PHOENIX -- Sergio Romo struck out 70 batters and walked fivelast season. One of those walks was intentional. So when it comes to throwingstrikes, youd figure he would be tough to impress.
But Romo loves everything about Dan Otero. The other day,Romo was gushing over the fact that Otero went through his first pro seasonwithout issuing a single walk.
Eh, it was short-season ball, said Otero, who pitched in22 games with zero walks for Salem-Keizer in 2007.
I dont care where you are, Romo said. Thats amazing.
No debating that, I thought. Even if you paint like Seurat,you still have to pitch around a hitter from time to time. Or youll be askedto walk someone intentionally.
So what happened in Oteros major league debut Saturday? Hewas asked to walk someone intentionally.
Figures, right? Romo said.
Oteros debut was no mop-up appearance. He entered in thefifth inning of a competitive, 4-2 game. He had to face Justin Upton, MiguelMontero and Chris Young the heart of Arizonas order.
He started out impressive enough, striking out Upton onthree pitches, the last one freezing him.
Heater, heater, heater thank you! was how Romo describedit.
But Otero was not perfect. Montero whistled a single off Oteros leg andYoung doubled him in. Otero came back to strike out Paul Goldschmidt, and afterthe intentional walk (to Jason Kubel), shortstop Brandon Crawford made a niftyplay up the middle on John McDonald.
Then Otero went back out for a scoreless sixth.
That run in the fifth ended up being Arizona's margin of victory, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy felt good about what Otero accomplished in his debut. And he had no hesitation about putting the 27-year-old Duke graduate in a big-time situation.
This spring he showed great poise out there, Bochy said. Hes got great confidence. Thats why he made the club.
Otero received a game-used ball from Ryan Vogelsong. He leftwith one other souvenir, colored black and blue.
I threw strikes and took a ball off my calf, Otero said.So hey, great.
Otero is wearing No.87. Ill have to ask Bochy if he'll bring himin as a slot receiver on third-down situations.
Turns out that Otero has to wear his spring training numberuntil the league approves a change. The Giants eventually plan to give himNo.37, which was Chris Stewarts old number.
I cant see the back of my jersey, so Im not too concernedabout it, Otero said.
The Giants must send back a pitcher in another week whenVogelsong is ready to come off the DL. Barring an injury, it figures to beOtero. But for now, hes enjoying his chance.
Dan Runzler told me he is feeling good about his progress from hisstrained lat muscle in his upper back, which he aggravated in early March.
Runzler said he is back to throwing bullpens with no issues.One or two more sessions and hell face hitters in extended spring.
Ill see how my arm bounces back from that, and hopefullyby the end of the month, I can start a rehab assignment, said Runzler, whoexpects to get an appearance or two at Single-A San Jose before graduating toTriple-A Fresno.
If it comes down to missing a month, thats not that bad,Runzler said.
Buster Poseys 14-game hitting streak is no more. Blame mefor mentioning it to him before the game, if you must.
Now Ill go find a phone number for Magglio Ordonez, who isin semi-retirement and sitting on his couch, and ask him if he knows hes gotan 18-game streak going.
In case you missed it Friday, the Giants announced that theyhave canceled Angel Villalonas option to Single-A San Jose and placed him onthe restricted list again.
Since Villalona has been unable to acquire a visa yet, weare cancelling his option to San Jose, Giants VP Bobby Evans said via textmessage. He has been placed on the major league restricted list while we awaitfurther updates on his visa status. He will continue his baseball work at ourcomplex in the (Dominican Republic).
The Giants roster is officially at 39 now, meaning theyhave a vacancy if they need to purchase infielder Joaquin Arias contract or addanother pitcher (Yusmeiro Petit, for example) who isnt on the 40-man.
Everyone has their pet peeves. One of mine is when a batterdraws a walk and an announcer says, That was a good at-bat.
Well, no. Technically, it was a plate appearance, not anat-bat.
Brandon Belt had a good plate appearance in the seventhinning, when he drew a leadoff walk. But so far, the hard contact has eludedhim and hes getting pitched to the scouting reports: fastballs in and offspeedaway.
Its up to him to make an adjustment. Toward the end of thespring, he said he wanted the opportunity to make those adjustments in the bigleagues. Hes getting that chance now.
Through two games, Belt has four strikeouts and one hit in eight at-bats.
Brandon Crawford doesnt have a hit in two games, which isnot cause for alarm. The only concern, really, is if he gets concerned andstarts pressing. You also wonder if his sprained thumb is bothering him at theplate.
Crawford did make one hard out to center field, though.
Lets see what happens in the series finale against JoshCollmenter. Thats quite a dip from the likes of Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson.
Meanwhile the Giants send Matt Cain to the mound. Under anycircumstances, theyll feel good about doing that.