It’s been a week since the Giants began Cactus League competition to kick off the 2016 baseball year. While these games don’t mean much in terms of overall standing or whether or not you are playoff bound, these games still matter. They are meaningful in that it’s a new beginning for everyone.
Whether you a rookie looking to put your name on the map, someone coming off a down year and looking to rebound, or someone coming off a strong year and looking to replicate that success, these Spring Training games matter. And while the Giants are 4-5 in the first week of play, there are a few players to be concerned about in the early going.
General manager Bobby Evans and his front office staffed worked hard this offseason to revamp their starting rotation by adding Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. The two were added to provide a significant boost in innings in an effort to give their bullpen more rest. That along with the hopes that Jake Peavy and Matt Cain would return to form to create one of the best rotations in all of baseball.
Unfortunately, as has been the case the past few years, Cain had a setback right before game started and had a cyst removed from his throwing arm. Cain is still about a week away, and yesterday it was mentioned he may be questionable for the seasons first week if he does not get back on the mound within the next week.
Manager Bruce Bochy seems to be slow playing his main guys, and for good reason given it is quite a long season, but the Giants in general are already going through some injury concerns.
Cain is not the only pitcher injured. Prized free agent Johnny Cueto, signed to a six year $130 million deal was scratched from his first start. Bochy stated Cueto was fine and they were just backing off him given his extended season last year, but Cueto made his Giants debut yesterday and it was not pretty. He lasted just 1 1/3 innings and allowed four runs. While still early, a scratched start and a rough first outing is obviously at the top of many minds in the Giants braintrust.
Fellow free agent signee Denard Span has yet to play the field, mainly serving as a designated hitter. And his outfield counterpart, Angel Pagan, just began appearing in games yesterday. Right fielder Hunter Pence is expected to make his spring training debut on Friday after dealing with an achilles injury.
And it doesn’t stop there. Shortstop Brandon Crawford has been dealing with a sore should and just started playing the field yesterday as well. Speaking of shoulders, reliever Sergio Romo is behind schedule with an undisclosed shoulder injury himself, and is expected to enter a game after throwing a couple more bullpen sessions.
Spring Training is long, in fact a little too long. By the third week of games players are over it, and you can’t blame them- 162 regular season games following roughly thirty Spring Training games. So while Bochy is being mindful of the long season ahead based on past experience of seeing his own players wear down as the year progresses, several Giants players are behind schedule.
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