2012 SF Giants Roster Report -- UPDATED

2012 SF Giants Roster Report -- UPDATED

The Giants' three biggest health questions involved Buster Posey, Freddy Sanchez and Brian Wilson, and only Sanchez appears headed for the DL because his surgically replaced shoulder isn't sound. With Posey behind the plate and Wilson at closer, the Giants would be far more dangerous than the team that ended last season.

Throw in additions Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan, and the Giants are entering the season anticipating a run to the postseason similar to 2010.

ROTATION:

1. RHP Tim Lincecum
2. LHP Madison Bumgarner
3. RHP Matt Cain
4. LHP Barry Zito
5. RHP Ryan Vogelsong

The rotation, among the best in the majors, won't have Vogelsong when the season opens. He'll likely begin on the DL after getting a slow start to spring training because of a back ailment. No problem, really. The Giants don't need a fifth starter until the ninth game on April 15.

Lincecum has a new two-year, $40.5 million contract, and Cain will make $15 million and is eligible for free agency next winter. The Giants were hoping to extend his deal before opening day, but Cain is hinting he wants to go on the open market. As the season starts, it could be an ongoing story.

BULLPEN:

RHP Brian Wilson (closer)
RHP Sergio Romo
RHP Santiago Casilla
LHP Jeremy Affeldt
LHP Javier Lopez
RHP Guillermo Mota
RHP Clay Hensley

Wilson seems OK after being shut down late last season with a bum elbow and rehabbing most of the offseason. Romo had a "cranky elbow" (manager Bruce Bochy's words) during spring training but vows to be ready for the opener. Affeldt and Lopez were re-signed to maintain a dangerous lefty presence, and their training camps have been hiccup-free.

Hensley was signed to be a long reliever. Hard-throwing prospect Heath Hembree was impressive in exhibitions and likely will open as Class AAA Fresno's closer, just a phone call away from the big leagues.

LINEUP:

1. CF Angel Pagan
2. LF Melky Cabrera
3. 3B Pablo Sandoval
4. C Buster Posey
5. 1B Aubrey Huff
6. RF Nate Schierholtz
7. 2B Ryan Theriot
8. SS Brandon Crawford

Pagan and Cabrera arrived in trades to boost an anemic offense, and Cabrera clearly had a better spring training than Pagan, who's replacing Andres Torres, who had a solid 2010 but struggled in 2011 and was shipped to the Mets in the Pagan deal. A healthy Posey, whose season-ending leg injuries in May drastically hurt the Giants' playoff chances, will be a difference-maker.

Without Freddy Sanchez, who's expected to open on the DL because his shoulder isn't 100 percent, Theriot is a likely replacement, though Mike Fontenot and Emmanuel Burriss are candidates for playing time. Crawford's chances of sticking at short will increase if he's able to hit in the .250 range.

RESERVES:

C Chris Stewart or C Eli Whiteside
OF Gregor Blanco
INF Mike Fontenot
INF Emmanuel Burriss
1B Brett Pill or 1B Brandon Belt

The Giants like Pill's right-handed pop off the bench, so Belt could be headed to Class AAA Fresno, where he'd be able to play every day. Belt is the first baseman of the future, but Aubrey Huff has one more year on an expensive contract, albeit with a shorter leash than last year. Stewart and Whiteside have had a good battle for the backup catcher's job -- neither is a potent hitter, but pitchers like throwing to both.

Blanco, who signed a minor league deal, has played so well on offense and defense -- supplying a needed element of speed -- that manager Bruce Bochy hinted the outfielder could be a starter, which puts pressure on Nate Schierholtz. Burriss is out of options, and his solid training camp makes him a near lock to make the roster.

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