Pitching Probables: Kurt Ainsworth

Kurt Ainsworth is a name you may have seen before. Last year he was in major competition with Ryan Jensen for the coveted 5th rotation spot, and was later moved back to Triple-A Fresno when Jason Schmidt came off of the DL. Two years ago, he was in major competition with the rest of the world at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and was later decorated with a gold medal when his 2-0 record, 1.54 ERA helped the USA to victory.

This year, Ainsworth makes another run at a starting gig with the Giants, not only dueling with now-veteran Ryan Jensen, but also with the blazing speed of USF alumni Jesse Foppert. With his 4.24 ERA and 13 strikeouts this spring so far, Ainsworth has a great chance of filling one of the two spots available in the starting rotation (good bye, Livan!). He's got decent breaking pitches and a fastball that burns at a consistent 92 mph- reminiscent of former Giants staff ace Russ Ortiz.

With time ticking away in the preseason, however, Ainsworth needs to cut down on his walks and perhaps fine-tune either a curveball or a sinker to back up his deadly fastball. But if Saturday's game against the Cubs is a sign of the things Ainsworth can do it, he may not be passed up a second year.

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