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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Brian Wilson Could Miss Opener

The Giants got their first taste of bad news that they've received all spring on Saturday, after All-Star closer Brian Wilson strained his ribcage. The 2010 MLB saves leader will be sidelined for the rest of the Cactus League schedule and may end up starting the season on the DL, but it's still a little too early to make that assumption.

The loss of Wilson for any extended period of time would definitely be a catastrophic hit to the reigning World Champs, but it looks like they're being cautious, so it really wouldn't surprise me to see Wilson miss the first week or 2 of the regular season, just to assure he's 100% healthy when he does start pitching again. If that's the case, and Wilson is forced to miss regular season action, the Giants would then have to go to a Plan B to close out games. Right now, the plan B would appear to be Javier Lopez. The lefty was nearly untouchable in the postseason and really was a force in the Giants bullpen the moment he dawned the Orange and Black after coming over from Pittsburgh. I'd have no problem with him closing out games in Wilson's absence. If there is a tough right-handed lineup due up in the 9th inning, Bochy could also use Santiago Cassilla. The 30 year-old is coming off a breakout year in which he sported a 1.95 regular season era, followed up by a 1.93 postseason mark. Sergio Romo is another guy who could get a look, but I just don't trust that guy in situations with the game on the line, he's more of a 7th inning-type reliever.

If Wilson starts the year on the DL, that would also open up another roster spot that would likely go to a reliever because every other are of the team is clicking right now. In the starting rotation, every body's getting healthy and turning on their game at the right time. Matt Cain returned from his injury this week, and Barry Zito, who was causing a lot of concern early in the spring, has looked very good over his last few outings, including a 6 inning, 2-hit, 1-run outing vs. the Royals on Saturday. Tim Lincecum is throwing well and looks ready for the opener, and Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner are both quietly pitching well as they prepare for what should be big years for both lefties. Even their offense is putting up crooked numbers with regularity. Rookie Brandon Belt is really coming alive and is now hitting .283, with 7 extra-base hits and 10 RBI while carrying a mature plate approach which could land him on the opening day roster. I know, it's only spring training, but even so, It's much better to see the team succeeding and playing well in their preparation than tanking. With only 11 days until the opener, the goal for the Giants is simple and clear: Stay Healthy. They can't afford any more set-backs like they have with Wilson. The Giants are a very good team, but they aren't a very deep team. If they lose a few key players, things can go down hill very quickly.

Note: Today was a "double-post" day for the Giants Baseball Blog, so scroll on down for part 2 of our post and the continuing of our Divisional Previews!
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7 Comments:

  • At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Jason Billingsley said…

    Belt has to be on the Opening Day roster. Look at all the success Buster Posey had in his rookie year. The Giants need to start throwing their young players into the fire more often. I say they start Belt at 1B and hit him 6th or 7th for all of April and see how he comes out of it. If he proves he's not ready, they can just move Huff back to first and Burrell moves back to LF.

    It will be well worth it if Belt ends up to be anything like Posey, and I think he will!

    J-Bill

     
  • At 2:59 AM, Anonymous Repeat In '11 said…

    I 2nd that notion on Mr. Belt. And Aubrey Huff agrees. This team can be stacked if he makes the roster and plays well. Repeat! Repeat! Repeat!

     
  • At 11:14 AM, Blogger Leffty said…

    Good thing the Giants brought back Huff. Other blogs have been talking about how important that move was for the Giants offseason:

    http://sportstatistics.blogspot.com/2011/03/spring-training-spotlight-san-francisco.html#more

    Gotta love Huff's versatility too

     
  • At 1:36 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    Huff was never going anywhere after the season he had with the club last year. Sure there was that Dodger talk, but I think it was clear all along he wanted to be here.

    Now I think it's Mark DeRosa's turn to prove his worth... I'm expecting big things out of him this year, even if he is in a utility role. He can be better than Juan Uribe (just wish he could play short), but he has to be healthy, and he looks it right now.

     
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