Mark Minicozzi's dream spring comes to an end with Giants

Mark Minicozzi's dream spring comes to an end with Giants
March 21, 2014, 8:00 pm
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He’s aggressive with the bat and he has power. I really enjoyed him. He was ready to go every day.
Bruce Bochy on Mark Minicozzi


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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. – In more ways than one, Mark Minicozzi put himself on the map this spring. But he wasn’t ever more than a fringe candidate to make the Giants’ opening day roster.

So it’s not like Cinderella lost her slipper when the 31-year-old rookie was among seven players the Giants reassigned to minor league camp on Friday.

[RELATED: Picked from stands, Minicozzi living dream with Giants]

“It’s a great story how he persevered,” manager Bruce Bochy said of Minicozzi, who spent three years in independent ball before literally getting picked out of the stands for a second shot in the Giants organization.

Bochy said it wasn’t easy to call Minicozzi into his office. He told the infielder that he should feel good about the spring he had.

“His timing was good because we didn’t have a lot of first basemen in camp and he was out there about every day,” said Bochy, who gave Minicozzi a team-high 93.1 innings at first base. “He got a lot of attention and he’s a right-handed bat and a threat. He’s aggressive with the bat and he has power. I really enjoyed him. He was ready to go every day.”

Minicozzi hit a home run on the first swing he took this spring but cooled off after the first week. He hit .194 with two home runs in 36 at-bats.

"I had a few line drives that got caught, had a couple days where my swing didn't feel good -- you know how it goes," Minicozzi said. "But it was an awesome experience. I wanted to show I can play. I can compete at this level, and if the time comes when they need someone to help win games, I'm here and I can do that."

Minicozzi, who spent last season at Double-A Richmond, has been told he'll play at Triple-A Fresno. He isn’t on the 40-man roster so it’s hard to envision a call-up in the near future. But if he makes plenty of noise in the Pacific Coast League, perhaps a September call-up could be in the offing if the Giants find themselves with a bit of roster flexibility. The fact he impressed coaches, and made a fan in Bochy, can only help in that regard.

"I'm excited I'll be in the PCL," Minicozzi said. "It'll be really nice to play in parks where the ball flies a little better than in Richmond."

In the meantime, Bochy will free up some time at first base for Buster Posey, who has spent all of his 62 innings this spring behind the plate.  Hector Sanchez made one start at first base and Joaquin Arias has played 10 innings at the position. Michael Morse was expected to play some first base as well, but Bochy didn’t want to test the left fielder’s tender calf.

Before heading down the street to minor league camp, Minicozzi took some younger players aside and offered some perspective.

"I told some guys in here, `It doesn't matter where you are or where you start,'" Minicozzi said. "Two years ago at this time, I'm sitting at home watching games on TV. Now I'm here and getting an opportunity and I'm getting ready to start a season. So enjoy every moment of it. Enjoy the opportunity to play."