Giants juggling lots of moving parts before finalizing roster

Giants juggling lots of moving parts before finalizing roster originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants should have one of the National League's best rotations by the end of April, and former Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray will join the group in the middle of the summer. But for the first week, at least, it's a bit of a scramble drill.

Three options remained back in Arizona as the Giants returned to the Bay Area this week. Alex Cobb is weeks ahead of schedule in his rehab from hip surgery, but he's not quite ready to return to big-league action yet. Keaton Winn will throw in a minor league game Wednesday as he works his way back from elbow discomfort early in camp. Blake Snell will throw this Friday, building off Sunday’s three-inning outing that was his first since signing a two-year deal with the Giants.

Winn could be an option as soon as Monday in Los Angeles, which would be the fifth game of the season. Snell theoretically could join the roster as soon as next Wednesday, although, with an off day right after the season-opening road trip, it might make more sense to push him back to the home opener if he feels he's ready. The Giants have been coy about Cobb's timeline, but he's believed to be close.

The situation might leave the Giants with just three actual starting pitchers on their Opening Day roster. Mason Black seemed set for a rotation spot until the others are ready, but the Giants reassigned him to minor-league camp Tuesday afternoon. Because Black is not on the 40-man roster, the Giants can bring him back early in the year if necessary.

The Giants also reassigned left-hander Juan Sanchez and outfielder Ismael Munguia. All three had good springs, with Munguia winning the Barney Nugent Award, given to the player who is most impressive in his first big-league camp.

"Both [Black and Sanchez] pitched well at times," Giants manager Bob Melvin said. "We have a lot of tough decisions to make, but all of these guys know, too, that they're one call away. Our guys know that the 26-man roster means a lot more than that over the course of the season, so you've got to be ready. It could happen at any point in time."

The Giants have plenty of other balls in the air, too.

Mike Yastrzemski's wife, Paige, is due to be induced for the couple's second child Friday, and while Yastrzemski plans to play Thursday, he likely is to hit the paternity list for the remainder of the season-opening road series against the San Diego Padres.

Joey Bart is out of options and met with Melvin after Tuesday's game. It's possible the Giants will carry him as a third catcher as they figure out other roster moves. It likely would be easier to sneak Bart through waivers a few days into the season than over the next day or two when 29 other teams are finalizing their own rosters.

The Giants also will need multiple 40-man spots. Nick Ahmed looks like the Opening Day shortstop, and fellow non-roster invitees Daulton Jefferies and Landen Roupp have been fighting for open bullpen spots.

San Francisco still was working on moves late Tuesday night, and planned to fly to San Diego on Wednesday. As last year's last-second Matt Beaty addition showed, these things often come down to the very last minute.

Super-utility man

Tyler Fitzgerald went through a quick first base lesson with Ron Wotus before the game and then ended up at the position for the final three innings Tuesday night. It's yet another glove for the young utility man, who now has experience at all four infield spots and also can play center field.

The front office and new coaching staff are high on Fitzgerald, who showed flashes of his speed-power combo during a cameo late last season. The roster lacks defensive versatility, and Fitzgerald's ability to now handle eight different spots should be the reason he receives the final bench spot.

Former first-rounder back on track?

Hunter Bishop was brought to San Francisco to join the group of minor leaguers who filled out the roster for two exhibition games, although he didn't get into the game Tuesday. Bishop didn't play last season after having Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow, but he said he's fully healthy and feels great about the way his body and swing have felt this spring.

It's been five years since the Giants made Bishop the first first-round pick under Farhan Zaidi and Michael Holmes, and he has had to watch most of that first-round class already reach the big leagues. It wouldn't be a shock to see Bishop get back on the radar this season, though. He's one of the best athletes in the organization, and even after years of dealing with injuries, he's still just 25.

If Bishop starts in Double-A, he would be part of a very athletic outfield. Speedy center fielder Grant McCray will start his season there after hitting 14 homers and stealing 52 bases in High-A last season.

New voices

The public address announcer for the first game of the year at Oracle Park was Carolyn "CJ" Silas, the longtime PA announcer for Cal Poly baseball. Silas has more than 30 years of experience behind the mic, including stints with the Blue Jays' Triple-A team and the Yankees' Double-A team.

The Giants announced earlier this month that they have parted ways with Renel Brooks-Moon, who had done the job since the ballpark opened in 2000. They plan to rotate PA announcers early in the season while they search for a long-term fit.

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