Opening day is about a week away, and the Giants have a lot of key decisions ahead of them this week. At least one of those decisions could be announced today. Other decisions might not come until the 11th hour of spring training.
Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle has his own take on what the 25-man roster will look like when the season opens. You can look at his predictions here.
To sum up Schulman’s picks: Eli Whiteside is the backup catcher over Buster Posey; the Giants go outfield-heavy with John Bowker, Eugenio Velez and Andres Torres making the team; Matt Downs goes to Fresno; Fred Lewis is likely gone altogether and Todd Wellemeyer is the No. 5 starting pitcher.
Schulman may find out if he’s right on Wellemeyer on Monday. The Giants are expected to announce their choice for the No. 5 spot.
As for Posey, GM Brian Sabean seemed to hint that Posey could make the Opening 25 during Thursday’s Giants broadcast. However, he then seemed to clarify — sort of — those remarks to MLB.com’s Chris Haft on Friday.
Sabaen said Thursday that the Giants likely would take Posey north. But that could only mean that he would remain with the team through the preseason series against the A’s in the Bay Area and the Easter game at AT&T Park against the Mariners. Then, he could be sent to Fresno.
“We’ll keep him to the end,” Sabaen told Haft on Friday. “I don’t know that the actual decision will need to go to the end. I think, internally, we know what we’re going to do. But obviously we’re going to hold that close to the vest because it’s subject to change and you never know what might happen.”
Ah, well, that just cleared up everything. So stay tuned on the catcher position.
OUTFIELD SHUFFLE: According to Schulman’s roster, the Giants will carry John Bowker, Nate Schierholtz, Eugenio Velez and Andres Torres on the Opening 25.
That would leave the Giants short on infielders, until Freddy Sanchez is set to return. But Mark DeRosa’s ability to play the infield, as well as Velez’s, give the Giants options.
As far as the starter in right field, the situation remains cloudy. Nate Schierholtz continues to tinker with his swing. On Sunday, in a minor-league, he threw off the battling gloves and went back to swinging bare-handed.
Meanwhile, the Giants were trying to figure out if John Bowker deserved a shot to start. He started in right field on Sunday. But there have also been discussions of starting Mark DeRosa in right, even though he hasn’t played an inning there at all this spring. Starting DeRosa in right would allow Bowker to start in left.
This decision likely won’t come until the Giants return to San Francisco on Thursday. Play close attention to who is playing right field at AT&T Park when the Giants face the A’s on Thursday and Friday. By the way, both games are on the MLB Network.
There are three things the Giants could do this week with Fred Lewis, and none of them likely are keeping him on the opening day roster. One, they could find a partner to complete a trade with. Two, they would place him the DL. He’s been battling a strained rib cab. Three, they could designate him for assignment, i.e. cut him.
CAIN IS ABLE: Like Lincecum will do later this week, Matt Cain pitched against minor leaguers on Sunday. Why? So that he wouldn’t face an NL West opponent so close to the regular season. The Giants played the Padres on Sunday.
Cain pitched five no-hit inning against Giants Double-A players before giving up three runs in the sixth. He finished with a solid seventh inning.