Guzman’s first Giants project: First base

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Jesus Guzman, who has impressed the Giants this spring with his hitting while dismaying them with his fielding, has played first base for three days in a row in Minor League exhibitions as the organization strives to find a position he can handle adequately.

“He can get nine innings of learning the peripherals of first-base play,” manager Bruce Bochy said Tuesday.

Guzman has virtually no chance of making the Opening Day roster despite hitting .404 this spring. Not only has he looked inadequate defensively at first base and third base and in left field, but he also has played only 15 games above the Double-A level. Polished as Guzman seems at the plate, he must prove himself in all phases of the game.

Other items of note from Tuesday:

– Nate Schierholtz’s third-inning home run in the Giants’ 7-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks gave San Francisco at least one homer in 22 of its 29 Cactus League games. The Giants entered the afternoon with 37 homers, second in the Majors to Kansas City’s 41.

– Matt Cain lasted only five innings but was effective when necessary, stranding five runners in scoring position while yielding two runs and seven hits. “I probably felt more relaxed and comfortable toward the end. Sometimes it works that way,” said Cain, who struck out five during his 90-pitch outing.

– Closer Brian Wilson worked the ninth inning and allowed his first run in 10 spring appearances, though it was unearned. Bochy has been pleased with Wilson’s use of a changeup to complement his fastball and slider. “That can be a big pitch for him if he gets comfortable with it and feels like he can throw it anytime,” Bochy said.

– The Giants have re-signed right-hander Matt Kinney, who will pitch at Triple-A Fresno. Kinney, who pitched for the Giants in 2005, gives them more Minor League depth.

– Chris Haft

5 Comments

Let’s hope Guzman can learn to play a position well enough to occupy a bench spot as a reserve some time in the near future as the Giants could use his hot bat. Another guy who’s hot that should get a shot at a bench spot (but probably won’t) is Andres Torres whose bat, glove, and speed on the base paths make him an intriguing player. Adding to the reasons to keep him now is that he is 31 and waiting on him may see him out of his prime before he gets a shot. If the Giants truly commit to 11 pitchers opening day, Torres should be one of the reserves, joining Aurillia, Velez, Schierholtz, Uribe (for defensive subs only – Guzman should have this spot if he only had a glove), and Frandsen or Burriss (whoever doesn’t win 2B). The reason Torres won’t be a reserve is the Giants apparent need to have Steve Holm spell Molina 4-5 times a month, which Sandoval easily could do without jeopardizing his ability to play third effectively. I wish the Giants did not have to carry Holm for the final spot, but it should only be temporary as Buster will be in the starting catcher spot as soon as the Giants are confident in the game calling ability that he should, hopefully, learn quickly, at which point they would probably trade Molina.

I thought Wilson’s big pitch was the cutter that he learned from watching Mariano Rivera demonstrate it on TV.

Torres is already out of his prime. Some luck in spring training doesn’t mean he has a good bat, there’s a reason he’s 31 and with his umpteenth team.

About Holm vs. Sandoval, I think we make sure that Sandoval is OK at 3B, and focus him there, before we burden him with backing up catcher as well. But that’s a great idea once/if Sandoval looks smooth enough at 3B to throw catching at him.

Yeah, Posey right now looks like a cinch to be our starting catcher for 2010, he makes everything looks so easy, not just hitting, which was a given, but his defense too. I think he’s probably going to spend maybe a month in San Jose then hopefully get bumped to AAA, bypassing AA’s horrible stadium to hit in.

Am paticularly on board with dk9rfan’s comment concerning Holm, and our dilemma with 11 pitchers vs. which subs to keep. Chris’s point that Guzman needs playing time at one position to refine his defensive skills is worth noting, too. Guzman’s defensive prowess will not improve while serving as a pinch hitter for SF. Torres, on the other hand, is another matter; and would fill a definite need as a sub, both offensively and defensively (hence the Holm query.) In short, what dk9rfan & Chris have written need to somehow find their ways into the inner workings of Sabean’s diminishing thought processes.

You just got served hard by the giants twitter http://www.twitter.com/sf_giants

I have a doubt:
Giants needs to put Guzman in waivers before they can send him to the minors?

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