the A’s and flopped. In 3-1/3 innings, he allowed six runs on seven hits. Per Hank Schulman, Peavy has been dealing with “dead arm” all Spring, and needs time to bounce back.
Enter your sixth-starter Ryan Vogelsong (6.45 ERA, 1.25 WHIP). New Giants GM Bobby Evans told MLB Network Radio that Vogey should start game two of San Francisco’s 14-consecutive-game start to the season. Peavy could make his regular season debut in pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
Also, Matt Cain is officially back. After a long recovery after getting bone chips removed from his throwing arm in August, the 30-year-old righty has his comeback shoes on. He tossed 79 pitches in four scoreless innings on Friday against the A’s.
The Horse is back, though expect manager Bruce Bochy to keep a close eye on his pitch count.
The Giants are using a six-man starting rotation to begin the season that should slim down to five once the Spring dust settles and an outlook on how Peavy will perform becomes more clear.
One projected five-man rotation: Bumgarner, Cain, Hudson, Lincecum, Vogelsong. Peavy’s arm just seems to be out of whack.
It’s been a rough offseason for the Giants: They finished second-to-last in the Cactus League, just behind Texas. Hunter Pence broke a bone, Travis Ishikawa took a late trip to the DL. The offense has looked tepid behind a few strong performances.
If anything, the starting rotation packs a solid punch and a half; Madison ‘Big Country’ Bumgarner firmly holds down the one spot. The other half could come into form once Cain is able to dish more than 80 pitches. The rotation that follows is shrouded in doubt.
Can Tim Hudson deliver in his final year? He’s boasting a 3.32 ERA this spring, a stat made better by his scoreless five-inning outing on Saturday.
Can Tim Lincecum’s pitches reach Freak-like velocity again? Will Vogelsong earn a spot beyond long reliever?
Starting Monday, your 2014 World Series Champions are back in the saddle, and we can start to answer these questions. They take on the Diamondbacks starting at 7:15 p.m. in Arizona.
Giants opening day roster
Pitchers: LHP Madison Bumgarner, RHP Jake Peavy, RHP Matt Cain, RHP Tim Hudson, RHP Tim Lincecum, RHP Ryan Vogelsong, RHP Yusmeiro Petit, RHP George Kontos, RHP Jean Machi, LHP Javier Lopez, LHP Jeremy Affeldt, RHP Sergio Romo, RHP Santiago Casilla.
Positions: C Buster Posey, C Hector Sanchez, 1B Brandon Belt, 2B Joe Panik, SS Brandon Crawford, 3B Casey McGehee, INF Matt Duffy, INF Joaquin Arias, OF Angel Pagan, OF Nori Aoki, OF Gregor Blanco, OF Justin Maxwell.