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4.04.2004

Roster Moves

Here we go. Hold your noses, we're jumping in and there's no going back. The Giants' opening day roster is set, but it will no doubt undergo changes all through April and May as the team gets players back (Hammonds), figures out the health status of others (Nen, Eyre, Schmidt) and Sabean continues to wheel and deal.

Until Hammonds comes back, Tony Torcato is the fifth outfielder despite not being able to play the field for most of spring training. In the Giants official roster announcement, Torcato is listed as an infielder, but what he'll really be is the main lefty pinch-hitter. Greg Papa and Dave Fleming said on the broadcast yesterday that Alou has been specifically using him in PH spots this spring, and T.T. had responded well. What if he scorches the ball while he's up? I can't imagine Sabean trading Tucker, Mohr or Hammonds so early in the year; Torcato would likely go back to Fresno and wait til the next injury or a mid-year trade.

Cody Ransom as expected is the backup middle infielder, but it was interesting that Pedro Feliz played most of today's (completely insignificant) exhibition finale at shortstop. Was that a message to Cody that he's not the only backup shortstop in town? It's nice to have a shortstop of Ransom's defensive caliber backing up Neifi, so Alou pinch hits for Neifi in late-inning situations without losing D.

The biggest roster surprise came in the bullpen: David Aardsma will become the first player ever listed in the Baseball Encyclopedia as soon as he gets into a game. Hopefully it will be this week in Houston, where he has many friends and family. Congratulations to the young guy, who, upon hearing he made the team, reached for his cell phone:

"I don't know what to feel right now. There's no cell-phone reception in here. I haven't called anybody."

Kids these days. Sheesh.

Also on the opening day roster are Wayne Franklin and Leo Estrella, each of whom has pitched about as badly as possible since being traded to S.F. (Franklin got cuffed around for a homer and three singles and he walked two in one inning today.)

I'm a bigger fan of Kevin Walker, who also made the squad. He pitched well in San Diego a few years ago before he got injured. But "bigger fan," when compared to Brewers retreads, is a very relative term. I'd rather have Robb Nen and a healthy Scott Eyre.

Finally, here's hoping that Chad Zerbe, a true Lefty Malo, will stick around and continue to defy expectations as a scrappy underdog. I hope he hasn't sold the game ball from the World Series game that he won.




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