It was only the first game of the spring, and you can't take anything too seriously at this point, but there weren't many positives going on for the Giants Thursday afternoon in Scottsdale. In fact, it was so ugly by the 3rd inning that Jon Miller and Duane Kuiper started discussing the Academy Awards. The offense, the area of the team that everyone is wondering about, looked stale and went down quickly and quietly through the first 4 innings. They were, however, without 5/8 of their projected opening day lineup missing Ray Durham (hamstring), Omar Vizquel (knee) and Bengie Molina (back). Randy Winn hit a bomb in the first inning and Aaron Rowand had a couple solid single in his first un-official at-bats as a Giant but that was about it for the starters. The young hitters did a little better later on in the game. Eugenio Velez flashed some of his speed and offensive ability with an RBI triple in the sixth, something he had a knack for doing with the Giants late last year. Freddie Lewis also tripled, scored a run and reached base 3 times.
The pitching struggled throughout most of the day. Noah Lowry and Kevin Corriea did not pitch well at all. Lowry didn't last his 2 scheduled innings as he struggled with his control, and Corriea gave up 5 runs in his inning of work and also had to leave without getting in 2 innings of work. The first four pitchers together gave up 9 runs on 12 hits through the first 4 innings. The defense made a few errors that led to some runs. Scott McClain booted a ball at 3rd base, Josh Leone made a throwing error and Kevin Frandsen wasn't able to get to a playable ball up the middle which also led to a run.
The Giants announced Tuesday that Omar Vizquel would be out between 4-6 weeks after undergoing knee surgery on Wednesday. Kevin Frandsen is expected to assume most of the duties at short (started there Thursday) until Vizquel returns, but Frandsen is a below average defensive shortstop. Vizquel is 41 years old and plays a position that is very demanding, a knee surgery at this point may take him a little longer to recover from than it would have 10 years ago, so I'd say a return by the opening week of the season would be a little doubtful. If that's the case, the Giants may want to consider finding someone else to handle shortstop, at least part time. One thought may be allowing one of the other shortstops on the 40-man roster Brian Bocock, Manny Burris or Alex Ochoa to start the year with the team. Another possibility could be to add someone from outside the organization. The team is actively pursuing the White Sox's Joe Crede and they may be able to obtain Juan Uribe as well. That could make some sense for the Giants if they could unload Ray Durham onto the White Sox, allowing Frandsen to move to second, Crede to start at third and Uribe to handle short until Vizquel is ready. Once Vizquel returns, Uribe could obtain a utility role as he's experienced at both shortstop and second base and can play 3rd in a pinch.
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