Early returns on battles for jobs on Giants’ roster

One week is gone in spring training, so we have a small sample of statistics to compare players competing for jobs in the lineup and on the roster.

There are still almost four weeks worth of spring training games, and right now a 3-for-4 day or an 0-for-4 day can quickly swing a slumping player into a hot player and vice-versa.

But these numbers at least provide a starting point for comparisons.

FIRST BASE

Aubrey Huff — .214 (3 for 14), 1 HR, 1 RBI, .313 OBP
Brandon Belt — .389 (7 for 18), 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2B, .389 OBP
Brett Pill — .350 (7 for 20), 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 2B, 3B, .364 OBP

Huff is guaranteed a spot on the roster, and the Giants likely will only keep either Belt or Pill. Both players have minor-league options. Pill would give the Giants another right-handed bat. All three can also play in the outfield.

BACKUP CATCHER

Eli Whiteside — .375 (3 for 8), 0 HR, 2 RBI, .444 OBP
Chris Stewart — .273 (3 for 11) 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2 2B, .273 OBP
Hector Sanchez — .444 (4 for 9), 1 HR, 4 RBI, .400 OBP

Whiteside has the inside track so far. The Giants liked Stewart’s defensive ability last season, but Whiteside has shown that his elbow problems that slowed him last year are a thing of the past. There has been talk of the Giants keeping three catchers to take pressure off Buster Posey. But that’s doubtful, at least to open the season, leaving Sanchez a long shot to make the club.

BENCH SPOTS

IF-OF Emmanuel Burriss — .500 (6 for 12), 4 2B, 1 RBI, .538 OBP

IF Mike Fontenot — .500 (4 for 8), 2 2B, 1 RBI, .600 OBP

IF Ryan Theriot — .167 (2 for 12), 2 runs, 1 RBI, .231 OBP

OF Gregor Blanco — .429 (6 for 14) 5 runs, 2 RBI, 4 SBs, .500 OBP

There likely will only be room for three of these four players on the roster. More if Freddy Sanchez is unable to open the season healthy. Even though he has a non-guaranteed contract, Ryan Theriot is coveted by Giants management for his veteran presence and right-handed bat, setting up a right-left platoon with Brandon Crawford. Crawford has struggled against left-handed pitching. But if non-roster invitee Blanco keeps hitting and Theriot does not, it may force the issue for the Giants. Blanco provides speed and is a true reserve outfielder. If Blanco doesn’t make the team, the Giants’ backup outfielders are likely to be converted infielders Huff, Belt, Pill and/or Burriss.

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