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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Giants Set to Begin Cactus League

The long, baseball-less winter will finally come to an end Wednesday when the Giants face the Seattle Mariners in the first game of their 2010 Cactus League schedule.

The Giants got in some scrimmage time on Monday, as they held a 3-inning intrasquad game that was highlighted by a long John Bowker home run down the right field line and Darren Ford putting on a show with his legs. There weren't any regulars who played in the scrimmage, so Ford got the nod to leadoff for one of the teams and hit a stand-up triple to the left-center field gap, a place in which you rarely see someone get to third on a ball hit, especially standing up and not making it even close. Ford also ran down a gapper in right-center field that took extra bases away from another bright young prospect, Francisco Peguero. Both of these guys have a big spring ahead of them, as Bowker tries to find a role on the big league squad for good and Ford's goal will be to show that he may be worth a look in the leadoff spot with the big club and sooner rather than later. Bowker's year he put up in Fresno in '09 was certainly a showing that got the Giants attention, but he really hasn't been given much of an opportunity at the big league level since his rookie year in '08 when he actually collected 300 at-bats and hit 10 homers for the Giants. Bowker's so intriguing because he does have the power to hit 30 homers a year at this level, but in 2008 and his brief showing last year, he had some holes in his swing that teams had figured out. If he can prove he's fixed his approach, he very well could be the surprise player of the spring and enter the regular season with a prominent role. He's certainly a guy who I will be paying close attention to this spring.

In Wednesday's Cactus League opener, the Giants will trot out their ace Tim Lincecum and probably have him on a pitch count of around 25-30 pitches or 2 innings and then will be followed up by Madison Bumgarner. I'm definitely looking forward to watching how those two do, but I'm more so curious as to how the Giants will play defensively. It's no secret that they don't have the best defense in baseball, and are missing one of their best in Freddy Sanchez. The Giants did improve their lineup this winter, but it did cost them some on the defensive side in exchange. Aubrey Huff is the guy I'm most worried about. The Giants have always kind of had a defensive whiz over at first base over the last 10-15 seasons but now have a guy there more known for his bat than and not so much for his glove. The other guy I'm going to have my eyes on this spring following closely is Edgar Renteria. He was such a disappointment, both offensively and defensively, in 2009 and I'm just hoping it was because of his health and not because he's declining at a ridiculously fast pace. His 2009 season made his '08 campaign (which was supposedly his worst season of his career at that point) look like a career year. He came up with a few clutch hits here and there, but provided no pop or run production and hit a measly .250. He also looked slow and weighed down in the field. The Giants are going to have Renteria start the year at short, but with him in the final year of his deal, I expect them to have a short leash with him if he's not performing. This is why the Juan Uribe signing was so key.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 4:52 PM, Blogger King of Cali said…

    Bowker needs to have a break out camp. He needs to earn some AB's in the season. We know what he can do in in the minors. Just hasn't been able to put it together in SF. I have some pretty new posts about him. Check them out!

    King of Cali
    All The Latest SF Giants Rumors

  • At 7:38 PM, Anonymous Giants Fanatic said…

    I wish they'd just give the starting ss position to uribe anyway. He def deserves it more than Renteria, he carried us last year... Solid Giant!

  • At 11:22 AM, Anonymous Hitnrun said…

    Sounds like Darren Ford would be an ideal leadoff/centerfielder who can steal bases and disrupt the opposing defense. Too bad that the Rowand logjam of a contract will hold Ford back even if he has a torrid spring camp. Agreed that Renteria should be on the shortest lease that Bochy has, Uribe actually should be the starter right now. Does the team really need Burriss AND Frandsen, since they are basically the same player? Maybe they could use the roster spot for another need, like a power hitter off the bench.

  • At 12:15 PM, Blogger DProfessor said…

    The rationale for keeping the Velez-Torres two-head monster is (1) speed), and (2) Torres can play CF.

    But the reality is that the monster is fringe talent.

    Why not have Ford and Bowker as our 4th & 5th outfielders? We'd have a speedy CF and a power, corner OF, both with tons upside.

    And if Rowand and Ford have a good first half, the G's should consider trading Rowand even if they must eat half of his contract. We'd still save money and have a better CF.


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