OAKLAND – There were no great surprises but perhaps a bit of intrigue when Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced his 25-man roster and tentative opening day lineup following Saturday’s exhibition rainout.
Most intriguing: How playing time will shake out in the middle infield.
Bochy acknowledged that Brandon Hicks’ big spring will turn shortstop into something resembling a platoon situation, with Brandon Crawford often resting against left-handed pitchers.
Here’s how it would work: Joaquin Arias will be the regular second baseman while Marco Scutaro is on the disabled list, but Bochy plans to shift Arias to shortstop against some – not all – left-handed pitchers. Hicks, a non-roster invitee who mashed plenty of extra-base hits this spring, would get playing time at second base against lefties.
“(Crawford’s) at-bats against lefties will dictate how this goes,” Bochy said. “You get caught in a tough spot because the way to get better is to see left-handers. But at the same time, we’ll need production up and down the order. It won’t be a straight platoon, but you may see Arias and Hicks out there.”
The roster calls went exactly as I predicted Friday night, with Yusmeiro Petit, David Huff, Jean Machi, Ehire Adrianza, Juan Perez and Hicks all making the club. Outfielder Tyler Colvin (headed to Triple-A Fresno) and right-hander Derek Law (headed to Double-A Richmond) were the final cuts. Jeremy Affeldt and Scutaro are on the DL, as anticipated.
Here’s your team, with the standard caveat that the roster doesn’t have to be submitted until noon Sunday:
Rotation (5): Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Tim Hudson, Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong
Bullpen (7): Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, Santiago Casilla, Yusmeiro Petit, David Huff, Jean Machi, Juan Gutierrez.
Catchers (2): Buster Posey, Hector Sanchez.
Infielders (6): Brandon Belt, Joaquin Arias, Brandon Crawford, Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Hicks, Ehire Adrianza.
Outfielders (5): Angel Pagan, Hunter Pence, Michael Morse, Gregor Blanco, Juan Perez.
One other roster move: The Giants faced a 40-man logjam because they had one open spot and two contracts (Hicks and Gutierrez) to purchase. So outfielder Roger Kieschnick was designated for assignment.
Bochy said the opening day lineup, against Arizona right-hander Brandon McCarthy, would look like this:
CF Angel Pagan
1B Brandon Belt
3B Pablo Sandoval
C Buster Posey
RF Hunter Pence
LF Michael Morse
2B Joaquin Arias
SS Brandon Crawford
P Madison Bumgarner
It’s possible that Arias and Crawford could switch places in the lineup to break up the three right-handed bats in the 5-6-7 slots. But Bochy is set on Belt as the No.2 hitter with Sandoval following him.