EXTRA BAGGS: Otero has a fan in Romo

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Evans: Giants still in 'search mode' for closer, but 'it's progressing'

Evans: Giants still in 'search mode' for closer, but 'it's progressing'

As the Winter Meetings get set to begin in Washington, D.C. on Monday, the Giants still haven't crossed off the top item on their offseason wish list.

The closer role remains vacant.

Names like Mark Melancon and Greg Holland have been linked to the Giants over the last few weeks, but nothing has materialized.

On Friday, GM Bobby Evans provided an update while speaking with ESPN's Buster Olney.

"There's been a lot of signings and a number of trades. In many ways, more done prior to the winter meetings than in the last couple of years. We still are in process, relative to trade options, relative to free agent options, to be clear who's pitching the ninth inning for us. So we feel we have the makings of a good bullpen, we just need to be clear who's pitching the ninth. And we'd like to solidify that through the trade market or free agent market. It's progressing. We're a month into this process, so we have a lot more information. But ultimately, until we have a closer, we're still in the search mode.

There's a nice balance between both. It's just that, they both have costs. Relative to a trade, sometimes you're giving up, in some cases, one or more of your top prospects and other prospects below that. In the way of free agency, it's obviously an expenditure for a certain number of years that is elavated more on the supply and demand side. That said, there are some middle tier late inning options as well that may not be as demanding as some of the bigger names. Again, it's a balance of options trying to measure all three."

Padres non-tender former A’s P Ross, former Giants C Sanchez

Padres non-tender former A’s P Ross, former Giants C Sanchez

NEW YORK -- Tyson Ross, an All-Star pitcher for San Diego two years ago, was among 35 players who became free agents when their teams declined to offer them 2017 contracts on Friday.

Washington outfielder Ben Revere and Philadelphia outfielder Cody Asche also were cut loose, along with Arizona catcher Welington Castillo and pitcher Rubby De La Rosa; Baltimore pitcher Vance Worley; and Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Louis Coleman.

Milwaukee first baseman Chris Carter and Pittsburgh pitcher Jeff Locke were non-tendered as well; their teams had already designated them for assignment earlier this week.

Teams cut players at the tender deadline to avoid committing to salary arbitration, in which about one-sixth of next season's salary is guaranteed.

Ross, a 29-year-old right-hander, was 13-14 with a 2.81 ERA in 2014 and 10-12 with a 3.26 ERA the following season. He was limited to one major league appearance this year and had surgery in October for thoracic outlet syndrome. Recovery time was expected to be four to six months, and the Padres deemed him too pricy for arbitration after he earned $9,625,000 this year.

Asche, 26, was designated for assignment earlier Friday to clear a roster spot for left-hander David Rollins, claimed off waivers from Texas. Asche hit .240 with 31 homers and 125 RBIs for the Phillies during 371 games in the past four seasons and would have been eligible for arbitration for the first time.

The 28-year-old Revere was acquired from Toronto in January for reliever Drew Storen but strained his right oblique in his first at-bat of the season, left after four innings and went on the disabled list. Revere returned May 6, hit just .217 with two homers and 24 RBIs in 103 games and would have been on track for a raise from his $6.25 million salary.

Castillo batted .264 with 14 homers and 68 RBIs and would have gotten a big raise from his $3.7 million salary.