The Giants made nine roster moves Friday, just about setting their opening day roster.
Players optioned to the minors on Friday were pitchers Alex Hinshaw, Kevin Pucetas and Henry Sosa, catcher Buster Posey, infielders Ryan Rohlinger and Matt Downs. All of these players were sent to Triple-A Fresno. The Giants also reassigned non-roster invitees P Felix Romero, SS Brandon Crawford and C Steve Holm to the minors.
That cut the roster to 29 players, but that includes three players expected to open the season on the DL — 2B Freddy Sanchez, IF Emmanuel Burriss and OF Fred Lewis.
The decision on the final roster spot is between pitchers Guillermo Mota and Denny Bautista.
Beyond that, he’s the opening day roster
The San Francisco Giants arrived home from Arizona on Thursday. However, their bats didn’t arrive until the seventh inning on Friday.
After failing to score in the first 15 innings of their series against the Bay Area rivals, the Giants pushed across single runs in the seventh and eighth inning to beat Oakland 2-1 on Friday night.
Matt Cain had another stellar spring outing, giving up one run on three hits over six innings of work. He’ll start Wednesday at Houston in the third game of the season.
The Giants’ offense came alive, as it were, in the seventh inning when they actually manufactured a run. Bengie Molina had a two-out single to right. Eugenio Velez replaced him as a pinch-runner and stole second. Velez scored on Juan Uribe’s double down the left-field line.
In the eighth, John Bowker got things started with a lead-off walk. Bowker worked an 0-2 count into a walk — can we give him the starting RF job on the merit of THAT alone?!?
Ryan Rohlinger sacrificed Bowker to second, and Bowker came home to score on a single by Aaron Rowand.
Three pitchers — Denny Bautista, Guillermo Mota and Waldis Joaquin — pitched three shutout innings. Joaquin was particularly solid, setting down the A’s in order in the ninth for the save.
Jonathan Sanchez will take the hill for the Giants in the series finale at 1:05 p.m. Saturday in Oakland.
At first glance, Barry Zito’s outing Thursday looked like another hair-pulling, aggravating Zito-esque outing — five runs on seven hits on 74 pitches over three innings.
But there are two things to remember: One, it’s still preseason, so it doesn’t count; Two, Zito was very close to giving up just one run on Thursday.
That’s kind of Zito’s M.O. — he walks along a fine line between quality start and implosion.
Let’s take a close look at Zito’s three innings on Thursday.
In the first inning, things started out well enough, as Zito set down the first two batters he faced. But things began to go bad the way they usually do with Zito, with a two-out walk. Kevin Kouzmanoff followed with an RBI double off the right field wall. But then it looked like Zito would get out of the inning after going 0-2 on Kurt Suzuki. Suzuki turned on a Zito fastball, and ripped it foul down the left-field line. Zito tried to come inside again off the plate, presumably to set up a 1-2 curveball. But it caught too much of the plate and Suzuki yanked it out for a 3-0 lead.
Zito set down the side in order in the second.
Zito gave up two more runs in the third, but the first run was on Zito and the second should have been charged to manager Bruce Bochy.
Coco Crisp led off with a double to left. Zito tried to pick him off second (why???) and threw it away, sending Crisp to third.
Then Bochy decided it best to play the infield in with a runner on third and no one out. The brilliant strategy allowed Rajai Davis to reach on a bloop single that would have been caught by 2B Juan Uribe if he were playing at his normal position.
Davis then stole second and took third on the first out of the inning. With a runner on third and one out, Bochy again played the infield in and Kevin Kouzmanoff singled to left on a ground ball that would have a ground out to short if the infield were playing back.
The A’s got two more hits in the inning on balls that were not hit out of the infield before Zito escaped with no more damage.
So basically in the third, Zito gave up a clean double to Crisp and four singles on balls that all should have been outs.
LEWIS DL-BOUND? Fred Lewis appears headed for the DL to start the season with a rib injury that his limiting to little more than running work.
Lewis hit off a tee Thursday and reported he’ll need more time to get ready to play.
Bochy said the Giants wouldn’t push Lewis and would know more on his status in a couple of days.
Well, we’d hope so since the Giants face at 6 p.m. deadline Saturday to set their 25-man roster for the 2010 season.
Lewis said the injury is keeping him from taking full hacks at the ball, which isn’t a lot different from when he’s healthy.
And speaking of Lewis, check out this blog post by Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle on Lewis and his OBP. There’s been a lot of chatter about how the Giants must keep and play Lewis because his OBP was about 100 points higher than his batting average.
We think Giant fans are just starved for ANYONE in the lineup who can show some plate discipline. But, as Schulman shows, Lewis gets his high walk total by striking out WAY TO MUCH (particularly on called third strikes), not to mention his struggles in the field. Great post Hank.
SANCHEZ DELAYED: Bochy said that 2B Freddy Sanchez won’t be ready to begin a minor-league rehab assignment for another 3-4 weeks. That effectively takes Sanchez out of the Giants lineup until May at the earliest. Ugh.
Good thing we’ve got Juan Uribe.
You know, More Splash Hits, often sits around with bags of ice on his various aches and pains. You think maybe Brian Sabean would be willing to give us a few million to do that?
Barry Zito called Thursday’s outing against the Oakland A’s a throw away game. And that’s a good idea. Because there wasn’t much worth keeping.
The A’s jumped on Zito from three runs in the first inning and strolled to a 9-0 win in the opener of a three-game series.
“My timing was off tonight,” Zito said. “Just the timing and the delivery, a couple of things I’m going to clean up before the next start.”
Good idea, because he’s next start his Tuesday in the second game of the regular season in Houston.
Zito needed 74 pitches to get through three innings of work. He gave up five runs on seven hits and walked one. He had four strikeouts.
It wasn’t a good night for the Giants offense, who managed just five singles off four A’s pitchers — one single each by Travis Ishikawa, Edgar Renteria, Pablo Sandoval, Juan Uribe and John Bowker.
Kevin Pucetas, who had been in the mix for the No. 5 starter spot, came in relief of Zito and didn’t fare much better, giving up three runs in 1 2/3 innings of work.
If you were looking for good news, there were scoreless innings of work in relief by Brandon Medders, Jeremy Affeldt and Dan Runzler.
Matt Cain will go to the mound as the series continues at 7:05 p.m. Friday. MLB Network will carry the game again.
The Giants ended spring training in Arizona on as high a note that you can — with a win over the hated Dodgers and a solid outing from ace Tim Lincecum.
Lincecum pitched in a minor league game against the A’s Double-A players. He threw 97 pitches, giving up no runs on five singles and four walks in six innings. He also struck out eight. He hit 95 mph on the radar gun.
“I felt like I had the right stuff,” Lincecum told the San Jose Mercury News. “The breaking balls, both of them, were good. Change-up was good. Fastballs feel like their getting life on it. I feel ready for the season.”
It’s a good sign for Giants fans, who had seen stellar outings from Cain, Zito, Sanchez and Wellemeyer, and not Lincecum. But, by all accounts, he looked ready to go next Monday in Houston.
In the game against the Dodgers, Eugenio Velez was 3 for 5 with a triple, run, RBI and stolen base. Juan Uribe hit a home run.
The Giants broke camp with 38 players still on the roster. That number must be reduced to 25 by Monday. Barry Zito takes the mound as the Giants return home to San Francisco to open a three-game series with the A’s. Game time is 7:05 p.m. and it’s on MLB Network. Friday night’s game, which is expected to feature Matt Cain on the hill, also will be on MLB Network.