San Francisco Giants’ cuts bring roster battles into focus

Kensuke Tanaka survived Friday's roster cuts, but the Japanese veteran is not expected to make the Giants' opening day roster.

Kensuke Tanaka survived Friday’s roster cuts, but the Japanese veteran is not expected to make the Giants’ opening day roster.

When the Giants opened spring training, they did so with three open jobs on its 25-man roster: a reserve outfielder, a reserve infielder and a spot in the bullpen.

Now because of injuries, there may be one or two more open spots.

With Friday’s cut of 21 players from big-league camp, there are 38 players on the Giants’ active spring roster. But two of those players — Eric Surkamp and Brett Pill — are destined to open the season on the DL, so that leaves 36 players for 25 spots on the opening day roster.

Left-handed reliever Jose Mijares has not pitched since late February with an elbow impingement. Mijares threw off flat ground with no issues on Monday, then left for home in Venezuela on a personal matter. He was supposed to be back in camp Friday. But with opening day just a little more than two weeks away, time may be running short on Mijares being ready.

So here is the breakdown on who is left in camp and the battles for the last roster spots.

Relief pitchers

Contenders: RH Chad Gaudin, RH Scott Proctor, RH Ramon Ramirez, RH Jean Machi, RH Dan Runzler, RH Yusmeiro Petit.
Injured: LH Jose Mijares, LH Eric Surkamp.

Reassigned to minor league camp: RH Brett Bochy, RH Boof Bonser, RH Steve Edlefsen, RH Heath Hembree, LH Mike Kickham, RH Mitch Lively, RH Shane LouxOptioned to Triple-A Fresno: RH Jake Dunning, RH Chris Heston, RH Dan Otero, RH Sandy RosarioOptioned to Class A San Jose: LH Edwin Esccbar.

Outlook: There was one open spot in the bullpen when camp opened, with the Giants looking more for a quality long man/spot starter. Right now, Gaudin is the clear favorite to secure that spot. The Giants really like the way Runzler has been throwing, so that may allow them to be conservative with Mijares. Petit is out of options, so he would have to clear waivers before being sent to Fresno.

Infielders

Contenders: Wilson Valdez, Kensuke Tanaka, Tony Abreu.

Injured: 1B Brett Pill.

Reassigned to minor league camp: 1B Ricky Oropesa, 3B Adam Duvall, 2B Brock Bond. Optioned to Triple-A Fresno: SS Ehire Adrianza, 2B Nick Noonan.

Outlook: The job appears to be Valdez’s by default in the most lackluster job battle of the spring. Tanaka, a solid defender in Japan, has struggled with the glove this spring, as he has been getting looks on the left side of the infield. And an injury has limited Abreu’s appearances in games. Both of them remain in camp so the Giants could get a longer look, especially Abreu who is out of options. This is a position the Giants could end up filling by acquiring some players on the waiver wire later this spring.

Outfield

Contenders: Cole Gillespie, Francisco Peguero

Reassigned to minor league camp: OF Gary BrownOptioned to Triple-A Fresno: OF Juan Perez, OF Roger Kieschnick

Outlook: Peguero, who is hitting .424 this spring, has emerged as the front-runner over Gillespie. To hear GM Brian Sabaen talk, it’s between Peguero and going with another utility player. And as Valdez, Tanaka and Abreu have not impressed, that gives a big nod to Peguero.

Catchers

Injured: Hector Sanchez

Contenders: Johnny Monell, Guillermo Quiroz, Jackson Williams.

Reassigned to minor league camp: Tyler La Torre.

Outlook: The pain in Sanchez’s shoulder is causing him concern. The Giants hope that with a few days rest and treatment, it will calm down. If not, the Giants will have to consider options. Quiroz has the most experience and is the most dependable defender of three contenders. So he has the nod. Williams lacks experience, and Monell’s hot bat (9 for 15) is keeping him in camp so the Giants can see him catch more.

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