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OAKLAND – There are few things tougher for a pro baseball player than to be cut on the last day of spring training.
Derek Law got over it quickly enough.
“This is pretty cool,” said the young right-hander with the power curve, who will begin at Double-A Richmond. “It’s cool just to be here. I can’t wait to go out there and play catch.”
Law didn’t get to pitch in the Giants’ final exhibition game at Oakland. Nobody did. The game was cancelled because of rain and accumulated water on the field. But Law did get to play some soggy catch on the same field where his father once stood as a big leaguer.
Joe Law spent nearly a decade in the A’s system and was on the major league roster for four days, but did not throw a pitch in the big leagues.
“Growing up in Pittsburgh, I wasn’t a Pirates fan so the A’s were my team,” said Law, who rooted for the “Moneyball” era clubs that included current Giant Tim Hudson. “My high school colors were the same – green, gray pants, white cleats. So it’s a pretty neat experience just to be here.”
Law’s big league debut will come soon enough. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said the right-hander came close to making the opening day roster, even though he hasn’t thrown a pitch above Single-A. The club instead chose to purchase the contract of Juan Gutierrez, once a part-time closer with Arizona who threw 95 mph with a power slider this spring. Yusmeiro Petit, David Huff and Jean Machi -- all of whom are out of minor league options -- also made the bullpen.
“He earned this spot because we had some very good arms competing for this club,” said Bochy, who already had trimmed Heath Hembree, Dan Runzler, Jake Dunning and George Kontos. “With (Jeremy) Affeldt on the DL, we had room for one more.”
The other final-day cut was outfielder Tyler Colvin, who flashed promise as a rare left-handed power hitter off the bench. But Colvin’s back was touch and go this spring, and he wasn’t able to play a full nine-inning game. So the Giants chose Juan Perez, a dynamic defender who was no slouch with the bat this spring, for the No.5 outfield gig.
Colvin is expected to report to Triple-A Fresno, although he can opt out of his contract Monday.
As expected, the Giants kept Ehire Adrianza along with Brandon Hicks as the backup infielders. Although Hicks should pick up some starts at second base against left-handed starters, Adrianza will be used mostly off the bench as a pinch runner and pinch hitter who can get a bunt down. He might enter for late-inning defense, too.
Law isn’t on the 40-man roster, so from an inventory standpoint, it wasn’t a tough call to reassign him to the minor leagues. But there’s a reason the Giants kept him till the very end.
“There’s a real good chance” he pitches in the big leagues this season, Bochy said. “He had a great Fall League and he has the equipment to pitch up here. He throws 94 with two breaking balls and a changeup. He’s knocking on the door. It’s nice to have these guys who can give you not just insurance but quality depth. If we need help, we feel we have some very capable arms.”
Law hadn’t pitched in front of more than 8,000 fans in his life before this spring. But if he was intimidated, he didn’t show it.
“I wanted to make a good impression, just be myself and show I can go about my business like any other person up here,” he said.
He convinced the Giants of that much. When Law asked bullpen coach Mark Gardner for advice on how to improve, he received this: “Just keep your poise, and keep doing what you’re doing.”
Giants notes: Edwin Escobar and Mike Kickham were brought up to cover innings on Saturday. Instead they got a free night in San Francisco. ... Outfielder Roger Kieschnick was designated for assignment. ... Infielder Nick Noonan wasn't assigned to a minor league affiliate because of a strained groin, but he's not expected to remain in extended spring camp for too long. ... Left-hander and former All-Star Dontrelle Willis will break with Triple-A Fresno, so he must've had an encouraging spring in minor league camp.