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A lot of baseball people didn't really take much out of the Giants' signing of Brad Penny last week. He struggled through most of the season in Boston and I don't think anyone really expected much out of him the rest of the way. However, he's shown up in San Francisco and has gone above and beyond the Giants expectations of him over his first two starts.Penny followed up his Giants debut start last Wednesday, in which he held the potent Philly offense scoreless over 8 innings, with a 7 inning, 2 run, 6 strikeout victory over the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park on Monday afternoon. Penny is looking very NL West, and really strengthens the back-end of the Giants rotation with Randy Johnson on the shelf. The big right-hander looks strong and motivated and I'm really expecting him to keep up his solid performances over the season's final 3 weeks. In fact, he's looked so strong in his 2 outings with the Giants, that he's going to get strong consideration for a post-season rotation spot if the Giants do indeed make the playoffs. Obviously they'll have Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum as their first two starters, and I'd expect Barry Zito to get a start after the way he's thrown in the second half of the year, then they'd likely look to Penny as the fourth man. Randy Johnson has stated that he expects to return to the team before the season ends, but he'll do so as a reliever. Penny could also enter the bullpen in the postseason if the Giants make it and decide to go a 3-man rotation in the NLDS. There is a ton a of baseball to be played still though, and this is all speculation and optimistic planning on my part, but the Giants have some depth in their rotation and it could leave them with a lights-out bullpen in October if they can manage to make it. Another new development happening with the ballclub is Bruce Bochy switching up the defensive spots a little bit. Pablo Sandoval has been battling a few nagging Juan Uribe is the hottest Giants hitter going right now, and now that Freddy Sanchez is back, the only way he can be kept in the lineup on a daily basis is if he starts at third. Uribe has gone 9-for-25 with 4 homers, 8 RBI, and 6 runs scored over the last week. He's quietly putting together a very nice season as a utility guy, and I really don't think the Giants are in the position they currently are if Juan Uribe is not on this team. His overall season numbers don't jump out at you too much (.282, 12 home runs, 40 RBI), but he puts up numbers when it matters and has been one of the Giants most clutch hitters in 2009. A good indicator of how valuable he's been to the Giants is his .816 OPS which isn't earth shattering, but is good for second on the Giants behind Pablo Sandoval.
Notes: Buster Posey, who was called up about a week ago when Bengie Molina and Pablo Sandoval were both unavailable to catch, is still looking to make his big league debut. I'm a little surprised Bochy hasn't just thrown him out as a pinch hitter or something, but I fully expect Posey to get his feet wet a little up here before the end of the season... Madison Bumgarner also got called up, in a surprising move, on Tuesday. Bumgarner is the Giants' top pitching prospect and has been nothing short of dominant in his 2 years in the minors. It's still unclear as to what Bumgarner's role will be right off the bat, but apparently Tim Lincecum has a sore back which may force him to miss a start and Bumgarner could slip into his spot. That's just speculation on our part, but it's pretty exciting to see both the teams elite prospects arrive at the major league level at the same time!
Trevor Cole The Giants Baseball Blog