Position Battle Update - March 15th

As important as first base is, the battle is slowing down significantly. But a couple of important contenders are back in the swing (and pitch) of things.

Position: First Base
The Contenders:
Rich Aurilia – 2-9, 1 RBI, 1 SO
Ryan Klesko – 1-2, 1 RBI, 1 SO
Mark Sweeney – 0-6, 1 SO, 1 BB
Lance Niekro – 2-8, 1 R, 2 SO, 1 E

Did Well: Ryan Klesko.  Simply getting healthy was a big enough step up, but his one game performance was one of the few bright spots in a poor stint by all the candidates.

Did not so well: Mark Sweeney.  No one was blowing anyone away, but Sweeney was hitless in the week, which does not help his cause for playing time.

The battle so far: First base may be the most important position to be battled over, as it could really be a swing spot in the batting order.  However, no one is really stepping up to claim it, and that's not good at all.

 

Position: 5th Starter
The Contenders:
Russ Ortiz –3.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO, 1 HR, 1 WP
Jonathan Sanchez – DNP
Tim Lincecum – 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO
Brad Hennessey – 4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 WP, 1 HBP
Kevin Correia – 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO

Did well: Tim Lincecum.  Lincecum bounced back from his debut by absolutely dominating on Sunday.

Did not so well: Kevin Correia.  Russ Ortiz had some problems in his Wednesday outing, but Correia didn't look too well in a relief spot.

The battle so far: Ortiz is really in control of this one.  Lincecum is the closest competitor, but his send-down to Fresno seems pre-ordained.  Lincecum may reach the majors in the very near future, but this is looking like Ortiz's job.

 

Position: Backing Up Bonds
The Contenders:
Ryan Klesko – 1-2, 1 RBI, 1 SO
Mark Sweeney – 0-6, 1 SO, 1 BB
Todd Linden – 2-8, 2 SO, 3 BB

Did well: Klesko, again.  Getting healthy really opens this battle back up.

Did not so well: Sweeney, also again.  Linden has cooled somewhat, but he was still getting on base at a respectable rate these past four days.

The battle so far: Linden has excited people this year, and his ability to draw walks after a mini-slump early in the week is only more encouraging.  Klesko is back, now he has to prove his ability to be in the outfield (again).

 

Position: Closer
The Contenders:
Armando Benitez – 2.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO
Brian Wilson – 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO
Billy Sadler – 0.2 P, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 SO

Did well: Armando Benitez.  Wilson did a good job this year, but Benitez's return was the news of the week and put him back near the top.

Did not so well: No one, really.  Everyone was effective.  Sadler was the least effective, but only because he got just one short inning to work in.

The battle so far: Well, it's a battle finally.  Armando's return makes this more interesting, and the scouts that were there confirmed that.  However, Wilson has been nothing but effective recently, if not blowing hitters away with strikeouts, so this could be a tough battle.

 

Positions: Utility Guys (Up to 3 spots)
The Contenders:
Todd Linden – 2-8, 2 SO, 3 BB
Kevin Frandsen – 0-10, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 CS, 1 PO
Jason Ellison – 1-10, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 SO
Fred Lewis – 1-5, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 SO

Did Well: Linden.  Too bad he'll be the front runner in other races.

Did not so well: Kevin Frandsen.  He didn't even get hit by a pitch, so he must really be slumping.

The battle so far: This battle has cooled off lately.  Ellison has cooled off considerably, which only makes his .500 batting average more impressive.  Lewis had some good times, but he'll have to prove some more positional versatility to be a utility guy.

 

Position: Bullpen Non-Closers (4 spots)
The Contenders:
Armando Benitez – 2.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO
Brian Wilson – 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO
Billy Sadler – 0.2 P, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 SO
Brad Hennessey – 4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 WP, 1 HBP
Kevin Correia – 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO
Russ Ortiz –3.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO, 1 HR, 1 WP
Jonathan Sanchez – DNP
Scott Munter – 2.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 WP
Jack Taschner – 0.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO
Erick Threets – 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO
Pat Misch – 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO, 1 BS

Did well: Erick Threets (outside of the closer candidates).  Threets looked good in one inning of work, but that's also a function of other players having problems.

Did not so well: Jack Taschner.  2005 feels a long way away.

The battle so far: The young pitchers have really not done much to win spots, with Munter and Taschner likely to use up their final options sometime this year, probably before Spring Training is over.  Correia may be needed in the setup rotation sooner rather than later.

Position: Fresno's Outfield
The Contenders:
Fred Lewis – 1-5, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 SO
Nate Schierholtz – 2-6, 1 SO; Reassigned to Minor League Camp
Dan Ortmeier – 2-3, 1 R; Reassigned to Minor League Camp
Eddy Martinez-Esteve – DNP; Reassigned to Minor League Camp
Clay Timpner – 0-3, 1 SO; Reassigned to Minor League Camp

Did well: Dan Ortmeier.  Ortmeier's looking more like the only guy who combined 20 home runs with 20 stolen bases in the Eastern League in 2005 than the guy who had problems in 2006.

Did not so well: Clay Timpner.  Timpner wasn't getting much playing time, but he didn't do much with it.

The battle so far: This battle has all but been moved to minor league camp with games there beginning.  But Schierholtz, Ortmeier and Lewis appear to have the inside tracks on these spots.
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