Brian Wilson has dominated the back-end of the Giants' bullpen since 2008, saving at least 36 games each year from '08 to '11.
However, Tommy John surgery ended Wilson's season last year after just two appearances. Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, Clay Hensley, Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo all got saves in his absence. Although Casilla got the most opportunities due to his hard fastball, Sergio Romo stole the position late in the year with his sub-two era.
Bruce Bochy has came out and iterated the job will be Romo's in 2012. At FanFest he said:
“Sergio, just the way he threw the ball at the end of last season, he earned the right to be out there as we start the season.”
The only concern for the Giants is how the heavy workload in 2012 will affect his arm this year. His 27 appearances last year are only two less than the previous two seasons combined, and pitching all the way through the World Series means his arm has had less time to recover.
“At the same time, we’d like to to watch his workload to make sure we keep him healthy.”
Sergio Romo is currently pitching for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. While him pitching does not necessarily concern the front office and management staff, how he is being used should.
Romo threw 26 pitches during Thursday's game against Italy, while allowing three hits, two runs and blowing the save. Romo then played the following day as well, tossing 13 pitches in the save against USA.
The 26 pitches on Thursday would have been the third highest total in all of 2012 including playoffs, and he received three off-days before his next appearance after both longer outings.
According to Henry Schulman of SFGate.com, Bruce Bochy contacted Romo after his long outing and asked him to be honest with the Mexican team's staff; should he feel any discomfort in his arm, he needed to pull himself out of harms way.
After speaking with the Giants' closer, Bochy said:
"He was ready to go back-to-back games."
It's believed that after blowing the save, Romo felt the desire to get back on the mound and make up for his poor inning.
With several potential more games for Mexico, largely dependent on the outcome of the match currently in-play, Romo's innings count might be something the Giants need to monitor closely going forward.