Less than three hours before the 2 pm, April 4th deadline for MLB teams to announce their 25-man, 2012 opening day roster, San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy met with reporters to give them the final verdict on who made the team, who's getting sent down to kick it with the Fresno Grizzlies, and who's giving the Giants jersey up for good.
Giants fans have been fretting mostly about five 2012 decisions:
1. Buster Posey's back-up catcher
2. The identity of short stop
3. The pitchers fated to fill the few vacant slots in the bullpen
4. Brett Pill
5. Brandon Belt
Here's what happened:
Back-up Catcher: Mr. Bochy & Co. decided to ditch the idea of going with three catchers after spring training proved that Mr. Posey could not only catch back-to-back games, he could make it through nine innings without a twinge from last year's injury. That left Chris Stewart, Eli Whiteside, and newbie Hector Sanchez all scrapping for the single back-up catcher position.
The winner was Mr. Sanchez, mainly, according to Mr. Bochy, because the guy knows his way around a bat; if Giants need one thing, it's more hitters, not more catchers. Chris Stewart is off to play back-up catcher for the New York Yankees (sob) on a trade deal that brings the Giants 26 year-old pitcher George Kontos. Eli Whiteside was sent down to Fresno to catch for the Grizzlies.
Short Stop: Brandon Crawford. In fact, he has the position all to his lonesome right now -- there isn't anyone slated as a back-up. By God, don't get injured, B. Craw.
Bullpen: The Giants bullpen features mostly all the same guys -- with or without beards -- as last year with two additions: Dan Otero and Clay Hensley. Steve Edlefsen is on his way back to Fresno.
Brett Pill: According to Mr. Bochy, Mr. Pill made the club partly on the strength of his defense, but mainly because of his ability to connect his bat with the ball. The 2012 Giants aren't making any bones about going aggressively after hitters who can prevent another 2011-like string of hit droughts.
Brandon Belt: The Baby Giraffe is in San Francisco for good, and on first base, even! With Mr. Belt on first, Aubrey Huff will be spending a good deal of time out in left field. And, with another guy in the outfield, the pressure is on Nate Schierholtz to prove that he's worth keeping around. (He is.)
Other brand-spanking new Giants include Gregor Blanco, Ryan Theriot, Melky Cabrera, and Angel Pagan.