Petit proves he belongs with Giants

Baggs: Petit was one 'cool customer'

Petit proves he belongs with Giants
September 7, 2013, 10:15 am
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Yusmeiro Petit's line: 9 IP, H, 7 K, 95 P, W. (AP)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Yusmeiro Petit could have left the Giants organization on two occasions this season.

They didn’t carry him on their Opening Day roster out of the spring, and because he was out of minor league options, they had to designate him for assignment. Any team could have snagged him.

He cleared waivers, and reported to Triple-A Fresno.

The Giants brought up Petit in late July when the bullpen needed coverage for a doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds. He made one relief appearance of 5 1/3 innings and was sent back. The Giants designated him for assignment one more time.

Again, Petit chose to report.

Why?

“Because I feel comfortable with the Giants and they’re honest people,” said Petit, through translator Jose Alguacil, after coming within one strike of a perfect game Friday night. “I like the way they work. I felt I had a chance to come back here and be here.”

[RELATED: Perfection eludes Petit]

He is here to stay now.

“I couldn’t be happier for him,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s fought his way to stay up here. He sent a tremendous message that this is where he belongs and this is where he should be pitching.”

Petit, 28, is pitching for his fifth organization and he went three years hoping for a big league opportunity before the Giants promoted him late last season to soak up some innings.

He’s 3-0 in three starts as a Giant since joining the rotation on Aug. 27. And five days after striking out 10 Arizona Diamondbacks, he had no trouble getting through their lineup again. Even when he struggled for a 4.52 ERA at Fresno, his 91 strikeouts against just 13 walks hinted at a pitcher who didn’t beat himself. In a spacious place like AT&T Park, sometimes that can be enough even when you don’t have your best stuff.

The Giants might not hand Petit a rotation spot and 30 starts next season. They’re sure to look for rotation depth behind Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner, whether it’s signing Bronson Arroyo from Cincinnati or Masahiro Tanaka from Rakuten in Japan.

[RELATED: Pending free agent Arroyo loves 'whole vibe' of San Francisco]

But in case you were wondering, Petit is only entering his first year of arbitration eligibility. The Giants control his rights for next season, and two years beyond that.

He is proving to be a handy guy to have around.

“I will take every opportunity the Giants will offer,” Petit said. “I’ve been up and down with my career. I just want to take any opportunity.”

--
Petit became the 13th pitcher in baseball history to lose a perfect game with two outs in the ninth. But it wasn’t because Brandon Belt inadvertently sat in his seat, as he did during Matt Cain’s perfecto last season.

Everyone in the dugout was deep into the proper decorum. Even the rookies.

“(Roger) Kieschnick told me he didn’t move for six innings, and he wanted to go to the bathroom,” said Hunter Pence, who came within a few inches of catching Eric Chavez’s single with two outs in the ninth. “You try not to smile or blink, even.”

When it was over, and Petit still gloried in his one-hit shutout, the players saluted him with a round of applause in the clubhouse.

And maybe a beer shower?

“I’m not saying,” Pence said.

 

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