Underrated Player: Jim Brower

So how can we have a Woody, but not a Buzz Lightyear? Well, the Giants sure had a Buzz come to Woody's rescue as Jim Brower was brought up to fill in for Kirk Rueter. He not only did what he was suppose to do, but he excelled at it, and earned a well deserved spot starting job whenever the Giants' distorted starting rotation is in need of help.

The face, the chin, the heroic rescue... Why not Buzz Lightyear? Jim Brower has saved the Giants and their starting rotation when he was summoned to start from the bullpen. Even when he was called upon to start for Kirk Rueter ten minutes before game time, he performed well, but got the loss.

My idea for Brower to become a starter was shot down by many previously, but thank you, Buzz, for proving them wrong for me. Granted, he has had his shaky outings, but who doesn't have those once in a while? He's done a heckuva job for what he's taken credit for.

Brower is another one of those players who were bounced from team to team, but never quite settled in anywhere. I believe we would like him to stay in a Giants' uniform, and hey, who knows, maybe even become part of the starting rotation next season. There are so many question marks in not only the Giants' lineup, but also in their starting rotation for next season, and Brower would definitely not be looked over as a starter next year.

A rotation consisting of Jason Schmidt, Rueter, Jerome Williams, Brower, plus another worthy starter (Joe Nathan?) will be one of the league's most solid starting rotations. I say another starter because the future of Sidney Ponson is very uncertain, and no, I did not forget about Jesse Foppert, but he's a big question mark himself.

Back to Buzz. When people talk about pitching and the Giants, names like Schmidt and Ponson and Williams, the new rookie sensation, come up, but Brower is rarely mentioned. Only in his rare starts and rare relief appearances is he even seen in games.

Now with Rueter back on the DL, Brower may get calls to start again. For now, he's back in the bullpen, but he's never minded it. His role is needed more in the bullpen for long relief emergencies since Chad Zerbe is also on the DL. Dustin Hermanson has done well for the Giants as a starter in Rueter's place, so Brower will be needed in the bullpen more than in the starting rotation. There aren't too many pitchers you can toss back and forth between the bullpen and the starting rotation who can willingly excel at their performance like Brower does every time.

His approach every time he gets on the mound is the same: get the batter out. He doesn't mix it up or make it too difficult for himself. He was calmer than calm in his first start this season against the Cardinals, one of the top offensive teams in the NL, limiting them to only one run. Felipe Alou was expecting and asking for around four innings from Brower, but Brower went a strong six. Impressive, very impressive.

Brower doesn't throw a fit when he's sent back to the bullpen.. He doesn't throw a fit for anything. He understands when he is needed and that he is placed wherever the team thinks he should be, and where he can help his team out the most. I think it takes more for a pitcher to be able to switch back and forth than a pitcher who has a set job as a starter or a reliever. It's all mental. Pitchers should not have to complain when they need to be sent back to the bullpen, and Brower has definitely not done any whining... Better yet, he's done his share of damage on other teams to help the Giants win.

If Brower continues his spectacular performance on the mound, I can start yelling, "Buzz Lightyear to the rescue!" Please share that moment with me.

On Deck: Rich Aurilia

Sara Kwan was born in San Francisco and raised in the Bay Area. She currently writes game recaps, other articles, and is the Giant Prophet for SFDugout.com. Any comments or questions about the article, baseball, or the meaning of life can be sent to Sara at kwanchino@alpha-q.net

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