Programming note: Giants Insider Andrew Baggarly is in Arizona; check back for his coverage throughout spring training and watch SportsNet Central nightly at 6 and 10:30 p.m. for all the day’s MLB news.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – OK, full disclosure: the lights at Scottsdale Stadium can be as dim as Gilligan after a fourth rum punch.
But that shouldn’t detract fully from the pitching that Giants manager Bruce Bochy witnessed in Friday night’s 3-0 exhibition victory over the A’s.
Right-hander Yusmeiro Petit brushed off a bad spring and struck out seven in four innings. Left-hander David Huff followed with two strikeouts in three hitless innings. Right-hander Derek Law, after surviving another round of cuts, used high heat and a power curve in a 1-2-3 eighth inning. And closer Sergio Romo looked nothing like a pitcher with a 20.22 ERA while striking out two in the ninth.
“There were a couple others we thought we’d pitch tonight and we couldn’t get them in,” Bochy said. “They were right on tonight – everybody.”
It was a big start for Petit, who was thought to be a lock for a long relief spot based on his strong September. He gave up 10 runs over his first three appearances while trying to work himself into pitching shape, a consequence of resting up instead of playing winter ball.
He looked to be back in terrific form against the A’s, throwing his fastball to both sides of the plate and getting plenty of break on his curve and slider. Huff, who was set back by shoulder tenderness early in camp, had a tough act to follow but managed to hold serve.
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Earlier in the day, Bochy explained that the club sent out Heath Hembree among five relievers because they wanted to prioritize long relief while deciding on the final three bullpen spots.
It’s possible – maybe even likely – that Petit and Huff could both make the cut. Both pitchers are out of minor league options, as is right-hander Jean Machi.
“Sure, that’s a possibility,” Bochy said. “We haven’t picked the staff yet. But you’ve got a lefty and righty there who can go long, even start. It gives you flexibility. It’s nice to have these arms and these options.”
Earlier in camp, Bochy said he expected that Petit might get off to a slow start and he wouldn’t pay too much attention to the results. But after Friday’s game, Bochy acknowledged that “this was a big start for Petit.”
Law, who hasn’t pitched above Single-A, remains a longshot but there’s a reason he’s still in big league camp. Coaches want him to get more experience against big league hitters as they gauge his readiness. It’s looking more and more certain that Law will make his big league debut at some point this season, even if it’s not opening day.
As for Romo, he got hit hard when he threw fastball-changeup in his early outings, either to save his elbow or to give him another weapon against lefties after they had more success against him last season.
He didn’t forget how to throw his slider, though. He broke off several wicked ones while striking out two.
“You trust your players that they know what they’re doing,” said Bochy, when asked if he was concerned about Romo earlier this spring. “You like the fact a guy like Sergio, at this stage in his career, he wanted to work on his fastball and change and I’m fine with that.”
Giants notes: Michael Morse played the first four innings and didn’t push his injured calf too hard while going 0 for 2. But he said he felt fine and was happy to get more time in the outfield alongside center fielder Angel Pagan. Morse said he preferred to work only in left field the rest of this spring because he’s only logged 31 innings there … Morse said A’s right fielder Josh Reddick, who robbed him of two home runs in the Cactus League opener, brought over a T-shirt that said, “Rob it like Reddick.” Reddick left the game after three innings because of “contact lens complications.” … Pablo Sandoval was held out because he had a lengthy visit to the dentist in which scar tissue was removed from his mouth. He’s expected to play Saturday … Brandon Belt, the pride of Nacogdoches, paid express postage to get a purple Stephen F. Austin basketball T-shirt delivered to him in time for the Lumberjacks’ first-round game. You can imagine his glee when he finally got to see highlights of their dramatic victory … The Giants optioned catcher Guillermo Quiroz along with the six other cuts. They’re down to 33 players in camp, including six non-roster invitees … Matt Cain allowed three runs on three hits in six innings against the Angels' Triple-A squad. Two of the hits were home runs, including a two-run shot off the bat of J.B. Shuck. Cain, who got hit hard in his previous outing, said his stuff was better and he feels on track to start the second game of the regular season April 1.