EXTRA BAGGS: Otero has a fan in Romo


EXTRA BAGGS: Otero has a fan in Romo

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.

Former Giants OF Gregor Blanco agrees to deal with NL West rival

Former Giants OF Gregor Blanco agrees to deal with NL West rival

After five seasons with the Giants, outfielder Gregor Blanco has a new home.

The veteran outfielder has agreed to a minor league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to his agent Wilfredo Polidor.

The deal includes an invitation to spring training.

The deal includes a $1 million base salary if Blanco makes the major league roster, according to SB Nation's Chris Cotillo. Blanco has a chance to earn an addition $2.7 million in performance-based incentives and has an opt-out of April 1 in the deal.

Shortly after Polidor made the announcement, Blanco thanked the D'backs on Twitter for the bringing him to the organization.

"Thanks to the @Dbacks for let me part of a dream the same dream I got another ring another championship let's all dream together we can doit," Blanco wrote.

Blanco bounced around from Braves to the Royals from 2008 to 2010, but found a home with the Giants prior to the 2012 season.

Over five seasons with the Giants, Blanco appeared in 649 games. He hit .259/.338/.360 with 244 runs scored, 78 doubles, 24 triples, 19 home runs, 157 RBI and 75 stolen bases.

President Obama pardons Giants legend Willie McCovey

President Obama pardons Giants legend Willie McCovey

President Barack Obama pardoned Giants Hall of Famer Willie McCovey on Tuesday.

McCovey, along with Dodgers Hall of Fame outfielder Duke Snider, pleaded guilty to tax fraud in July of 1995. The crime came from not reporting income McCovey earned from signing autographs and appearing at sports memorabilia shows. 

McCovey previously pleaded guilty to not listing $70,000 he made from 1988-90, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Through the Giants, McCovey said: "I want to express my sincere gratitude to President Obama not only for this kind gesture on my behalf, but also for his tireless service to all Americans. He will be deeply missed and I wish him all the best in the future."

The 79-year-old McCovey was one of 64 people who received pardons from President Obama Tuesday as his final days in office wind down.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.