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Friday, February 19, 2010

Spring Training Begins

Pitchers and Catchers have officially started their workouts, and the rest of the full-squad's arrival is just a few days away as the first full-squad workout is scheduled for February 23rd.

Unfortunately, there is already in an injury report going as one of the positional players who arrived early, Travis Ishikawa, will be sidelined for up to 3 months with multiple fractures in his foot. Ishikawa was set to back-up Aubrey Huff at first base and provide the Giants with a stellar defensive glove late in close ballgames, but it looks like he'll be unavailable until early June. Ishi's injury could open the door for Jon Bowker or even someone like Brett Pill to make the team for depth at first base. The team did get better news regarding injured second basemen Freddy Sanchez, as he appears to be a little ahead of schedule on his rehab from shoulder surgery in December. Sanchez's rehab was originally diagnosed to keep him out through the beginning of the regular season, but he's now targeting the tail end of spring as a return date and could be ready to start the year with the team after all. With most of the Giants roster set, the key to this spring will be keeping everyone healthy, so I wouldn't push it with Sanchez until he's absolutely ready. I don't want to see this thing nag him all year, and if he has to miss a couple weeks to start the season to be sure he's %100 in order to avoid missing time in the middle of the season, then so be it. They have Juan Uribe and Mark DeRosa who can easily fill in at second without the Giants missing much, at least offensively.

Tim Lincecum, fresh off his newly signed 2-year, $23 million deal had his first workout of the spring on Thursday, even getting up onto a mound and getting off a couple of big curve balls, a pitch he has yet to really employ in his first couple of seasons. Something we tend to forget with Lincecum after he's won consecutive Cy Young Awards, is that he's still a very young pitcher and still has plenty to learn at this level and adding another off-speed pitch to his repertoire is a prime example of that. Bruce Bochy made mention of Lincecum's workout, as he was impressed with the breaking balls the 25 year-old was dealing. Bochy and Dave Righetti also hinted that Madison Bumgarner may not join Lincecum in the Giants rotation to start the regular season. The Giants are only going to need to use a fifth starter in three ballgames in April, and it won't be until early May that they'll actually need to consistently have a fifth starter. Because of the lack of opportunity, they could start Bumgarner down in Fresno in order for him to get 4-5 starts and get into a rhythm in April rather than throw about once every 10 days in the Big Leagues. The Giants have Todd Wellemeyer in camp, and could decide to use him as the fifth starter/long releiver in April while MadBum get's some final seasoning in Fresno, and I don't think that would be a horrible idea.

Buster Posey Watch
: Bruce Bochy also got into Buster Posey's potential role with the Giants on Thursday, saying the 22 year-old catcher would take grounders only at first base when he's not catching this spring. I'm still expecting Buster to start the year in Fresno where he can play everyday, but with Ishikawa out until around mid-season, he could earn himself some extra at-bats and playing time, at least in the spring, by becoming familiar with first base. I think we're going to see Posey in San Francisco before Ishikawa returns and if Huff gets hurt or struggles, Posey could get some significant time there, so I definitely see the logic in having him learn the position.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 6:51 PM, Anonymous bronxbomber4life said…

    So I guess the Ritalin couldn't keep Lincecum from smoking weed.

  • At 11:56 PM, Anonymous Jason Billingsley said…

    And the Lincecum haters surface! I love it! WHatever he's smokin, it's working!


  • At 11:36 AM, Anonymous hitnrun said…

    It is sounding like there could be a problem with Molina's contract incentives if he does not get into enough games, so having Posey be able to play first sounds good to me. Not sure if Huff is the player from 2008, or the one we saw in 2009, so having a backup other than Ishikawa makes sense.

  • At 1:32 PM, Anonymous bronxbomber4life said…

    I'm not a Lincecum hater. As a matter of fact, he's my favorite pitcher from the National League. I was bored, so I thought it would be funny to try and piss off fans from other teams. Call me "Yankee Troll" or whatever, but you can't blame a guy for trying to have fun.

  • At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Jason Billingsley said…

    It's all good Bronx, I was just giving you a hard time in return. Lincecum's stats speak for themselves, and I think he's pretty well liked throughout baseball. Anyway, you guys will probably get him soon enough once he hits free agency in a couple of years!

  • At 6:05 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    Molina knew the situation he was coming back to before he re-signed, but I don't think the money and playing time will be an issue for Bengie if the team is winning and he's playing well. Basically Molina holds the key to his contract situation and incentives, and if he doesn't reach them, it will be because he didn't earn it, not because the Giants wouldn't give him the opportunity.

    As far as back-up first basemen, I'd love to see Brett Pill (.298, 19 hr, 109 RBI in AA in '09) who plays solid defense and could provide a right-handed option at first, get a long look this spring.

  • At 11:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

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  • At 11:48 AM, Blogger obsessivegiantscompulsive said…

    Nice post but you got some things wrong and I had some other opinions:

    * Ishikawa does not have factures, he tore some ligaments that the Giants hope will heal on their own, but if they show no progress by Feb. 26th, then they may make the decision to operate, in which case he would then miss 3 months.

    * With DeRosa able to play 1B, I think that Ishikawa being out would allow the Giants to hold onto another player who is on the bubble and without any more options, like Velez or Lewis. They could also move DeRosa to 3B and Sandoval to 1B late in games to improve defense in the infield, and play someone in LF.

    * Sanchez has remained noncommital about whether he can make the starting day lineup, despite the news that he is one week ahead in his rehab. I agree that they should take their time with him and let him start on the DL to start if necessary. Get him healthy.

    * I would also suggest Frandsen as a potential starter at 2B if need be.

    * Wellemeyer would be an excellent choice to be long-man and 5th starter as that is something he has done before at the major league level, plus allow the Giants to use Bumgarner in AAA first and keep him in starting pitching shape while we evaluate Wellemeyer in the early season. That would also open up another spot to hold onto a player without options like Velez, Lewis, even Torres.

    * The news on Posey is that the Giants view him as the catcher of the future, but want to be able to play him at 1B sometimes on the days where he is getting a rest from catching, so that they can keep his bat in the lineup. That is why he is seeing reps at 1B.

    Ishikawa's injury should not open up more opportunities for Posey to play at 1B, I think the Giants would rather see how Bowker is doing there, plus check out Thomas Neal there as well, and perhaps Brett Pill, though I would focus on Bowker and Neal above Pill.

    Pill did OK in AA, but not impressive enough to warrant much of a look at the major league level yet. He was old for his league and still didn't hit all that well (only .830 OPS).

    And if Huff is injured, I think the Giants would look at moving DeRosa to 1B so that they can play someone else in LF, like Bowker or Lewis, or even perhaps Neal if he continues to mash once he joins the Flying Squirrels. Or maybe even play them at 1B, whichever combo works out to better overall defense.


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