With about 2 1/2 weeks of Cactus league play left, some of the Giants' roster questions are starting to become more clear, but now they have another one. The biggest uncertainty that faces the Giants as they round out the Cactus league is who will start the season with Noah Lowry's spot in the starting rotation. The Giants rotation is supposed to be the teams strength, but Lowry, their number three starter and their top winner from a year ago had surgery just last Thursday and isn't expected to start the season in the Giants rotation. It looks like Pat Misch may have a leg up on Jonathon Sanchez for the opening at this point, but both guys will have about 3 more starts until anything is determined. Misch continues to have a good spring while Sanchez is still trying to figure out his mechanics. The Lowry injury has also apparently staled whatever conversations the Giants have had with the White Sox about Joe Crede. Brian Sabean was asked about the chances of pursuing Crede after the Lowry injury and he basically said that they have just gotten a lot slimmer.
The Giants bullpen and even their infield situation is starting to play itself out. The bullpen, something I have ripped Sabean about forever, looks like it could actually be serviceable. Eric Threets has been absolutely dominant in his 4 outings this spring, showing improved command without losing anything off of his 98 mph fastball. He just keeps getting stronger with each outing, with his last one ending by striking out the side in order on Sunday. I don't see any reason not to give him a roster spot at this point. The same can be said for Merkin Valdez. He is carrying a 1.80 era through five innings this spring and has been very hard to hit. Their is room for both Threets and Valdez in the bullpen and their isn't going to be a better time than now to see if they both can stick or not.
The left side of the Giants infield may also have a completely different look to start the season. Coming into the spring, they had their shortstop in place in Omar Vizquel and there was plenty of talk about Joe Crede joining the Orange and Black to play 3rd. If not Crede at third, then it was going to be Rich Aurilia or Kevin Frandsen, right? Well, Omar Vizquel is out for another month as he recovers from knee surgery, so he isn't going to be there on opening day. As I said earlier, the Lowry injury has all but killed any chances of trading for Joe Crede, so scratch that idea (at least to start the season). The two guys who have been seeing the most playing time in those positions are Eugenio Velez (3B) and Brian Bocock (SS). The 22- year old Bocock has played flawless defense at short this spring and is playing himself onto the 25-man roster. Velez has been the talk of the camp so far as far as young positional talent goes. He hasn't been flawless defensively at third, but he has been the Giants best offensive player this spring and he has certainly put his name in the mix as a candidate to play 3rd base for this team. I still think Bochy will go with either Aurilia or Frandsen there to open the season, but don't be surprised if Velez is getting consistent at-bats as a third basemen by the middle of April.
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