Giants roster -- snapshot profiles

724614.jpg

Giants roster -- snapshot profiles

EDITOR'S NOTE: Giants baseball officially begins Friday with Opening Day in Arizona. Giants Insider Andrew Baggarly has been covering the team all spring. As part of his season preview package, check out his snapshot profile of each of the 25 active players on the Giants' roster.

Starting Pitchers

TIM LINCECUM Strikeouts were down and walks were up last season; now hes pitching to contact and scrapping his slider.

MADISON BUMGARNER Ended up with 13-13 record after 0-6 start; determined to get out of the gate faster this time.

MATT CAIN Earned his 112.5 million extension through consistency. Hes one of four pitchers with at least 20 quality starts in each of last four seasons.

RYAN VOGELSONG Last years rotation ERA leader will begin on the DL, but stuff appears to be there and strained back has improved.

BARRY ZITO There are 46 million reasons hes still around, and they all have George Washingtons face on them.

SEASON PREVIEW: Giants aim to reclaim division

Relief Pitchers

BRIAN WILSON Throwing 95 mph in the spring, but his strained elbow will be watched carefully all season.

SANTIAGO CASILLA Wicked stuff, hard fastball and bat-splintering curve make him an asset in late innings. He gets a little squirrelly in the ninth, though.

JEREMY AFFELDT He has a scud curveball, keeps the ball in the park and is effective against right-handers, too.

JAVIER LOPEZ Giants spent big bucks so this sidewinder could neutralize lefties for two more seasons.

SERGIO ROMO Wildly effective strike thrower as long as his elbow isnt barking. Thats when his famously Frisbee-esque slider tends to flatten out.

GUILLERMO MOTA He has a rubber arm and knows how to use it especially on the days that Zito pitches.

CLAY HENSLEY A favorite of Bruce Bochy, he has the ability to work multiple innings and take the ball whenever needed.

DAN OTERO Graduated from Duke University in three years. This 27-year-old rookie has smarts on the mound, too.

Position Players

BUSTER POSEY Looked great at the plate and behind it this spring. Catchers mask? Check. Chest protector? Check. Shinguards? Check. Halo? Check.

HECTOR SANCHEZ Hes a switch hitter with power from both sides, so hell be handy to have on the bench and will boost lineup on days Posey plays first base.

BRANDON BELT A patient and dangerous hitter, hes not a finished product. But Bruce Bochy must give him the chance to make adjustments against big league pitching.

RYAN THERIOT No longer a defensive dynamo, but he knows how to work a tough at-bat late in games.

BRANDON CRAWFORD The Giants first homegrown opening-day shortstop since Royce Clayton in 1996 (non-Bocock category).

PABLO SANDOVAL He was seventh in NL MVP balloting in 2009. With corrected vision in left eye and a full season, he might finish higher this year.

EMMANUEL BURRISS Hasnt hit nearly enough to warrant being an everyday player; most likely to contribute in super-utility role.

AUBREY HUFF Itll be a water buffalo, not a giraffe, in left field. He wont hang onto everyday playing time if he hits .240 again, though.

MELKY CABRERA Balanced switch-hitter might not achieve 200 hits again, but hell be motivated entering his walk year.

ANGEL PAGAN Slow starter lived up to his reputation with a brutal spring. Like Cabrera, hes motivated as he gets set for free agency.

NATE SCHIERHOLTZ Lost the right field job with an uninspiring spring. Must reestablish himself.

BRETT PILL Great happy to be here attitude and a powerful right-handed swing make him a good fit on this club.

GREGOR BLANCO Non-roster invitee was the surprise of the spring. Hes an on-base wizard who could be the everyday leadoff hitter before long.

Giants spring training Day 10: Bochy on board with new rules

Giants spring training Day 10: Bochy on board with new rules

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — During his season managing Barry Bonds, Bruce Bochy watched the slugger get intentionally walked 43 times. 

“There were (managers) who had the (signal) up before he even got to the batter’s box,” Bochy said Wednesday. 

That’s part of the reason Bochy is completely on board with a new rule stating that managers only have to signal for an intentional walk. The elimination of the four pitches has been approved by MLB and the MLBPA, with the caveat that a manager can change his mind in the middle of the plate appearance. 

“I’m fine with it,” Bochy said. “I know a few pitchers are happy because they kind of have a thing about throwing (those pitches), not on our team, but last year it happened to us and we didn’t go. I’m fine with it.”

It’s rare that an intentional ball would go to the backstop, but the Giants experienced it last year against the Yankees. Dellin Betances threw wide as he tried to put Brandon Crawford on and Angel Pagan didn’t react quickly enough to score from third. 

Bochy met with league officials last week to go over some of the new rules and ideas, and he said he wants MLB to keep pushing to cut the time of games. 

“We talk about it so much but we really haven’t done a lot,” Bochy said. “I’m all for (limiting mound visits). I’m all for it, I am. It’s gotten more and more popular in the game. It used to be the catcher, and now it’s the catcher and infielders, and they go to the mound and come back and then the pitching coach goes out there.”

EXHIBITION SCHEDULE: Bochy said Madison Bumgarner is currently slated to start Friday’s Cactus League opener, with Matt Cain also throwing an inning. Ty Blach will start Saturday, Matt Moore and Tyler Beede will pitch Sunday, and Jeff Samardzija will start Monday. It’s possible that 18 or 20 different pitchers will take the mound over the first two days since almost all of them will be scheduled for just three outs. With the exception of Will Smith, every projected Giant should see the field this weekend. Hunter Pence is the only guy who has been held back at all, but his intercostal issue has cleared up. Pence put several on the left-field berm during BP on Wednesday.

“Hunter wants to (play Friday). He's ready to go,” Bochy said. “I’ll make that call tomorrow once I talk to the staff, but Hunter assured me he’s a full go with no limitations, and he really wants to play.”

PROSPECT WATCH: Bochy took the van over to the minor league facility to watch some of the projected Triple-A players take part in live BP. Jae-gyun Hwang hit a homer off Jose Dominguez during his session. 

“He’s a guy that rotates (well) and he’s got good power,” Bochy said. “He can go the other way. He’s got some bat control. He’s got a nice swing.”

Over on the main field, Gorkys Hernandez hit an impressive homer to left-center. 

ICYMI: From this morning, Smith is being held out of workouts. Reporters spoke to him in the afternoon and he said there’s no concern. Also, here’s a podcast with Derek Law and Josh Osich. Subscribe on iTunes if you haven’t … there’s a very popular Giant coming soon.

QUOTABLE: Smith missed time last season because he tore a knee ligament while taking his shoe off, so this spring’s speed bump is somewhat easier to take. He had a message for the trainers: “I said I’m going to sit down every day this spring,” when I take my shoes off.

MLB players’ union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

MLB players’ union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

NEW YORK -- There won't be any wild pitches on intentional walks this season.

The players' association has agreed to Major League Baseball's proposal to have intentional walks without pitches this year.

"It doesn't seem like that big of a deal. I know they're trying to cut out some of the fat. I'm OK with that," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.

While the union has resisted many of MLB's proposed innovations, such as raising the bottom of the strike zone, installing pitch clocks and limiting trips to the mound, players are willing to accept the intentional walk change.

"As part of a broader discussion with other moving pieces, the answer is yes," union head Tony Clark wrote Wednesday in an email to The Associated Press. "There are details, as part of that discussion, that are still being worked through, however."

The union's decision was first reported by ESPN .

"I'm OK with it. You signal. I don't think that's a big deal," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "For the most part, it's not changing the strategy, it's just kind of speeding things up. I'm good with it."

There were 932 intentional walks last year, including 600 in the National League, where batters are walked to bring the pitcher's slot to the plate.

"You don't want to get your pitcher out of a rhythm, and when you do the intentional walk, I think you can take a pitcher out of his rhythm," Girardi said. "I've often wondered why you don't bring in your shortstop and the pitcher stand at short. Let the shortstop walk him. They're used to playing catch more like that than a pitcher is."

Agreement with the union is required for playing rules changes unless MLB gives one year advance notice, in which case it can unilaterally make alterations. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope Tuesday that ongoing talks would lead to an agreement on other changes but also said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Some changes with video review can be made unilaterally, such as shortening the time to make a challenge.

"I know they were thinking about putting in a 30-second (limit) for managers to make a decision," Francona said. "I actually wish they would. I think it would hustle it up and if we can't tell in 30 seconds, maybe we shouldn't be doing it anyway."