On the first day of official workouts, Bruce Bochy has a good idea of how the pecking order in his new-look bullpen will shake out.
But, just because the San Francisco Giants manager has a plan penciled in, that doesn’t mean he wants to share it now.
“Roles are earned,” Bochy told reporters in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Mark Melancon is locked into the ninth inning, but Bochy has plenty of options for how to deploy his relief arms to bridge the gap between the starters and the new stopper.
Derek Law and Hunter Strickland are the frontrunners to become Melancon’s top right-handed deputies, while Will Smith is entrenched as the club’s No. 1 left-hander. Aside from Smith, lefties Josh Osich and Steven Okert will be angling for prominent roles.
“About halfway to the last third of spring we’ll have hopefully these things defined,” Bochy said. “And defined does not mean one guy just gets this inning, one guy gets that inning because we’ll have some good left-handers to go with the right-handers. But at least try to define them to the point that they’ll have a good idea what their job is.”
On Tuesday, the Giants also added David Hernandez to the bullpen competition, inking the right-hander to a minor league deal, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Hernandez will push the likes of George Kontos and Cory Gearrin for one of the final relief jobs.
The 31-year-old, who will make $1.5 million if he cracks the roster, is an intriguing flier for the Giants. Hernandez has a history of producing big-time swing-and-miss numbers, posting a strikeout-per-nine ratio of 9.9 while pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2016. His best season came back in 2012 when he put up a 2.50 ERA and a 12.9 K/9 in 72 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Cueto’s arrival remains TBD
The Giants still don’t know when Johnny Cueto will arrive in camp, according to a report from CSN Bay Area.
Cueto is home in the Dominican Republic taking care of his ill father and has been throwing at the club’s academy on the island in the interim. When Cueto does make it to the Giants’ facility it might not be for long, as he’s scheduled to pitch for his home country in the World Baseball Classic beginning early in March.
Casilla misses first day of camp
Over in Mesa, ex-Giant Santiago Casilla was absent from the Oakland Athletics’ pitchers and catchers reporting day on Tuesday. The right-hander, who agreed to a two-year deal with the A’s on Jan. 20, has been held up by a delay in visa paperwork, per MLB.com. Casilla is expected to arrive in Arizona later in the week.
Vogt finds lack of respect ‘frustrating’
After back-to-back last place finishes in the American League West, the A’s are measuring a zero on the preseason hype meter. Stephen Vogt, the club’s two-time All-Star catcher, doesn’t agree with the lack of buzz.
— John Hickey (@JHickey3) February 14, 2017
“It’s frustrating that people don’t give us a little more credit,” Vogt told reporters. “I think we know how good we can be if we’re healthy and guys pitch the way they’re capable of and I think this lineup’s going to put up a lot of runs. So, our bullpen is solid and our starters have a lot of potential to be consistent and to be really, really good this year.”
The starting rotation — the group that Vogt will be tasked with guiding — provides the strongest reason for optimism. Sonny Gray and Kendall Graveman anchor the staff, while high-upside youngsters Sean Manaea and Jharel Cotton will look to establish themselves in their first full seasons.
“We’re excited and we try not to pay attention to everybody kind of counting you out,” Vogt said. “But at the same time, when no one’s even talking about you, that’s when you can really sneak up on some people and ruin some other team’s seasons.”
Phegley back at 100 percent
After a knee injury wrecked his 2016 season, Josh Phegley begins spring training with “no restrictions,” according to CSN Bay Area.
The backstop had what was supposed to be a minor surgery on his left knee on July 5, but complications from the procedure kept him off the diamond for the final three months of the season. The right-handed hitting Phegley makes an ideal complement to Vogt in manager Bob Melvin’s platoon-happy offense.
There’s a chance that Phegley could end up as one of three catchers on the roster, as Bruce Maxwell impressed during his late-season cameo (slashing .283/.337/.402 in 33 games). Carrying the trio of catchers would allow Melvin to utilize Vogt at first base, outfield and the designated hitter’s spot. Phegley and Maxwell could also see time at DH.