SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- After starting his spring with a roughouting, Eric Surkamp allowed one run in three innings for the second straightstart Sunday against the Seattle Mariners.Surkamp limited the Mariners to three hits, didnt walk a batter andstruck out three. He threw 29 of his 43 pitches for strikes and was throwingboth his curveball and slider.In his first start of the spring, the young lefty allowed three runs in just1.1 innings, but he has rebounded since.Hes been better each time out, Giants manger Bruce Bochysaid. He looks confident, threw more strikes, had a better rhythm.Surkamp was happy with how he mixed in a lot of breakingballs against the Mariners.RELATED: Posey plays four innings, nabs base-stealer
I left a couple of them up in the zone that I got away with, but for the mostpart I was pretty happy with keeping it down, he said. I felt like it hadgood bite to it.--Surkamp would likely be called upon to be the Giants No. 5 starter if RyanVogelsong starts the season on the disabled list, but the 2011 Willie Mac Awardwinner is making progress after throwing 35 pitches in a bullpen sessionSunday.The plan is for Vogelsong to throw another 45 pitches in thebullpen in a couple of days.
They want me to make sure my stamina is okay and everything first, Vogelsongsaid. But everything feels good; back feels good, arm feels good.Bochy was happy with Vogelsongs bullpen, but is definitely playing it safe.The back can be quirky, Bochy said. You want to makesure hes 100 before you start getting live action. You dont need a setback.Now youre looking at a longer period of time before he comes back so we arebeing a little cautious.RELATED: Posey helps Wilson make scoreless spring debutBochy said the Giants dont need a fifth starter until April15th against the Pittsburgh Pirates, which gives Vogelsong more timeto get healthy.--In other injured Giants news, Nate Schierholtz toldreporters that he bruised his hip playing Saturday.Schierholtz was taking batting practice on Sunday, however, and said he "feelsfine" and expects to play Monday.--Another day, another two home run game from a Giants catchingprospect.After Tommy Joseph launched two balls over the left-fieldfence Saturday, Hector Sanchez matched him with two home runs, one from eitherside of the plate.The switch-hitting catcher is now batting .500 with three home runs and eightRBIs in just 14 at-bats.--
Gregor Blanco continues to makea case for a 25-man roster spot.The non-roster invitee went 2-for-3 and stole his fifth base of the spring.He could offer Bochy speed and defense off the bench as the teams fourthoutfielder if they decide to dedicate a spot to him on the Opening Day roster.--As the Giants were stretching early Sunday morning, Brian Wilson and TimLincecum were keeping it loose by arguing about who would win in a fight between Superman and Batman.Its an age-old debate and one that Craig Calcaterra of Harball Talk is morequalified to settle, so Ill let him take it from here.
While the Giants aggressively pursue a new closer, they haven't been aggressive for a new left fielder.
Angel Pagan is a free agent and isn't likely to come back. That leaves talented, but unproven youngsters Mac Williams and Jarrett Parker.
And for GM Bobby Evans, who is always looking for ways to improve the roster, it appears he is content going into the 2017 with Williamson and Parker filling the void in left field.
"Our mindset has been to keep an open mind in any way we can improve the club offensively. But that said, I feel like we've got a starting lineup today that we don't have to adjust or improve upon. I'd always like to find ways to improve it. I think there are some big market options, but we've got two young guys that we want to get a good evaluation on, and you can't really do that until they get major league at-bats. That's Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker and both of them are really in-waiting for an opportunity to get everyday playing time and show what they can do," Evans told ESPN's Buster Olney on Friday.
But Evans is keeping an open mind regarding acquiring a left fielder.
"That said, I also have to make sure that if we have an opportunity to improve or solidify our lineup in some way, I want to take advantage of it. But I can't lose sight of the benefit of developing our own guys and giving them a chance and not locking ourselves into keeping them from playing time in the next two to three years" Evans said.
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."