Spring Training Update – March 12

Spring Training in rolling, and the Giants are starting to get into the swing of things. See how the Giants are doing, and get updates on all the battles for roster spots.

Game Results:
Tuesday, March 8th: San Francisco 5, Texas 1
Wednesday, March 9th: Oakland 5, San Francisco 1
Thursday March 10th: San Francisco 7, Arizona 2
Friday, March 11th: Milwaukee 3, San Francisco 2

Top Performer(s): Projected Giants Rotation: Jason Schmidt, Noah Lowry, Kirk Rueter & Brett Tomko
Combined: 13 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, 0 HR

Giants hitters had an up and down week, but the starting pitchers have had an excellent week. Only Brett Tomko allowed runs, giving up 2 runs in 4 innings. Everyone else went 3 innings and gave up only scattered hits and walks. It was known that, despite receiving several trade offers over the offseason, the Giants wanted to keep Schmidt, Rueter, Tomko, Lowry and Jerome Williams as their starting 5. That decision is looking good so far.

Most Disconcerting Performance: Giant Offense vs. the A’s
Combined: 3 for 29, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K

No one has been particularly slow this spring, and the offense has been particularly moody, doing very well one day but not so well the next. But the game against the Athletics, and one of their rookie starters Dan Meyer, was one of the coldest ones during the hot spring. Ray Durham had a leadoff double, but the Giants did not manage another hit until Pedro Feliz’s home run in the 7th. It is just the spring, but one would hope that the Giant offense not stay so temperamental

Position Battle Update:

Reserve Utility Job:
Jason Ellison: 7 G, 2 for 13 (.154), 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 CS
Todd Linden: 8 G, 4 for 20 (.200), 1 2B, 6 RBI
Tony Torcato: 4 G, 5 for 9 (.556), 3 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB
Lance Niekro: 7 G, 4 for 14 (.286), 2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI
Brian Dallimore: 9 G, 7 for 17 (.412), 2 2B, 4 R, 4 RBI, 2 CS

Felipe Alou has gone on record as saying that the last position job is Jason Ellison’s to lose, but that doesn’t mean he can’t. Ellison made a few headlines hitting a Grand Slam in the 9th inning to seal the win against the Diamondbacks on Thursday, but it was only his 2nd hit of the spring. His biggest competition has been Todd Linden, who had a hot start but has cooled off slightly this week. Also in the outfield picture is Tony Torcato, who is out of options and would have to clear waivers to return to Fresno. Torcatos has good stats so far, but his lack of playing time has to indicate something.

However, the infielders are not out of the picture. As Pedro Feliz (10 for 23, 2 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI) continues to perform strong and play well in the outfield, the Giants may decide to rely on him as a primary outfield backup and give the extra spot to one of the hot hitting infielders. Brian Dallimore, who can back up any infield spot, is playing strong, continuing to be a big part of Giant wins and comebacks all spring. However, since he is not on the 40 man roster, he’ll have to overwhelm to be placed back on it and make the 25 man roster. Lance Niekro, who can play the corners, has also done well so far, but not so hot that he’ll make the Giants do something drastic.

Bullpen Jobs:
Jesse Foppert: 2 G, 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 0.00 ERA
Tyler Walker: 3 G, 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 3.00 ERA
Brad Hennessey: 2 G, 2.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 HBP, 5 BB, 1 SO, 10.13 ERA
Wayne Franklin: 3 G, 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 SO, 1 SV, 0.00 ERA
Jeremy Fikac: 3 G, 2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 3.38 ERA
Jeff Fassero: 2 G, 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 HBP, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
David Aardsma: 1 G, 1.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 HR, 0 BB, 1 SO, 27.00 ERA

The biggest question about the bullpen remains whether or not the Giants will stick to keeping Foppert in the bullpen, or have him start in Fresno. Foppert has been approving of working the bullpen for now in the media, and he’s performed very well so far, so he’s the top choice for one of the bullpen spots.

Behind him, things look more muddled. Tyler Walker has pitched solidly, as has Jeff Fassero. But neither has been overwhelming. Wayne Franklin, meanwhile, has had one of the more interesting springs. He hasn’t given up any runs nor hits, and has garnered a save, but he’s been a touch wild at the same time. Many fans were surprised when the Giants resigned him to an incentive laden minor league contract, and they may be surprised again if Franklin sneaks onto the 25 man roster.

David Aardsma is still a wild card. He’s coming back from some shoulder tendonitis, and gave up a home run, but it was just his first outing. If Giant pitchers continue the trend they’ve had after rough first outings, Aardsma may be lights out from here on out. There’s plenty of time to turn things around.

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