San Francisco Giants recent roster decisions, and what they could mean

The Giants have been busy with roster moves, and moves they didn’t make, this past week. And each move — or non-move — can provide some inside about what the Giants are thinking.

Move: Signing Brad Penny

Penny, who spent part of the 2009 season with the Giants, signed with the Giants on Friday. Penny signed with the Softbank Hawks of Japan’s Pacific League for $4 million in the offseason. But it became clear he didn’t want to pitch there and was granted his release earlier this month.

The Giants signed him for the league mininum with the intent of using him as a long reliever and not simply as starter insurance in Fresno.

Penny reported to extended spring training in Arizona and hopes to soon join Fresno. The Giants hope to get Penny on the big-league roster by the end of the month.

So what does the move mean?

  1. It means that Guillermo Mota’s appeal of a 100-game suspension has little chance of succeeding. Hard to believe, given Mota’s “children’s cough medicine” alibi.
  2. It also means that the Giants are not confident going with Triple-A callups Shane Loux and Steve Edlefsen for the long haul in the bullpen.
  3. There’s also some concern with Eric Surkamp’s recovering from an elbow problem that landed him on the DL in spring traiing. Surkamp was viewed in the spring as the first line of defense in the rotation should there be an injury or poor performance.

Non-move: Not signing Orlando Hudson

When the Padres gave the O-Dog his release last week, talking heads are baseball said the Giants might be a good fit. Instead, the Giants passed on Hudson, who later signed with the White Sox.

What does that mean?

  1. The Giants are committed to sticking with Ryan Theriot at second base. Theriot went on the DL on May 11 with an inflamed elbow, although we had our doubts about the injury. There may have been some issue with the elbow, but we think it’s more likely that the Giants wanted to give Theriot time to work on things, given his .179 average in 20 games. Evidence to this is the fact that Theriot is expected to activated Thursday, the first day he’s eligible to come off the DL.
  2. It could also mean the Giants are confident in Pablo Sandoval making a quick return. Sandoval took 25 swings off a tee Wednesday and reported no pain. Giants announce Dave Flemming said Tuesday that Sandoval could be back with the Giants within two weeks. If the Panda is back by early June, the Giants could keep Joaquin Arias with the big club. The Giants like what Arias has brought to the club, both with his bat and glove.
  3. If the above two notes are true, it could mean the end of Emmanuel Burriss’ stay with the Giants. CSNBayArea’s Andrew Baggarly hinted Tuesday that Burriss could be the out man out when Theriot is activated. But MoreSplashHits still believes the Giants will send Charlie Culberson back to Fresno, as he hasn’t played much in the past few days. But when Sandoval returns, the Giants may decide their better off with Arias than with Burriss. Arias has the ability to play all infield positions.
  4. And it can also mean the Giants remain confident of Freddy Sanchez making a return this season. We haven’t heard much from Sanchez since he received an epidural for his sore back early last week. And with Sanchez, the silence is deafening. Sanchez is expected to restart baseball activity soon. But until he does and until he restarts his minor league rehab assignment AND plays some at second base, you can’t count on anything from Sanchez.

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