Mike Fontenot’s release provides hint of other Giants’ roster decisions

I have a photo that I use as the wallpaper on my computer.

It’s an image of 14 Giants converging on the mound to celebrate the final out of the 2010 World Series.

When the Giants opening spring training this year, five of those players in the photo were not longer with the team: Eugenio Velez, Mark DeRosa, Pat Burrell, Jonathan Sanchez and Travis Ishikawa.

On Friday, the Giants added another name to that list … Mike Fontenot.

The decision to cut the middle infielder came as a surprise to many Giants fans.

“(Roster cuts are) always tough, and Mike in particular,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s very popular. I talked to him, thanked him for all he did to help us. With how the numbers were falling, we just couldn’t find a spot.”

Bochy said three factors played into the decision to release Fontenot: 1, The strong spring of Emmanuel Burriss, who now looks to be the starting 2B; 2, Fontenot’s .227 average last year; 3, the need for more right-handed bats in the lineup, and that led the Giants to pick Ryan Theriot over Fontenot.

Friday was the day to decide on guarantee contracts. So the Giants released Fontenot, while Theriot and Clay Hensley had their deals guaranteed.

Even with that, Bochy wasn’t tipping his hand on what players will make the 25-man roster. He wouldn’t even confirm that Theriot and Hensley were on the team.

“You can speculate on that,” he said. “It’s not my place to say something now.”

Going off the assumption that the Giants will break camp with 13 positions players, here’s how the opening day lineup could look like:
1B: Aubrey Huff; 2B: Emmanuel Burriss; SS: Brandon Crawford; 3B Pablo Sandoval; C: Buster Posey; OF: Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan and Nate Schierholtz.

And we can also assume two of the five bench spots are locked in: Theriot and OF Gregor Blanco.

Another bench spot will be for the backup catcher: Eli Whiteside, Chris Stewart, or even possibly, Hector Sanchez.

That leaves two more spots.

Bochy said the staff is leaning toward keeping a fourth middle infielder, which means Joaquin Arias is in line to make the club.

If that happens, there’s one spot left … for Brandon Belt or Brett Pill.

Both players can play 1B or OF, although Pill played 3B in a minor-league game on Friday.

Also possible, the Giants could keep Hector Sanchez as a third catch and send both Belt and Pill to Fresno.

OTHER MOVES: The Giants also sent three players officially to the disabled list: 2B Freddy Sanchez, P Dan Runzler and P Ryan Vogelsong.


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